Inspiring Generosity


Make Mistakes

                     Were these photos mistakes? Photo by moi.

“I left my heart, in San Francisco…” Sing it with me, won’t you? “High on a hill, it calls to me…”
What a trip – so many beautiful sites (we escaped from Alcatraz) and the food! And those high hills that Tony Bennett sings about? My legs are still aching. I went to Temple United Methodist Church too. It was a welcoming and diverse community that wonderfully celebrated Laity Sunday. Yea church!
One of the highlights of the week was visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Frankly, I didn’t understand a lot of what I was viewing, but did that really matter? Not really. Most of it was interesting and beautiful. One of the exhibits that caught my eye was, “Don’t! Photography and the Art of Mistakes.”
The premise of the show was to “explore how photographic techniques…deemed errors by one generation of photographers, became interesting aesthetic intentions by the next.”
Susan Sontag’s highlighted quote in the exhibit struck me:

It’s not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph – only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.

What if the word “church” was substituted for the word “photograph”?
“It’s not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad church – only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.”
Photography evolved because photographers were willing to take risks. Because they were willing to take risks, they made mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes were, well, mistakes. Sometimes they were serendipitous. Sometimes they changed everything.
But they had the nerve to make them.
Like innovative photographers, the church will evolve if we’re willing to take a few risks now and again.
You are the one who knows what risk God is calling you to take in your community and cultural context. It may pay off or it might be a bust. But undoubtedly, those who do take risks are
More interesting
More relevant
More mysterious.
So go out there and make some mistakes. Be interesting. Be relevant. Be mysterious. Take a risk. Who knows? Your church just might be the one who will influence the next generation in the art of being courageous disciples.

Cesie Delve Scheuermann (pronounced “CC Delv Sherman,” yes, really) is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past fifteen years, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she has helped raise over three million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She is proud to say that she ate Mediterranean, Vietnamese, Italian, Mexican, Pakistani food in SF. No regrets, except for the calories. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. She is available to consult with you. You can reach her at inspiringgenerosity@gmail.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/inspiringgenerosity or at CesieScheuermann.com.

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Cesie Delve Scheuermann
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.