God at Work
But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. ~Galatians 4: 4-5
I have been convicted of late by a seemingly simple question, “How do we perceive God at work in our time?” But it was when I began to think of this question in a different way that I really became bumfuzzled. As I thought about how I perceive God at work in our time, I began to ask myself, “How is God at work in our community?”
A year ago, in an effort to be more relevant in this community, Grace set some goals for the church. Those goals were to create a place for children in worship, and to revitalize Children’s Sunday School. As you can tell, we have done both well. With the addition of a Children’s Moment in worship, as many as 8-10 children have the opportunity each week to hear the Scripture message in a relevant in engaging way. In the same way, we have revitalized Children’s Sunday School, going from an average of 1 each week just over a year ago, to as many as 11 in recent months! It is truly amazing! I am so proud to the pastor of a church that looks to the community, sets goals to serve the community, and then invests in making those goals become a reality!
As Charge Conference approaches and we look back on all that has happened at Grace in the last year, it is also an appropriate time to be thinking ahead, about how Grace will continue to engage with the community around us. And we have been doing this. I have heard many of you throwing around ideas of ministries that might be attractive to the people living in the communities around us. I have heard you asking the question, “What are the needs of this community that our church can address?” This is great reflection!
Yet, as we prepare to move forward as the Body of Christ, I am feeling that such questions might come up empty, that we will continue in a state of perplexity for some time if we do not first answer the question, “How is God at work in our community?” Here is what I believe, if we can find the answers to this question, then we will know the needs of the community around us, and we will know how to engage those needs and be a relevant part of this community. But we have to begin with this question – if we cannot conceive of God already at work in this community in this time, then how can we be a part of that work?
God is at work here in this North Hixson community, and God wants us, the congregation of Grace UMC, to be a part of that work. I have committed myself to keeping my eyes open, to praying for God to open my eyes, and to journaling about who God is working in this time and place. I ask that in the coming weeks and months you will join me, and that together we can engage the work of God’s kingdom in the neighborhoods surrounding Grace!