Sunday, August 30, 2009

Church Diary

Good morning God,

In preparing for the Methodist New Year (September 1st) I've been looking through my diary asking one key question - "Why am I doing this?"
I know, I know, sounds so obvious really doesn't it, but I was staggered at how many entries were in there by default rather than by deliberate design. Rather than simply delete the entry I asked - "in what way does this event provide an opportunity to further the work of grace"
To my relief, this has opened up a flood of creativity with the potential to turn otherwise routine 'meetings' and 'gatherings' into genuine mission opportunities.
But all this begs the more probing question-

How am I called to serve you this year as a minister of the Word and Sacrament ?

This is something that can really excite me God, not in terms of new forms of worship, or how to preach differently, or how to reorder the church etc etc.. but in how I am supposed to be a part of your incarnate presence here.
It encourages me to look to see in what way my life with you might enable others to know that you are here, present in their midst and active in their life. There is a joy and a wonder in working with you to set people free from their fears and from all that limits and inhibits them so that they can grow in grace and holiness. I am always surprised and delighted at the way in which your Spirit acts to transform the Words and the Sacrament that I offer in your name and in the name of the Church into YOUR truth and life... and ok, I admit it, I'm greedy for more.

Not least because there is such a need for the good news that you came to give LIFE.

The challenge is going to be how to do this in the Church. To do what I feel called to do means helping the Church to understand that I am not called to maintain the life of the Church. Ministry for me is not about keeping doors open, pews filled, church socials well attended. It is so much more than that, You have called me and ordained me to 'save souls' to 'seek the lost' to 'minister grace' and above all - to preach your life-giving good news in word and deed.
But to do so, I need to start by asking the Church to be as honest about its diary as I am trying to be with mine. As Church we need to ask:
Which of our meetings, services, activities would we continue if we were primarily seeking to serve you and to reach out to those who do not know you?
What would we do with our time, our buildings, our resources if YOU were the focus of all that we did?

Behold says the Lord - I am making all things NEW

I love that quote God - clearly there are exciting times ahead

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