Preparing for the Unknown?

May 26, 2015


It seems cliché but really where does time go?  It doesn’t seem that long ago that our son Riley was heading off to school for the first time.  Every year we would meet with the teachers to plan goals for the year.  I would make a passionate speech: “Your job is to get him ready for the next year of school—no more, no less.  Don’t make decisions about his future that are not yours to make. Keep him on course and on track this year.  It is not for you to decide what his future holds. It is your role to help him take steps in getting there!”  Sherry always called it the “Papa Bear” speech.

This June our little boy graduates from New Castle High School. We plan to celebrate as a family on Sunday June 7th all the work that Riley has done to reach this day. He has overcome obstacles, lived though constant change, and succeeded.

There are no more teacher meetings to attend … just a future that remains unknown.  And that is somewhat daunting because the work is not done, but rather it is just beginning … again. Riley’s future still lies ahead, but the work that must now be done will be vastly different than the past years and in some ways it will remain the same. What now? is the question we ask as the future as seemingly arrived.

I have come to realize that Riley’s journey is very reflective of our journey as United Methodists and as a church. We are on the cusp of great change.

Our General Conference will convene in one year in Portland, Oregon.  There is certain to be change that will result from that Conference.  Our own Indiana Annual Conference convenes this week to elect delegates for that conference and to potentially vote on proposals to send to General Conference.  And this too will be the next to last Annual Conference that our Bishop will preside over as he will retire in 2016.

One thing is certain for our Denomination and our Annual Conference — change is coming!  What change is hard to say and that is what makes it scary – the unknown.  The same could be said for our church – the unknown is scary.

Change is coming.  What exactly that change will be is unknown, but we are past the time we can simply look at the year ahead and say, “Get us to next year and that will be OK.”  The time has come for us, as a church and as United Methodists, to grasp the future amidst our reality and plan accordingly.  The world is not the same, nor will it remain as it is.  We must plan now to meet the future unafraid.

Amazing things are a part of our history. Amazing things are happening all around us in places we work together. Many more amazing things are waiting for us in the future.

Need proof of what can happen with a bit of planning and hard work?

Stop by the New Castle Fieldhouse on June 7th and I will introduce you to my son, Riley Frieden, class of 2015.  The future has arrived and it looks great (and not as scary as we once thought).