Sunday, June 7, 2009

Church Making

How would you go about creating a church? What would the key components be?  What would its parts be? Go ahead, take a blank piece of paper and have some fun designing with words or pictures.  After a while, imagine what other people's creations might look like.  What might God's version look like? 

There are as many ways of imagining ‘Church” as there have been Christians, and, especially since the reformation, we’ve tested a great many options.

What are the essentials?

We tend to think in terms of product. This is what a church looks like (or ought to look like).

But God works in Pentecost process,  consecrating us with the Holy Spirit's touch, cultivating us to become like Christ, and activating us to live as God's people. Anything we create and call” church” is a form for God to work through as God builds these processes. This is how a church is made.

 Here’s what we at Readfield UMC call the essential elements in our church’s experience: 

The foundation of our church is Christ.  Everything we build must be on Christ’s Holy foundation of Faith Hope, Love. If we don’t build on, and take care of, our relationship with that foundation we might as well be building on a sand bar.  So let's think of Christ's presence in the red of Pentecost as we celebrate God's living presence.

God has purpose for us.  We discover that purpose in the next set of elements, the way we nurture our relationship with God and the way we reach out with and because of our relationship with God.  We live tending the fire within our community and within our lives, reaching out with the light of Christ. 

Nurture follows God’s call to intentionally grow in our fellowship with each other, in our worship practices, in our mind, body and spirit, not just as individuals, but also an expression of the body of Christ.  Let’s color this area of our life together blue, for the deep waters of baptism, blue for –nurturing our souls (in-tending). 

Outreach follows God’s call to extend the grace that grounds and transforms our lives.  We reach out with words of witness and acts of mercy that respond to real people’s real needs.  We reach out with the work of justice, demanding that human community make a safe, healthy, respected place for each and all human beings.    Let’s color this area of our life yellow, for the light of Christ that shines brighter each time one of us extends the faith hope and love that give us life and purpose. 

 Then, as we're making our church, there are the people who develop and care for the gifts God gives us.  Green is for People (the Staff Parish Relations Committee & the Lay Leadership team)

White is  for property and our team of Trustees who keep our buildings and grounds clean and ready for ministry and our investments transparently in order.

And black is what we keep our budget in, thank Finance members. How many of us are at stick figure stage?)

But as all of us bring our gifts for God’s consecration, cultivate, and activation, we are pefected together, as individuals and as a community in that love that gives us holy ground to stand on and a holy purpose to reach toward.

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