The Esther Project – Business or Community?
I've been thinking a lot this week about how we approach this new venture that I've begun. Is it a business, which we need to register, draw up a constitution for, and manage? Or is it a faith community, whose mission is the business of telling stories, managing theatre projects, gathering around meals, welcoming, encouraging and affirming experiences of the Sacred, each others' stories, creative / artistic / less conventional ways of expressing our praise, thanks, wonder at the Holy One?
I began from the first point of view, but have turned now and see the Esther Project as the latter.
The challenge for me, its student minister, is to hold both the community nurture, teaching, woshipping alongside the theatre project, and offer care to both the members of the community and to the workers involved in the project (some of whom will fall into both categories).
It's been good to work through this, and continue to clarify the goal and vision of this project, my placement, and to learn that this will be the challenge for me in any ministry setting. The minister is set apart in order to offer care, teaching, to lead and encourage others to lead within the congregation / faith community - and also to help the community to engage in God's mission in the world - out there - thus balancing the nurture and growth of the community itself, and managing or enabling mission engagement through projects, partnerships, and for this community, through the many ways we tell our story.
So story is our reason for being, the Sacred Story is the ongoing story of God's relationship with us, and we will reflect on that, we will engage with it, we will invite others to be transformed by that Story and live it out in their lives. Story is the way we will gather, worship, pray, care for one another, build community, move towards wholeness and healing. And Story is our mission - sharing this Story that has been handed down in our tradition with the wider community, seeking to understand the faith traditions that share part of our story, but not all, intentionally listening for and hearing the story of our community, engaging with it, and bearing witness to the radical difference the Sacred Story can make to the story of our lives.