Rev. Dr. Katie Hays
Lead Evangelist, Galileo Church & MM Cohort Member, Ft. Worth, TX
Rev. Dr. Katie Hays is the Lead Evangelist of Galileo Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the suburbs south of Fort Worth, Texas and a member of the Macedonian Ministry Ft. Worth, TX Cohort. She is currently on the first term of a four-month writing leave, funded by a Pastoral Study Project grant from the Louisville Institute, so she can chronicle the first five years of Galileo’s life together.
“It’s okay, because my church knows how to church,” I have said to anyone who asks how it feels to be on a ten-week leave from Galileo Church. And that’s not an editing error – I’m using “church” as a verb that encapsulates a way of being together as a community of belonging in Jesus’ name. My church knows how to do that, how to church.
People who know me are asking with special concern because Galileo is a church plant, a little congregation founded on a slow-growth model almost five years ago. Church plants are special flowers, aren’t they? Their lifespan is usually short, and they need lots of TLC from whomever put that seed in the ground. It’s especially true for Galileo because we seek and shelter spiritual refugees, people who don’t have a lot of experience doing (healthy, life-giving) church.
Walking away from a church that’s not old enough to go to kindergarten yet has not been easy. Will they keep up their attention to the missional priorities we have discerned, if I’m not there to beat the drum? Will they sustain relationships with each other over food and drink, if I’m not there to pour and serve? Will they speak the truth in love, and lean into God’s gorgeous future, and proclaim the good news of God’s engagement with the world God loves, without my outpouring of energy and focus and leadership?
If I’ve done my work right for these last five years, they most definitely will. If the Spirit of the living Christ has infused them with the graces all our churches need to church, they absolutely will. If they are the church, they will church, and I will remember again my role as the gardener, not the Grower. Thanks be to God.