“The Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored.” –T.S. Elliot
You may know me as part of Communitas in Wichita, or you might know me as the 2nd daughter of Randy & Charlene Littlefield. I grew up in the Friends Church, starting out at Northridge Friends and then to Linwood Friends when it was planted in Wichita. When I was nine, my dad left Pizza Hut Inc., and we moved to Friendswood where my dad attended HGST and worked as the Associate Superintendent of Church Planting with EFC-MA. During the 4 years we were in Friendswood, Friendswood Friends Church was home, but we traveled to many Texas Area churches and church plants, encouraging new works and mission, many of them cross-cultural and/or urban. As a fourth grader I remember calling folks out of a phone book in a phones-for-you campaign and also helping to literally build a new Life Ministries Center building in Houston’s fifth ward. My parents have always been pioneers and encouragers of innovation and have always valued sharing life with and advocating for those on the margins. Like Jesus’ model of discipleship, they took us kids along to serve and minister with them. For this example, I am so grateful.
I love the Friends Church. Not just because it’s my family heritage, but because I think we are rooted in exactly what the world needs and wants today. In an era of highly stylized forms of church with heirarchies and business models, the world is looking for genuine community where each one has a part to play. Friends can offer this.
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)
In an era when culture is shifting rapidly, we must be about keeping the faith but adapting the practices. The mission field is next door and down the street and across town, and if we continue to treat mission as something that only happens “over there” or if we sit comfortably in our pews with a “come to us” mentality, we will not survive. If we adapt, it will be uncomfortable and there will be some failure, but ultimately, I believe Friends will get to be part of what God is doing in the world. THAT excites me.
Business as usual won’t cut it. I’m not saying to turn the ship on a dime or throw the baby out with the bath water, but I am suggesting that we reorient ourselves back to our roots, harness what made us Friends in the first place, and move into the future with a sense of hope and adventure and determination, with a renewed passion for Christ and His Kingdom.
“No one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” (Mk 2:22)
I’m encouraged by the ministries, initiatives, and new churches among Evangelical Friends in our region that reach out to the community with the message of hope. Let’s keep asking, “What else is the Holy Spirit inviting us to be a part of as salt and light in our neighborhoods and communities?” Let’s keep experimenting. Let’s keep moving.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have laid hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
– Carrie Corliss