Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back to Church Sunday

September 18 may be the greatest Sunday of 2011 for those of us who call Argos United Methodist Church home. Back to Church Sunday is intended to create a non-threatening, low pressure occasion for people to come back to church.

There are many people who have left church. There are some who never were a part of our congregation, or any other. Many of us have loved ones, friends and family members who do not know Jesus. Back to Church Sunday is for all of those people.

On September 18 there are many exciting things happening. We are going to have a great attendance goal for worship. This goal will be announced in worship on September 4. Additionally, Pastor Dewey will begin a series of sermons entitled, “How to…” The first sermon, taken from Genesis 3.1-7, is called, “How to Sin.”

As it happens, Back to Church Sunday falls on the same day as our Sunday School Grand Re-Opening. There will be classes for all children. The Nursery will be staffed and there will be a pre-school class, as well as classes for Kindergarten- 2nd Grade, and 3rd-5th Grades. Pastor Dewey will be leading a special, six week Sunday School class for adults that will study the New Testament. This class is called, “Things You Didn’t Learn in Sunday School.” This class is designed for people who currently do not attend a Sunday School class, but all are welcome.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mid-Life Crisis, part 1

When I turned 40 years old (it was several years ago) I had what could be considered a mid-life crisis. I didn’t have an affair, use drugs, start a rock band or buy a sports car. I didn’t get overly ambitious or dangerously slothful. I am pretty unusual, so I prayed. I knew that my life-expectancy ought to be around 80 years. That meant that at 40, I was half way finished with this world. I prayed about what I should be doing with the rest of my life.

I believe that the Lord gave me three answers. There are three things that I am supposed to do with the rest of my life. Everything I do, propose, think about or support should lead toward the accomplishment of one or more of these three things. None of my three things are especially unique or special; they are just the things that God is calling me to do. So, part one of my life’s calling is:

I am to facilitate a renewal in worship in my congregation, and in the United Methodist Church.

Let me explain this briefly. Often we think of worship as a set of practices that we participate in at a prescribed time (Sunday morning) and place (a church building). Although I agree with that definition, it does not go nearly far enough. Worship cannot be contained in our traditional ways of thinking.

  • We need to view worship as a relationship, rather than an event. Worship is not what happens for an hour on Sunday morning, it is a lifetime of speaking to and listening to God. It is an ongoing conversation throughout the week, and throughout our lifetimes.
  • We need to think of worship not in terms of style, but substance. There are many people who get worked up about the type of music, style of prayer, etc in the worship service. But God is not limited to our stylistic preferences. He can speak to us in hymns, gospel songs, choral anthems or even hip-hop.
  • We need to remember that worship is something that happens (or does not happen) based on our attitudes. When we worship we must be prepared to meet God, not thinking about how we are fulfilling some sort of obligation. If our priority is our Sunday afternoon tee time, then worship on Sunday morning will be more difficult.
  • We need to think of worship as an experience rather than an obligation. We don’t “have to” worship, we “get to” meet with God.

It will take some adjustment, but renewal in worship is possible, and preferable.