Pastor’s Ponderings, April 2019

Acting Like Disciples

Jesus taught His disciples and all who followed Him to live by His example, reaching out to those who needed help, were hurting, or feeling alone, lost and unloved.  He also commanded them to make disciples of all nations.  He made it clear that these two instructions were not mutually exclusive.  We are to both love others as we love ourselves, and to share the good news of the gospel, telling people about Jesus, inviting them into a relationship with Him, and teaching them what He taught His first disciples.

Most of us think of these things as the job of preachers and missionaries, but that would be so limiting, and not what Jesus intended.  The Apostle Peter reminds us that we “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God” that are to “declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light”       (1 Peter 2:9).  All who follow Christ are called to minister to those in need and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus.  You might find it interesting to know that the Greek word we translate as “nations” in the Great Commission, when Jesus commanded His disciples to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19), actually means “all kinds of peoples.”  Nations as we understand the word today didn’t exist in Jesus’ time.  There was a Greek word for kingdoms and empires, but Jesus didn’t use it.  Instead, He used a word which referred to Gentiles, non-Jews, or perhaps in our case, unchurched peoples.  Jesus teaches that we not only stop avoiding the unchurched, but reach out to them, witnessing His unconditional love.  Perhaps better said, we are to “act” on His love by “acting like disciples.”  When we do this, God blesses our “actions.”

We have already been experiencing this blessing, God rewarding us for reaching out to families with children in our community.  Through the monthly food fairs, new ministries such as our Mother’s Day Out, and community outreach efforts, we experienced so much new growth that we had to add a second service to make room for more people.  And it’s working!  Yes, now that we have gone to two services there are less people sitting in the sanctuary in each service, but that is because they are spread out into two services.  Although January and February have historically been low attendance months, combined (both services) attendance is averaging 14% higher than the same period in 2018, even when we don’t count those who like to attend both services.  If you count all attendance we are averaging 25% more.  But we are seeing an even greater benefit in Sunday school attendance, which has almost doubled since we went to two services.

Now that we have room for more people, we are planning to increase our outreach efforts beginning with a community-wide Easter Egg Hunt that we are going to hold in Briscoe Park on Windy Knoll.  It will be held on Saturday, April 20, the day before Easter.  We will be providing activities and crafts for children, and will conduct five consecutive age specific Easter egg hunts for kids under 2 through 10.  We will be giving away prizes, and sharing the gospel message by giving away Resurrection Egg kits to participating families.  This will be a massive undertaking for hopefully hundreds of children.  We will be witnessing the love of God to everyone who attends, and God will bless us as we attempt to be a blessing.  We will need everyone’s help so please sign up to donate needed supplies and/or volunteer to serve.  We will be “acting like disciples” by going out to make disciples of all “peoples.”  And this is only the beginning, because through this event we hope to gather input from the families in our community on how we can best provide a community-wide tutoring ministry for their children.  As Christ is our example, we will be an example of Christ to our community.  May God lead, guide and bless our efforts.

Your fellow servant in Christ,

Pastor Harold