In Genesis 1:27-31, God created humanity in the divine image of God and then charged humanity with the care of the newly created world. We were given stewardship responsibility. The reality is that everything we have in our lives is ultimately from God. We have been blessed so that we may be a blessing to others. We are called to be good stewards.
The church is more than a building with a steeple. It is the people of God called together in a particular location to share the love of Jesus from our hearts. We are called to be good stewards of our own lives, of our life together as a United Methodist congregation, of each other’s lives within the congregation, and of our community surrounding us. We are called to be good stewards as we love God and love our neighbor as ourselves.
One of the ways in which we can be good stewards is through the living out of our Baptismal and Membership Vows. Every time that we baptize a baby or receive someone into the membership of the church, “we renew our covenant faithfully to participate in the ministries of the church by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” ~ (United Methodist Hymnal Page 38)
We covenant to participate by our prayers…
Prayer brings us close to God so that through that relationship we might increasingly reflect God’s love in our lives. There are a myriad of methods to pray. I encourage you to experiment with different of methods of prayer to find the ones that help you best speak and listen to God.
When should you pray? Well the scriptures tell us that we should pray without ceasing. Certainly that should encourage us to pray every day. Although they are important, this is about more than simply praying when we eat. But if you aren’t in the habit of praying at all, that would be a good place to begin.
What should you pray for? Pray for yourself. Pray for you family. Pray for your friends. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for your co-workers. Pray for your Church family. Pray for your pastor. Pray for the one you think or know doesn’t like you. Pray for the one you are not so sure you like. You do not need to know what needs they have, but if you do, you can pray more specifically. Pray for them by name. Ask God to be a blessing in their life. Ask God to show you how your relationship with them can be more loving. Remember that prayers should be about giving thanks for what God has already done as well as for our needs.
What words should I use? Use the same words you would, if you were sitting at the kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee and a donut with your closest friend. If you fail in coming with words, just say the names of those you are praying for. You could simply pray the Lord’s Prayer. You could read some scripture to help you think about what to say. The Psalms can be especially helpful for finding words that may express some of our feeling.
We covenant to participate by our presence…
We really do know what it means to be present. It is about more than simply showing up. It is about giving ourselves fully to the experience of the moment. If our child invites us to their soccer game, we may be there, but our child knows whether we are really present. If we are absorbed with text messages and emails, then we aren’t really present. But when we fully engage in the game and are rooting from the sidelines, our child knows we are really present.
Likewise, we are called to be present in the midst of the community of believers that we call the church. We are called to be present for worship, learning, and fellowship. These three together provide the needed balance for a God-centered life and create a dynamic church community.
We provide two weekly Sunday morning worship opportunities at 8:45 AM and 11:00 AM. Friday Night Praise is another worship opportunities that floats around on various Friday nights. Our learning experiences include Sunday School at 9:45 AM for all ages, Tuesday book study for adults at 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM, Bible Beans and Youth on Wednesday at 5:30 PM for children and youth, and a Pastor’s study at 7:15 PM on Wednesdays. Our fellowship experiences include monthly Movie Nights, Choir, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Youth Fellowship, and a variety of fundraising events that turn into great fellowship times as we work together and share our lives together.
We covenant to participate by our gifts…
Giving is a spiritual discipline that helps us put God first in our lives. Throughout scripture, we are reminded of the importance of giving back a portion of what God has so generously provided in our lives. It is important that we learn to give on a regular basis, but as we deepen our relationship with God, it is also important that we grow in giving proportionally, eventually to tithe (give 10% of our income), and to give sacrificially beyond the tithe.
We covenant to participate by our service…
Everyone has special God-given talents. Real ministry takes place when a person uses their special gifts to meet a need. No matter what your level of skill, availability of time, or the degree to which you have developed spiritually, we have ministries in which you can participate by your service of talent and time. If you haven’t found your ministry niche yet, stop by the office or give me a call and let’s discover together how you can be of service to God.
We covenant to participate by our witness…
Witness is another one of those nasty little words for many of us. As United Methodists and members of the body of Christ, we are called to extend God’s love to others and share our faith. We sing the hymn, they will know we are Christians by our love. We are to simply love others. As we share our love in meaningful ways in their lives, it will open the door for us to share what God means to us. It is not about complicated words or great theological jargon, but about simply sharing why God matters in our lives.
By Our Prayers, Our Presence, Our Gifts, Our Service, and Our Witness…
We are called to be good stewards. We are called to responsibly and carefully mange that which has been entrusted to us by God. We can honor God and act as the good stewards God calls us to be as we participate by our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness.
Let’s be the church together!