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We Have a Real Mission

 
 

I am so excited about what is happening at our Church. I feel the presence of the Spirit every time we gather for worship. There is a growing sense of purpose; an increased understanding of who we are and what our mission is. Our Adult Sunday school class is well attended, where we are discussing the book Living the Questions: the Wisdom of Progressive Christianity. In the first chapter of the book the authors, David Felten and Jeff Proctor-Murphy state that faith is not an arriving, but a journey. Our task as Christians isn’t to find answers that are absolutes, but to raise questions, seek conversation, and grow in grace. Traditionally in Methodism “as one practices faith, the evolutionary work of ‘sanctification’ begins and one works toward becoming more whole as life goes on.” (Instead of ‘whole’ Wesley used the word ‘perfection.’) This ‘evolutionary’ perspective on faith is not a common one – it is a part of who we are and a part of what we have to share with the world. The image most unchurched people have of Christianity in America is all the things we are not. Because most churches focus on what is necessary to believe in order to be saved, rather than on growing spiritually, the image of the church is rigid, judgmental, and ironically uncaring. When people who are not familiar with churches hear that I am a pastor they assume I am judgmental of gays and lesbians, think that I think I have all the answers, that I am ready to tell them that if they don’t believe as I do they will go to hell, and that I don’t believe climate change is influenced by human activity. So many people in my experience have said that they did not know a church like ours exists. We have a real mission here. We have the opportunity to share God’s grace and love to people who don’t know that is what Jesus was all about. We have the potential to transform peoples lives. I sincerely believe this and I believe this mission is well worth investing in.

It’s Stewardship season again – time to talk about money, right? The process of raising funds to support the ministries of the Church is something we cannot avoid – so yes, we will talk about money. But before we do, or at least in the same context, let’s talk about this mission we have to transform people’s lives, our community and in doing so, in some small way, the world. Think of all the young people we touch – in the Preschool, through our Children’s Programs, in the Youth Program. I can tell you for sure that I’ve seen young people experience God and feel moved to be disciples. Consider how transformative it is when we worship together. Our worship isn’t about getting it right, it’s about the presence of the Spirit in our lives. Think of the music we are blessed with – music has the power to heal the soul. Since we became a Reconciling Church by being Reconciling we have attracted numerous people – again, to a church that many don’t know exists. We lift up our missions – Teen Feed and our support of the VOA Food Bank. This is a giving church. And we are a growing church. Do you see all the new people? Yes, it’s Stewardship season again – so let’s celebrate! Let’s celebrate who we are and embrace the mission we have – to touch lives with God’s love and grace, to be about the task of growing spiritually, and reaching out into the world with care.
P. Jim

 

Pastor Jim photo Sep 2015

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