Pastor’s Corner

 

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Pastor’s Corner
August 2017

From the Pastor

“So That”

Lovett H. Weems, Jr. and Tom Berlin write in their book, Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results, that the two most powerful words in Christian ministry are “so that”. “So that” moves us from a random, even complacent, exercise of Christian faith to dynamic, intentional discipleship. Too often we become mired in the endless routines of maintaining the appearance of Christian ministry that we fail to bear the fruit of a relevant Christian lifestyle and labors. “So that” is found frequently in scripture, and the authors lift up several examples: “Have them make me a sanctuary, so that I may dwell among them.” Exodus 25: 8 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3: 16 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” I John 4: 9 For church leader and congregations, “so that” becomes an effective tool for clarifying our ministry purpose and direction. “So that” helps us to transform “activities to outcomes”. Instead of doing something because we’ve always done it, we take the extra step of clarifying our expected results and insure that they are consistent with our congregation’s mission and vision. Of all the books (Year One) Fruitful Congregation Journey participants read, this was the concept that made the largest difference in their local congregations. (I taught laity sessions for 7 years) August will be our “SO THAT” month. In July we’ve been praying for 5 sessions on God’s future vision for Calvary UMC. We’re asking God to help us dream and plan for fall ministries. We’ve asked the questions: What does Sunday morning look like at Calvary UMC? What does faith formation look like this fall for children? youth? adults? As we follow God’s future vision we’ll be asking the so that questions in each decision we make in individual committee or ministry teams. While Weems and Berlin’s book primarily address the ministry dynamics of congregations, I believe their “so that” focus provides spiritual benefits for individual Christians as we seek to live more intentionally in the world. As we reflect upon God’s claim upon our life, “so that” helps us to drill down to the core values we possess and the impact we want our lives to make on those around us. “So that” enables us, individually, to reflect upon and prioritize our activities according to God’s call. I’m personally asking myself the “so that” question. “I was appointed to Calvary UMC so that……?” Let the Children come, Pastor Heather