Reverend Nancy Allen delivered a sermon the other day about expectations.  The text that was used to root the sermon was Luke 3:15 vv.

After the sermon and while the communion liturgy was going on I could only think about my own expectations.

I am frustrated with my fellow clergy for generally one thing.  I perceive a lack of urgency in their ministries which leads to complacency with the status quo.  The status quo is not necessarily bad, but complacency is a dangerous position to be in as a leader of a local church.

Rev. Allen shared that our expectations of ourself are often very high, which on one level I agree with.  I have high expectations of myself when it comes to things in which people are dependent upon me in some way - parenting, sermon delivery, leading a Bible study, playing on a sporting team.  I expect that I will rise to a level of excellence that is impossible to reach and then critique myself afterwards when I did not meet that level.

However, I wonder if one of the reasons I am frustrated with my fellow clergy is not because there is no sense of urgency in their ministry but that expectations are too low.

We do not expect people to be generous unless we have a massive stewardship campaign.

We do not expect worship to change people's hearts.

We do not expect prayer to be any more or less effective than counting to ten when we are angry.

 We do not expect God is working toward a peaceful world.

We do not expect God to work.

We do not expect that violence will ever end.

We do not expect lions to lay down with lambs.

I wonder if the reason we do not have vibrant churches is because we do not have any expectations.  Who wants to be a part of a community with little to no expectations for hope, change, life and transformation?

So I extend the invitation to all Christians to raise our expectations.  We have lived with low expectations for far too long