Last Sunday, after the Traditional Service ended, I was in the Narthex speaking to people as I always do. A lady came up to me who has been visiting for many months now. We talked about several things, and then she said something to the effect, “This is such a great church. You all do so many good things. I love this church.” And then with a smile she said, “And I am going to join the church soon!”
We continued talking for a little while longer and it was one of those delightful conversations pastors love. There are times when pastors have the other kinds of conversations. People have concerns or constructive criticism they need to share, and pastors need to hear those as well. But, it is nice to hear people speak of the good things in the church. It is nice to hear someone speak of how their life has been touched and in many cases transformed by the ministry of the church.
Personally, I believe this is the heart of what we are called to do—to be instruments that Christ uses to help bring about transformation in people’s lives and in our world. The Methodist denominational mission statement says it best—we are “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
I think of the people Jesus encountered. One day, he stopped by a tax collectors table and encountered a man by the name of Matthew. Matthew was one of those people who was consumed by the desire to have more and it showed in the ethics by which he lived. However, encountering Jesus, we’re told that he walked away from the tax collectors table and today we have a book in the Bible named after him.
I think of Mary Magdalene. Her last name indicates that she probably came from the town of Magdala. We don’t really know all of the details, but before Jesus came along she was a broken person. The Bible explains it by saying she had seven demons (Luke 8:2). However, in Jesus she found new life and began following Him. Because she did, she became witness to the Resurrection and countless people have found hope in her story.
I also think of the people in our community who are going through life feeling empty, or who are hurting and broken in one way or another. What could Jesus do for them if he was just given a chance? Which brings the conversation back to you and me. I believe Christ wants to use us to reach out to these people.
I am so grateful to be a part of a church that takes that calling seriously. I see it expressed in the Children’s, Youth, Senior Adult, Missions and Hospitality Ministries. I see it in the way people speak to others at Wednesday Night Suppers and in the community, which develops in Sunday School classes, Bible studies and small groups. I encounter it on Sunday mornings and even in the community when I bump into the members of this church.
Thank you for who you are. Thank you for the difference you make in the lives of other people in our church, in this community and around the world. You are doing good things and we are a great church!