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When I was about 7

When I was about 7 years old, I stumbled into a science project. On my way to school I picked up a stick that was wrapped in what look like white cotton, but it was stringy. I picked it up out of curiosity. I presented it to the teacher and asked, ‘What is it?”

She said it’s a chrysalis. She showed it to the class and challenged each of my classmates to go and find one, just like I did. (That was the first time in my life, I was ahead of the class!). Oddly enough, each one found one, over the course of that week. We each put our name on our Chrysalis, but she never told us what it was. She just said wait…

So I did, for almost a week, and nothing happened. I got to class early and decided to take a peek inside. It was just a little peak. But when I looked, I could not tell what it was. It was a blob.

For the next few days, I would peak a little more. I even poked it with a stick. Nothing! And then one day Don's Chrysalis started to move. The class surrounded that ball of fuzz and watched. Soon everyone had a Chrysalis that was bulging with life, except me.

In the end, we had 20 chrysalis that bloomed into 19 butterflies. I was no longer ahead of the class. But I took solace in my own mind… I was the only one that didn’t have a butterfly! (I was blessed with a creative mind.)

Here are five chrysalis that I have seen in the corners of our church, and at the edges of my mind:

1. I felt very strongly called to lead FBC Olathe. At times it feels like we are slogging through a very muddy field because of COVID. We have made great progress. The Reshaping Church initiative and our small groups will help us determine what will we look like and what will the new pastor find upon arrival.

2. We are a church with a grand history, we celebrate 150 years in 2023. We have managed change many times… and COVID will not sidetrack us. Some things will definitely be different when we return, but God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus is still king and God’s Holy Spirit abides with us!

3. We were founded as an American Baptist Church (ABC). As we define or redefine our identity, we need to learn and understand why an ABC identity is vital to our success and how being ‘Baptist’ frames our future. [This is the one I am most tempted to tamper with… but I ‘Wait on the Lord.’]

4. Since the late 1800s, FBC Olathe has been a pillar in the Central Region of the American Baptist Churches USA. We have remained members in the ABC but, in recent years our affiliation in the region and the area has dwindled. (Many of us have memories of camp and working with other churches in the east Central Area Louisburg, Gardner and Overland Park). These associations seem to have been lost. How do we restore them? Should we restore them? I wonder how we will influence and direct the ministry of our I I I wonder how we will influence and direct the ministry of our area in the future? Historically, Baptist Churches have stood together while remaining very independent. We draw our strength from working together with sister ABC churches but we execute our ministry individually. I cannot help but wonder in a POST COVID world we might benefit from realigning our relationships?

5. One of the first things I heard upon arrival at FBC was “We used to have something going all the time. The lights in our buildings were always on.” COVID has really messed that up, but I share that vision for us and believe it is coming soon. It seems like horrible stewardship to let even one evening pass without using our exceptional facilities. Many Churches in America are filled one day a week and seemingly unnecessary the rest of the week. How will we use the blessings God has given us?

My faith is shifting. My knowledge of Christ is growing, and our Church is changing. I want so badly to peek inside and see what we will become. But I have learned, so I “Wait on the Lord.”

Pastor Bill

[Pastor’s Note: I also learned that you cannot find a chicken in an egg, but that’s another story. However, in full disclosure (or confession) these two lessons of patience likely led to my career as a Phys Ed major, and not a scientist.}

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