Thursday, April 8, 2010

Recently I have been reflecting on the three “gardens” of hospitality, compassion, and worship in the parable that the Session created for our congregation. All three gardens are necessary for our congregational life and are all connected to one another. It strikes me that my work with you as your Director of Education and Mission Outreach is relevant to all three of these “gardens” or ministries. I want to say a few words about how I see this occurring in each of the three ministries.

Ministries of hospitality are “ministries that welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, meet them where they are in faith, and equip them for living their faith.” Much of the Christian Education work I do is seeking to meet the members of this congregation where they are. Then based on where you are in your life’s journey provide resources and opportunities that support and challenge you to grow in your faith both individually and as a congregation. Another aspect is providing resources and opportunities that equip you to live out your faith this complicated world. I have to continue to remind myself that this requires me to get to know you individually. I want to know your story, your needs and your desires. This year, as much as possible, I am trying to spend time with a wide variety of this congregation in different situations. So don’t be surprised if I plop myself down at your table on Sunday morning.

Ministries of compassion are “ministries that seek to recognize the brokenness of the word and individuals within it and reach out with Christ’s love to bring hope and healing.” For me this defines what “mission outreach” is. In mission outreach we seek to recognize and understand the needs of our community, our nation and our world. Once we have done that we discern how we can use our passions, strengths, and skills to respond effectively to those needs. My role is to assist you in recognizing and understanding the needs as well as working with you to establish and grow ministries that can address some of the needs and brokenness.

Ministries of worship are “ministries that assist the people of God in praising God, acknowledging the divine presences, and responding to God’s claim and redemption.” You might have asked yourself how my work in “education and mission outreach” is relevant to ministries of worship. Well you are not alone in your questioning as I too have reflected on this. My work is relevant to worship ministries primarily through worship education. For example this year the elementary children spent four weeks of Sunday School learning about worship as well as creating elements our Sunday morning worship liturgy. As adults the more we understand why, how and who we worship, we are able to more fully participate in worshiping God.

I want to challenge you to reflect on the ways your passions and God given gifts are relevant to each of these areas of ministries.

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