What Would the Church Look Like?
As a slightly ADD (oops, almost had an embarrassing typo! Just think of what keys might be found near the "D" and let your imagination run wild) adult, I can't simply sit here and write a sermon. One thing just slides into another, and before long, I'm wondering what would happen if everyone took seriously what I said in front of them on Sunday morning. No, I'm not talking about the jokes. I'm talking about the challenges. For example, since I've been here, I've challenged the congregation in the realm of prayer:
- to pray that God would reveal any unresolved/unrepented/hidden sins in their lives
- to pray about everything
- to turn their lives over to God
- that anywhere our lives don't match up to God's character is where we need His transforming power -- to pray that God would reveal and transform -- that each person would participate in an accountability relationship with someone to keep on top of this
- to listen to God
- to ask God to keep each one completely in His will -- to only go where He would have us go and to say what He would have us say
- to really examine the Lord's Prayer as we pray it, and to rely on God, the giver of good gifts, for everything.
This week we'll start looking at Spiritual Gifts, and I'm wondering what the church would look like if we were living them out? If each gift was really being used for the kingdom. If everyone was taking his or her place. Would we have the same gap between generations that "everyone" else has? Would there still be a tired acceptance of the declining status quo? Would there be new ministries starting?
That said, I think this church has its heart in the right place. I can see that in the way the people have reached out to some of our own who have struggled with tragedy and with how the people come out to support the teenagers to go to camp or to mission projects. Yet I have a sense that there's so much more that we can/should be doing. I know the Lord has those things in mind, and I need to see if they are on the minds of the congregation, too.
Or maybe everyone is satisfied.
I'm not talking about NK UMC becoming the next Willow Creek or Saddleback or even Ginghamsburg or whatever ultra-hip mega-church we might emulate. I love the mega-churches that I have been to (Southland Christian was a great church to belong to while in seminary -- I often saw people doing what other area churches (and seminary professors) were just talking about.
But NK UMC isn't a mega-church, and it's not supposed to be. I'm just looking for it to be what it can be. our mission statement (rather bulky) is as follows:
We the people of New Knoxville UMC will be a caring family of believers in Christ who act as His servants; who rely on faithful worship attendance for inspiriation and direction; who are guided in our faith by education and study; and who reach out to our community and the world beyond to share the joy of our Christian love through our gifts, our prayers, our programs and activities, our monetary support, and our service.
Now, just find me one person who has that memorized!!! Sometime within the next year, that will be redone to better express who we are, who we're supposed to be, and where we're going. I suppose I should wrap this up, but soon I'll post about the mission statement in a little more complete thoughts.