Pastor Marc’s Messenger Article – July 2022
We announced on June 12th a renewed commitment to reaching young families and children as a congregation. If you missed worship that Sunday please go back and watch, listen to the podcast or request a CD. I stressed at the time that our focus should not be understood as relegating other ministries to the backburner, that we are as committed as we have ever been to proclaim to everyone the Gospel and meeting as many of the needs of our community as we possibly can through God’s grace. However, we recognize that in our rapidly changing society the window for reaching the next generation is closing at speeds most of us neither acknowledge nor desire to recognize in all honesty. We must put our hands to the plow immediately and look forward as Jesus commands us if we are going to insure Grove Park’s future. It is incumbent upon each of us to recognize that this effort’s success rests not on the work of a few, but on the labors of all, fully participating through their respective giftings. So, what can you do?
First, we need to recenter our mindsets. Quite honestly the consumer culture that devours American society has metastasized to the Church. All of us from time to time allow our preferences to dominate us to the point they become misclassified as “have to’s.” We concern ourselves more with how things will impact us as individuals than how it may be harmful or beneficial to others. We need to recalibrate our mindsets to that of Jesus who stated that He came “to serve and not to be served.” When we consider things, we should first ask ourselves how this will impact and further our mission to young families rather than being solely concerned with what will it do to me. We should remember that Jesus was so consumed by His mission that it freed Him to make the ultimate sacrifice and draw the world to His grace thereby changing each of our lives eternally.
Second, we should admit our ignorance about young families and seek to eradicate it. Our ignorance can stem from any number of reasons from lack of informative interactions and relationships with young families to biases on our part concerning the superiority of our mindsets to simply a lack of concern. We would do well to remember that just as each of us would assert that we deserve understanding and fair assessment so does everyone around us. Beloved, I admit this is a difficult thing to do and places a fierce demand upon us. I know how difficult it is in my own life to erase my knowledge deficits when it comes to generational shifts and understandings. Yet, I am reminded of our Lord who Scripture tells us dwelt among us as a human and thereby knows how to intercede before God on our behalf. If Jesus was willing to do that then why should not I be wiling to do likewise so that others may know Him.
Next, we must recognize the harvest fields around us. I will not take time here to fully illumine this encouragement as it will be at the heart of my sermon on July 3 (so don’t miss worship that day!). I will say this for now, each of us have someone we have left unasked about their relationship with Jesus and uninvited about joining us at Church. We are the answer to prayer to send laborers into the Lord’s harvest fields and we are causing those prayers to be unanswered. Let’s be frank, none of us like for our prayers to go unanswered, so should we not each of us be willing to be the answer to someone else’s prayers.
Finally, we should knock people over to be the first to sign up when the call for volunteers on a project goes out. God never imagined the Church as marked by our being a passive spectator. Beloved, a passive approach where we wait on someone to individually ask us to do something is unhelpful and inoperable, there is simply too much to do. I myself cannot do everything, but I can do some things and all of us are in that boat. We need Bible school workers this month. We are preparing to launch next month an evening Sunday School for our children and young families. We will also need volunteers to help with Fifth Quarter next month. Thanks to all who volunteered for Extended Session which will launch later this month during worship. Maybe there is a ministry you have had laid on your heart that you’d like to bring to our attention, please let us know. There is plenty for each of us to do. We must arise now to do it. I do not believe God would have birthed this renewed emphasis if He were going to leave us helpless to fulfill it. So, shall we feel the power of God together as we seek to fulfill what He has called us to do?
Grace Abounds, Marc