Liminal space is a crossing-over space. Limen, a Latin word, means threshold, doorstep, entrance. A liminal space is a space where you have left something behind, yet you are not fully in something else. Liminality has the quality of ambiguity, disorientation, the letting go of an end of one thing so you can get on with another, transition, waiting, and not knowing.
The phone call was to ask for a kidmin creative champion to decorate a drive-thru space to honor the outgoing pastors. I asked several clarifying questions and made a suggestion about the traffic flow since our kidmin team had put on a successful drive-thru for our families for nine weeks of quarantine. His response, “You did? Y’all did a drive-thru for nine weeks?” Insert a head shake and heavy sigh here.
The brains and minds of everyone, EVERYONE, in your local church experienced quarantine in a shockingly fast way. They all, ALL, had their own life adjustments to deal with. So, how will they know what your work life and the fruitfulness of what your team has been doing since mid-March? It’s been my experience that when folks talk of re-launching church, their focus is on what will happen on Sunday morning in the worship space, but we all know that kidmin and family ministry takes place every day and Sunday is no longer game day.
Though quarantine has be upgraded to new terms like social distancing and masks mean love, we remain in a liminal space. But we are working. We are planning. We are living out our call to equip families. We have pivoted from grade-level in-person faith formation to family ministry at home. If my guy who considered himself an expert in all things of our church had no idea what we did the first nine weeks, how will he know? Are you ready to tell your stories? Let’s do this!
What do we tell?
Share the narrative with as few words as possible in numbers, names, lessons learned, a timeline, and stories. Offer links for more information either for social media, the church database, or wherever you’ve told your stories. Tell why you chose certain days, responses, and grew or adjusted your team. What does your typical week look like now? If you are responsible for Safe Sanctuary or other ‘all-skate’ areas in your role on staff, tell that, too. Speak into why and how you pivoted to offer excellent programming, training, and planning with your team remembering that our job as staff is to ‘equip the saints.’ Don’t forget all the mail, the phone calls, the emails, the social media, the remarkable moments of life (hospitalizations, funerals, births, etc.) Prepare the report, edit it, proofread it, and edit it again. Release the desire to tell every story and tell the stories which you could tell if given five minutes for an elevator pitch. No complaints, no comparisons, no slights, no innuendo. Include the books you read, podcasts you listened to, the online continuing education you experienced.
How do we tell?
One eye-catching page with clear bullet points, a time line, and a couple of stories. Have it proofread, because that’s what professionals do. Then follow it up with posts on social media to your families, so they all see and hear their stories and can trust the leadership has been informed of how your area has been the Body of Christ to them. We have put together a clear report of what we’ve done, what we are doing, what we are preparing for, and a couple of stories which we will share by email, along with a hard-copy placed in church office mailboxes, and a few in office chairs with a treat to enjoy as they read. Not cutesy, just something to make the ‘reader’ smile and make reading the report memorable. Be sure to talk about your luminal space experiences at every table, every lunch, and in every conversation.
Who do we tell?
We are getting new clergy leadership and they have a whole host of voices speaking into their spaces for worship, history, hospitality, things they ‘need’ to fix, things they need to prioritize, etc. Most times kidmin peeps don’t want to add to that plate, but then kidmin voices are not part of the mix at all unless there’s a problem. Set aside that ‘there’s enough he/she needs to address’ and be a healthy voice to toot the horn of your team. When I realized this person who serves on various committees and considers himself an expert on what we do at my local church had no idea what we had been or were doing, he would be one of the first on my list to be informed. Everyone wants to be in-the-know, so make sure they are.
Why do we tell?
Telling the story is part of healthy evaluation, invites others to join the team moving forward, and let’s those who have seats at tables champion the discipleship you’re offering in the life of the church. Your families need voices at Finance meetings (funding, appropriations, staffing), at Trustee meetings (space allocation, resource priorities), and Staff-Parish Relations meetings (staff reallocation, fruitfulness, initiative, team dynamics), at Staff meetings (visioning, sermon series, partnerships). It’s been my experience that the church saints who serve whole-heartedly as members of most committees are rarely serving in the deep end of the Children’s Ministry pool for no other reason than what season they are in their lives unless it’s VBS or a church-wide endeavor. They need to know. They want to know! You have to tell!
How will you tell the stories of your time spent in liminal space, especially as we are still in it? Read more about liminal space and storytelling here and here.
“Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story – those He redeemed from the hand of the foe.” Psalm 107:2