The signs are all around us; squirrels and children know this well – the season is changing. As back to school sales and Packer’s preseason games are underway, so, too, are we gearing up for a new season of ministry as Memorial Baptist Church, and as followers of Christ.
There is a lot to celebrate in this time: we’ve been blessed and refreshed with experiences of community and celebration together at the Timber Rattlers’ game, at the August potluck after worship and at the Fish Fry. (Have we noticed lots of these things revolve around food?) We rejoiced together as boxes upon boxes of knitted hats, scarves, and mittens were dedicated to the Back to School program. And God continues to bless and work through Stone Soup as community deepens and as we begin a new facet of the ministry to allow intentional space for God conversations. We have a full slate of Christian education opportunities for all ages, as Pat Olson has worked hard to organize materials for our children and adult leaders offer a variety of classes and small groups. The men’s and women’s ministries are likewise gearing up and retooling for the fall.
This is part of preparing for the normal rhythm of the seasons of church life together. And it has been a blessing to see how many have participated in the intentional conversations after worship this past month. For we are also in a new season culturally and as a church, and it’s important to hear from one another in order to respond both faithfully and effectively.
Starting with the core purposes of the church – to proclaim and embody the love of God through Jesus Christ, and to build each other up in maturity in the image of Jesus – we’ve begun to look at our strengths, challenges and opportunities.
Strengths like embodying Christ-like love and welcome, being a safe place to nurture and grow in faith, seeking to live out of a centeredness in Jesus and trying not to fall victim to the vicious pull of polarization in our culture.
We also have challenges – not necessarily unique to us: discerning how to focus our energy, letting go of trying to emulate larger churches or even our own past, working on loving and open communication, asking what kind of structure best enables us to live out our ministry.
In the midst of that, this is also a season of opportunities; these things can spur us to action and attention to what God is doing in our midst. Who is God bringing us into contact with? Where are we finding people open and responsive to the Gospel? Where are we finding partners inside and outside the church for the ministry God calls us into? Leaning faithfully and humbly into the answers to these questions, I am confident that God will lead Memorial Baptist Church into this new season of life as a blessing for all who are a part of it.
Blessings on the Journey,