Dreams Change Lives

 

Genesis 37:1-11   Tyler Amundson  August 10, 2014

 

Covenant United Methodist Church – A partner in Helena United Methodist Ministries

Over five years ago people here in Helena started dreaming of creating a reality to help invite young people more deeply into the life of the Methodist church here.  That solidified into a very real reality of them deciding they needed a young adult pastor who could explore this reality more deeply.  I was hired as a result of a conversation of people dreaming about the possibility of a church where more young adults would be present in the church.

 

This is not an uncommon dream of churches, to have more young people around.  You don’t have to look far of the next article describing a question of whether organize religion will survive the next generation.  Between 2007 and 2012 the number of people claiming no religious affiliation jumped from about 15% to about 20%(http://www.pewforum.org/2012/10/09/nones-on-the-rise/).  These unaffiliated folks are highest among the 18-29 demographic and with the number of people not going to church on the rise there is serious question if the next generation will continue to support churches in their communities.

 

What’s the drive behind having young people in the church?  Is it just about institutions surviving?  Do we seek to see the church survive it just because the church is the place we feel comfortable?  Or is it something more unnerving that bothers us about the church disappearing?

 

I will get back to those questions.

 

Many times as I have taken part in committee meetings or planning sessions since becoming clergy I have found I have a tendency to accidentally call people “old.”  I don’t mean to.  Here is what happens.   We might be discussing an education opportunity in the church or a mission project around the corner.  In the conversation I will say something like, “That is a great idea and you need to make sure we do x and y to make it more possible for young people to participate.”  I promise you I will inevitably here the comment, “Well its not just young people who need x or y.”  Usually the suggestions I make are to consider doing the activity or project at a time that allows young working people to participate, or provide childcare for young families.  I don’t do it to make people feel old, but our churches are older and we want young people to participate.  What I need help with is figuring out how you say young people have different life needs than the average churchgoer, and yes it is based on age realities. The truth is every age has it challenges, but our goal is to involve young people.

 

A pastor friend of mine shared a story of his first church after seminary.  When he left seminary he was in his early thirties.  The members of the church commented during his first few years in the church how young my friend was.  These comments continued until one day my friend got curious and looked up how young the pastor who founded the church was.  Many of the members calling him young were around for the founding of the church.  The founding pastor was no older than my friend was at the time he was working there, our churches median age has just gotten a little higher.

 

Our scripture today is following in a series of sermons I am preaching this summer on Genesis.  Genesis is the book of the bible most associate with the creation stories, or perhaps with the stories of Abraham.  However, there are more stories and they are full of intrigue and strange human interactions.  Many would read these texts and associate them with soap operas.  Stories that are not meant to teach us moral direction, but do offer us insight into human nature and our attempts at interacting with God to work to a future.

 

Today we find ourselves in the story of Joseph.

 

Genesis 37:1-11New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Joseph Dreams of Greatness

37 Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. This is the story of the family of Jacob.

Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves.[a] But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.

Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.

He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” 11 So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.

 

Joseph’s father is still trying to figure out who could be sharing this dream his wisdom is interpreting Joseph’s dream. I wonder perhaps if he wonders what truth there may be in it. If you don’t know the rest of the story Joseph’s statement has pushed his brothers off the edge. They are fed up with him and the favoritism his father shares with Joseph.   They cruelly beat him, and toss him in a pit. Then passing slave traders capture him and sell him into slavery and his father is very sad. However, the dream comes true later. Joseph’s gifts provide him with a role to help Egypt survive a famine and it just so happens he helps his brothers and fathers survive it too.

 

Dreams that aren’t our own are sometimes hard to hear. People who follow their dreams are dangerous and unpredictable. They are also able to accomplish things that many people cannot imagine.

 

Dreams led by ego and self-importance can lead to very bad places. One of the warnings in this story, the reason Joseph’s father is nervous is his son’s dream sound like he is power hungry. It sounds as though he wants control over his brothers, his father, and everyone around him. Dreams of this nature have caused great problems in human history.

 

However, the young Joseph was just sharing the dream he had encountered. This dream was about how he would help to save his own people and another nation from disaster. Perhaps if Joseph’s father would have interpreted the story with Joseph, worked with him they could have worked toward the dream together. They could have worked together to find the truth in community with one another and with God.

 

For over a year now the idea has been worked on for us to think about ministry in Helena differently. We have two distinct church communities with styles that offer unique gifts to our community, but neither church is growing exponentially and the needs of our community are. There was a time when pretty much everyone went to church. It was the respectable way to be involved in a community. Church was ‘what you did.’ Jeremy Scott, our new conference ‘Vital Congregations Developer’ wrote an article last week that I think really helps us understand where we’re at. He observes that “that most of us have inherited expectations, buildings, budgets, and programing that were crafted in the 60s and 70s.” We, of course, have a new building . . . as does St. Paul’s. . . . but the rest of the statement is true.   He says there is a reason for that:

 

“Two important things happened at once around that time. First, the baby boom kids were entering school age. Suddenly, there were more children in our neighborhoods than ever before. In response, we added education buildings, expanded Sunday Schools, and built strong summer VBSs.” And second, “was the rise of communism and President Eisenhower’s response to it. About a month before his inauguration, Eisenhower said in a speech, “Our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply-felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is.” The president was encouraging people to go to church to prove how truly American they were . . . The message was clear: Be American. Go to church. Any church.”

“Two years later, as if to cement the point, “under God” was added to the pledge of allegiance. A large part of the argument for adding it was the idea that what really sets us apart from the commies is our belief in God. Most people today don’t know “under God” wasn’t originally part of the pledge, but it’s true. In fact, for most of the last half of the twentieth century, it was not Communism vs. Democracy, it was Communism vs. Christianity.

So, we have kids all over the place and massive social pressure to attend church to prove you were “one of us.” The challenge to churches was to offer the best religious goods and services possible. If you did that well, then your pews (and plates) would be full.

 

And this church, we are an example of that. Covenant was planted in that time period to attempt to meet the growing needs. The members that first formed the “Covenant” here were attempting to reach out and grow into the reality Jeremy talks about. Jeremy continues . . .

 

Fast-forward again to today where social pressure to attend church is near zero. Parents today face more pressure for their children to be at soccer practice than church.

What is the church to do?

First we have to recognize that times really are different. Truly, what worked before won’t work the same today. That is not to say that doing it before was wrong. Far from it. Most churches were simply reacting to the times in which they lived. Kids everywhere? Then build kid’s programing. It was logical and, frankly, appropriate.

Saying times have changed isn’t to say that what happened before was bad, it’s just simply stating a fact. There were plenty of quality buggy makers who were put out of business by the car. Not because they built bad buggies, or that they never should have built buggies in the first place, it’s that society changed how it moved around.

…. Once, not so long ago, having strong Sunday school and a good choir was enough to make the church grow. Those programs you cherish did, once, bring in a lot of people and expose them to the good news of Jesus Christ.[1]

 

That was the dream that we could expose people to the good news of Christ, and we did that by making sure the right programs were in place to support all the people who went to church, because that is what you did. We simply showed them how to be Christians while they were here. However, they aren’t just coming in the doors anymore.

 

I don’t think people have been saying we want young people in our church because they just want to the church, the institution to continue. I think the reason people get uncomfortable when we point out what we might do to make things more hospitable to young people, why they feel they are being called “old,” is because we are kind of embarrassed. We are embarrassed as a church that we haven’t been able to find a way to share the dream of church with people because we haven’t learned the new way. We know that faith has helped us to live a life with God, to dream with God and one another, but we aren’t quite sure how to share this saving grace with the world.

 

Church is a community that dreams with God about a better world. Dreaming with God was what church is about, trying to reach with Jesus Christ to share the kingdom of God. It is a dangerous dream of a world where God’s justice and peace are shared with all people.

 

“Build it and they will come.” This motto was what church use to be about. What is our purpose as a community of Christ now? Where do we put our energy and what is God calling us to do now to share the Good News?

 

Watched film – http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/46739/Mornings-With-Jesus–Urgency?utm_source=whmfp&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cfl&utm_campaign=fp08/04/2014

 

Jesus doesn’t even say a word in this film and yet God is speaking to us the whole time. Just help when asked, start to make a difference in my name, and the Good News will be shared. We will start dreaming together about how to change our communities when we reach out to those in need. The best part is we did it before. This is how Methodism came to Montana by starting children’s homes, hospitals, and by meeting people where they were. We didn’t start with a big church building; we started with sharing good and dreaming with God.

 

The more unnerving thing about the church declining, the reason we get uncomfortable when we say the things we have always done are not working is it feels we are watching the dreams of disciples die. If feels as if the things we have worked to build are crumbling beneath us.

 

Let’s have more faith than that because we are a people who saw fear try to end the Good News, and who know the Good News is resurrected. We are a people who know that we can sell our dreams away to fear, but if God is working on them they will come back to us.

 

Helena United Methodist Ministry is two churches joining together to Multiply Ministry and Maximize Impact for Good. It is United Methodists in Helena saying we are dream together to feed the hungry, heal the sick, comfort the afflicted, bring peace to conflict, and to dream with God. We are going to learn to live a disciple’s path, to walk with Christ to share God’s love in the world.

 

Dreaming with God changes lives because God works with anyone, big or small, young or old and everywhere in-between to bring God’s saving grace to the world. So instead of throwing our dreams into a hole let’s do what one of my favorite poets says, let’s say yes to God’s dream of a better world and yes “To handles on pillows so you can hold on to your dreams.”[i]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Find the entire article by Jeremy Scott at www.yacumc.org

 

[i] http://shane-koyczan-poems.tumblr.com/post/32815310830/shut-up-and-say-something-the-night-you-were

Which Way?

Religious billboards, the ones we see around today, really don’t help my blood pressure.  Most of them seem to carry an ultimatum on them.  “Follow Jesus or spend eternity somewhere you don’t want to.”   “Ignoring Jesus? Well he died for you.”  The guilt flows from these billboards like a flooding river in spring.  One billboard I drive by consistently reads, “Do you have any idea where you are going? –God.”  One practice I have taken to is answering “no” to its question every time I pass.

Driving home from the gym, “Do you have any idea where you are going?”  “No”

Driving to a friend’s house, “No.”

Walking back home from an appointment, “No.”

I first started answering “no” because of the implicit meaning of guilt in the billboard.  I can’t stand the way religion tends to use guilt and fear to justify sharing the message of God.

After I kept answering this way for a while, I began to find extreme comfort by answering “no.”

Our scripture today comes from Luke 3:10-14.  It comes from the Baptism narrative of Jesus and the dialogue is between people being baptized by John and John as the baptizer.  The people are inquiring, “Now that I have been baptized, what should I do next?”

Luke 3:10-14

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

10 And the crowds asked him, “What then should we do?” 11 In reply he said to them, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” 12 Even tax collectors came to be baptized, and they asked him, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 He said to them, “Collect no more than the amount prescribed for you.” 14 Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what should we do?” He said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

John Dominic Crossan’s lifelong study has brought him to the conclusion that Jesus was committed to learning from John’s way and in fact learned much of his practice of ministry from John.  John has a message we hear it in this passage.  “Clean up your act.”  John shares this wisdom due to his belief that God is coming to clean up the world and you want to be cleaned up when that happens.  John’s message is a lot like those billboards that drive me crazy.  His message is full of guilt, trying to get people to act responsibly before God violently purges the world.[i]  Jesus learned many teachings from John, but Jesus’ message was very different.

The peace I have felt saying “no” to the billboard has been strange.  Each time I pass, it asks “Do you have any idea where you’re going?”  I find I am now saying, “No.”  And also, “Do you?”  As if I am asking God for a reply to this existential question.  Each time I ask, “Do you?” Thoughts run through my head of all the things that are going on in my life and directions to be chosen: family, friends, challenges, joys, fears, hope, the larger world, and even questions of my purpose.

In the scripture John gives different directions to the people who have come to be baptized.  To the crowds, “Share your wealth.”  To the tax collectors, “be honest, and stop stealing.”  To the soldiers, “Don’t be bullies stop extorting people with your power.”  To each group or person a new instruction is given and no single path is the right way.

When I was in college I was a part of a small United Methodist campus ministry.  We met at the Methodist church and at friend’s houses.  We prayed, shared in mission work, talked, and shared in meals together.  There were much larger campus ministries and part of me always wanted to be a part of those.  They had more people, more money, better music, and seemed to be so well organized.  They were doing outreach with all sorts of groups and our campus ministries’ outreach seemed so limited by our size.

The reason I couldn’t join those other ministries was their message left me feeling like I was dripping with guilt.  It was a lot like the message of John, “Repent for the kingdom of God is near.”  In those words alone there is nothing wrong.  Repent means to think differently or to change your path.  However, those other campus ministries’ “kingdom of God” is something I struggled with.  Their understanding of the “kingdom of God” was a world in which everyone had to follow their way of thinking, believe what their God said, and didn’t provide room for a lot of questions.  The reason their message made me feel gross is I couldn’t actively be curious about my God.

God in this context looked more like an abusive relationship, than a relationship of Grace being offered.  I knew that if I was a part of one of these other communities I wouldn’t have conversation, argue or challenge the norm.  Obedience was the key.  To leave the community would be to risk the worst of fates, eternally risky.  The icky feeling I got was because God didn’t feel like a safe place to be vulnerable, but instead a dangerous place to keep my guard up.  Why would I want a relationship like that?

“Do you know where we are going? – God”

I wish the billboard on Helena Ave. was posted like this instead.  This switch of questions is the same way Jesus switched his message from John’s message.  Instead of “repent for the Kingdom of God is near,” Jesus message was “repent for the Kingdom of God is here.”

The thing I really envied about the other campus ministries in college were the diversity of people they were engaging with their faith.  That they had found ways to share the experiences they were having with God.  I wanted to share my experiences of God, but I just couldn’t find the vocabulary, the shared language to do it.

Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran Pastor in Denver, Colorado.  If you see a picture of Nadia you won’t think pastor.  She has more tattoos than anyone I had met prior to her.  I interviewed with Nadia at one point, to see if I could complete my internship with her church.  Some days, I really wish I had taken that internship.  She is now a nationally known speaker on faith.  Her church is called House for All: Sinners and Saints.  This community she has worked to build is an incredibly welcoming community to all kinds of people.  So diverse, that Nadia shares a story about how hard it was to accept people in khakis and polo shirts when they started to show up too.

In an interview online Nadia shared that she had the opportunity to engage in a clergy group with some evangelical and pentecostal leaders.  She was the only mainline clergy in the group.  She explains that at one point she felt “schooled” by these pastors because of the dynamic ways they were engaging with the poor in Denver.  Often times the mainline churches(Lutherans, Methodists, Episcopalians, United Church of Christ, etc.) claim they know social justice and are experts at it.  Nadia experience is not always that and she states, “That sometimes evangelicals and pentecostals are able to share a message of the bible and of Jesus that is more connected to their hearts.” [ii]

The language Jesus shares in the scriptures is one of diversity and openness.  It is an invitation to join together in the work of making the world a better place.  The message of Christ is non-violent and filled with justice.  Justice filled like John’s message to the people, the roman soldier, and the tax collectors.  The message of Christ invites us to share God’s love by doing good and sharing love in community.  Then Jesus asks us to take it step further.  Christ invites us to pay it forward; because we can best feel God’s love when we are sharing God’s love.

Jesus doesn’t say to the Samaritan Woman at the well after offering her the life giving water of God.  Oh, and only offer it the first Sunday of every month.   Jesus doesn’t say to the man in Gerasine, whom he cured from the insatiable voices of demons in his mind, and if you don’t believe God did this for you the demons will be back.  No!  To both of these people he offered love and healing and said, “Go, share God’s Love.”  And there was never a mention of a penalty if they didn’t go and share.  Jesus invited people to partner with him, to dream with God about the potential for a better world.

The followers of Jesus way became so fond of the path that Christ laid out for them, they began to call it, “The Way.”  I don’t believe they use this term to describe the “only way,” but instead to share their fondness and hope in the fruits of their practice.  By practicing their faith they were beginning to see how God worked with people to share love, healing, and wholeness with the world.  Jesus was the way they had learned and it was helping them grow toward God.

It wasn’t the only way.  Jesus learned from John another way.   Jesus learned the world had to be changed and that justice needed to be invited by those who asked for direction.  However, Jesus learned also to invite some people who weren’t able to ask for the help they needed.  The systems of the world silenced them and hid them away, as happens today.  He would go to them and learn from them their pain, and then work with them for healing and wholeness.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech spoke words of hope to us.  I know almost no one who is not inspired when they hear the words of Dr. King.  His speech was deeply rooted in his tradition, our tradition of Christianity.  The dream Dr. King shared was a world freed from race, freed from oppression, and where our children could live in peace.

This is our language!  This is the language we need to share with the world.

The language:  We are a people invited to partner with God.  We are invited to dream with God about a just world.  And we invite you to dream with us.

Bishop John Shelby Spong says, “God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God.”[iii]

Our Christian tradition gives us the language of Jesus and his Jewish heritage.  A place to study, learn, dream of God, and invites us to work together with God.

May we be wise in our listening and conversing with God and not afraid to know the real question God is asking, “Do you know where we are going?”

God’s dream is that we might collaborate with God and see a future more whole than today.  A future beyond boundaries, race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other division we might see.  May our continued community prayer be, “Which way should we go, God?”


[i] Crossan, J. D. (2011). The challenge of jesus, the new paradigm series. (Vol. 1). Sardom, INC and THE D.L. Dykes, Jr. Foundation.

[ii] https://vimeo.com/48757737

Another choice. Why Methodism?

Many times I have been asked, “Why I chose to be a Methodist Pastor?” The church is declining in membership, young people are not sure of its importance, and people are wondering if they even need religion. The Methodist movement maintains part of the answer to this. The central notion of Methodism is to involve groups of people gathering together to talk about their faith and how to actively share that with the world. Sharing faith is conversation and support that helps sustain in trying live a Christlike life. Faith sharing can be about: the challenges we face in maintaining healthy relationships, where we see pain and injustice in the world and want to change it, the challenges we face each day, the joy we experience, or anything that impacts our lives.

Sharing with each other reminds us of God’s love in our lives. Religion becomes vital when we recognize that by sharing our faith and going out to live we live as Christ. We see things that we would not see by sharing with one another and we work to address the problems in our world.

Methodists then go one step further and say this isn’t enough for me to just do this work amongst ourselves, lets find out what they do down the road or in the next town. We create faith sharing communities that overcome the physical and political boundaries that separate us. Our goal in doing this is the same as it is to share with a group in our local town, to share the burden of living challenging lives and seeking to bring love to our world.

Why Methodist? Because we can’t share a love as big as what Christ taught by ourselves.

Enthusiastic Peace,

Pastor Tyler

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Labyrinth your thought

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The amazing thing about God is that the presence is that you rarely know where you will find it.  This past week I had the opportunity to fly down to Tampa, Florida.  My main intention in being down there was to attend the Large Church Initiative of the United Methodist Church event at Hyde Park UMC.    Due to the way flights from Montana work I needed to arrive a day early.  I took the opportunity to try and take some time for personal retreat.  Pastors like this stuff because most of encountering of God happens in the presence of other people.  I found a beautiful Franciscan Retreat Center in Tampa and spent 24 hours there.  Little did I know it would be the beginning of process that would change my thinking.

God shows up in the most interesting ways.  Yes I was at a retreat center, yes I was trying to encounter the divine, but all of my energy when I first got to the center was thinking.  Why didn’t I just go curl up on a beach somewhere at a resort, instead of coming here?  The retreat center was nice, but it wasn’t a beach resort.  However, I let myself get settled in and started wandering the grounds.

As I wandered I stumbled onto a labyrinth and little did I know it would be the story that would define my week.  Labyrinth’s are not a stranger to me.  I love their curved paths for prayer.  In Helena, MT where I live there is a wonderful labyrinth out in an open field that I like to use.  The point of a labyrinth is to enter and walk the path in prayer, in conversation with God.  The thing about a labyrinth is it takes our linear realities and bends them.  It seemingly takes time and slows it and forces the brain to relax.  God’s presence is much more clear as this happens.  I picked to walk the labyrinth 3 times while I was there.  Figuring it was a good trinitarian number.  I felt in those walks blessed assurance of my call to serve people in ministry and with my life.

Then I went to this training.  I have been skeptical of church conferences as of late.  It generally seems we get together, speak of our sense that the church is dying out, toss around a few good ideas, and then head home to the status quo.  I WAS WRONG.  Whether it was me doing the prep work, or God’s spirit working on my heart, it was as if the entire Large Church Initiative event was walking a labyrinth of what my call to Methodism was and call to ministry in the world could be.

Now I know this is where I am profound and say it was one specific talk, or workshop that inspired me.  It was not one thing.  It was the path of walking the conference.  I encountered in the conference a reality that leading a church is utilizing the skills in myself that I had been preparing my whole life, the ones I was continuing to develop, and in talking with others I recognized I had the knowledge to initiate this work.

You see for each of us the labyrinth isn’t about a defining moment.  Rarely does the end leave you feeling good.  It is actually the biggest let down, because in the middle of the labyrinth you reach the half way point, the journey outward still has to happen.  The labyrinth of our lives is walking with God, letting the shifts of life not break you, but instead guide you to the next phase.  It is the gentle nudging of God’s spirit that will awaken in us the realization of how where we have been, can be the sustaining nurture for the possibility of tomorrow.

I took away from the conference some of the best conversations, skills, and resolve about who we are as Methodists and Christians.  However, if I pretended that was the end it would be a lie.  It was but the first turn as I entered the labyrinth of my call.  The same way when I wake up in the morning and step out of bed I take the first turn of my daily call.  Where is your first turn today?

 

May God’s blessing be upon you.

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“Mission” Pope Knows

“Mission” he notes, “is key to ministry”. “A Church that does not go out of itself, sooner or later, sickens from the stale air of closed rooms”. Pope Francis went on to concede that at times, like anyone else, in going out the Church risks running into accidents. But he added “I prefer a thousand times over a Church of accidents than a sick Church”.

Text from page http://en.radiovaticana.va/articolo.asp?c=683985
of the Vatican Radio website

This new Pope has some of the greatest one liners a religious figure has had in a while.  A common theme in my ministry is the conversation of “what the church is doing wrong?”

It is generally a conversation shared by people who find a genuine experience in the church.  Tonight I sat with a group of young adults who genuinely find value in the church experience.  They find community that supports them in their need, community the draws the boundaries wide to include people, and a community willing to pray and act for those in need.  The reality is that these young people are a part of churches that are asking these questions and reaching beyond their doors to share a message of grace with the world.

When I shared with them the reality that the category of people who claim no church affiliation is a growing category.  They were not concerned.  When they talked about people who don’t get church.  One person basically said, “We don’t need to worry about it.”  I instantly realized she was right.  We all know it to be true.  We aren’t going to get people to church by telling them about how great it is to be a part of a church.  People have plenty of things to be excited about.  No, we get people excited about church when it doesn’t stink, when we “run into them.”

We have to be out in the world and ready to change lives.  Those skills we have at listening to people, coming up with ideas to help them, praying with them, and seeking to assist them in living in this world.  Those are the skills the church needs to utilize now, more than ever.  Love our neighbor as ourselves.

Now I have know this for a long time, but this quote gave it gumption and an edge.

I totally have to thank Marianne, the Pastor I work with for finding this.  When she read it to me I knew I had to use it for the missional work I was doing.