Monday, October 11, 2010

Things to Ponder

As we approach the middle of the month of October, knowing that this is the time of the year when many churches have their stewardship/pledge/commitment campaigns, there are several questions that we need to answer.

First- What is the church?
Seriously, for those of us in ministry we don't really need to consider this question very long. Or do we? There are those who, even after many years serving a church, don't really know what the church is.

Second- What is the church for? This is the question that often gets pastors/church leaders into trouble and conflict. Is the church for the people in the pews, the ones supporting the ministries? Or is it a hospital for soul sick people in need of the promise of salvation? Or is it simply a pleasant social club that meets once a week for some singing and a short, feel good message?

Third- How are we faithful to our vows? For those who have actually joined a congregation there are vows of membership that are taken. In the United Methodist Church there are a series of questions that are asked, and then the person vows to uphold the church by "their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness." But in truth how many actually do these things?

Fourth- How should we pray? Interesting that in all the years I've been attending a church that this question is one that I had never considered. And our churches don't really teach us HOW to pray. For myself, I used to be terrible at prayer. Especially prayer in a corporate setting that I was expected to lead. Not just the Lord's Prayer which, and let's be TOTALLY honest, most people ramble through by rote not even considering that it's a Jewish prayer (Jesus was a Jew teaching Jewish disciples how to pray), or that it gives the basic layout of how every prayer we offer should be designed.

We're about to ask our congregations for their financial support over the next year. Do they even know why they're not only expected to give, but why it's a Biblical imperative?

How would you answer these simple questions?



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