Earlier this month a group of us from my church attended an enjoyable and enlightening day-long seminar presented to churches in our denomination. We learned several things that day.
We learned that we can drive to Seattle in a car together and love every minute of the trip. We were reminded that we are very different people but value our shared Christian faith and believe Jesus Christ to be as relevant in our modern lives as He was in His ancient world. We are people who long to be a vital force on Whidbey and recognize that time-honored approaches to church membership rarely appeal to the average young person today.
With these facts I and the church family with whom I serve look to 2013 with these questions:
What will be the big issues next year?
Who will come to our church facility and how can we help them in practical, life-changing ways?
How can we share God’s love with people who don’t see a need for church participation?
How can we determine what God wants us to do in 2013?
Like most churches here on Whidbey, we are made up of a small group of paid professionals and a larger team of volunteers. The people who attend and serve at our church donate money to support our staff, keep our buildings in good order and fund programs that help people here on Whidbey and around the world. We worship together and meet weekly in small groups to pray and study and support each other. We serve on teams to produce activities and provide services to our church members as well as people who walk into our facility, asking for help or simply wanting to discover what it is we believe and do.
Some of our work is known to many; countless tasks, however, are done quietly without fanfare or any expectation of public acknowledgment. We make use of our talents because it is fun, it helps others, we enjoy the challenge, we see God work and we feel connected and helpful, appreciated and loved.
We marry and bury. We laugh and cry. We agree and disagree. We Facebook and text. We exercise together and talk about our lives over coffee. This past week we purchased Christmas dinners and provided Christmas gifts for families and in so doing deepened our own joy.
Recalling the birth of Jesus Christ signals the start of our church calendar year. In the days and weeks to come we will once again study the events of Christ’s life — with the expectation that in so doing our faith will be deepened and we will become forces of good and love in our world, in gratitude.
We will meet and pray and talk. We will strategize and pray some more. We will invite God to work through us. We’ll do all this because we long to be relevant. Loving. Generous. Forgiving. Hopeful. Energetic. Peacemakers. Strong. Smart. God’s people.
Interested? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.