We Are About Relationships
Every once in a while, I like to use the space in this newsletter (or in this blog, if you’re reading this on the website) to paint a picture of “one day in the life of Christ UMC.” I pick a day and take a snapshot of all the ministries going on in and through this congregation, and it helps portray who we are as a congregation and how we are being God’s people in the world. So, with that said, let me tell you about Saturday, March 10, 2012.
On Saturday morning I arrived at the church at 8:30 am to meet with the Stephen Ministry training class. Did you know that there are six people who are training to become new Stephen Ministers in our congregation? They have been here nearly every Saturday morning since mid-January, and they are learning skills in listening, confidentiality and caring in order to provide companionship to those who are hurting in our congregation and beyond.
As I walked into the building, I saw the church bus parked under the awning. It was loaded up with confirmands who were headed to Murfreesboro for a day with our bishop, Bishop Chamness. This confirmation class has been meeting twice a month in Sunday School, and they’ve been meeting one-on-one with their mentors since September. They’ve gone on “field trips” to experience other faith traditions, and they’ve participated in several ministries with the poor and marginalized in our city. They are learning about Scripture, about the history of the church, about the Christian faith and United Methodist beliefs, about mission and service, among many other things. They are disciples-in-the-making! Then again, aren’t we all?
When my training class with the Stephen Ministers was over, I headed down the hallway past the kitchen and saw the Prison Ministry Team meeting together. This team of dedicated folks meets regularly to plan, to evaluate and to support the various aspects of our ministry in the prison. They provide the behind-the-scenes support that allows all of us to live out Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25: “I was in prison and you visited me.”
As I arrived in the parking lot and was getting into my car, Paul Bonner pulled into the parking space next to me. He was just
arriving to prepare for the youth’s 30-hour Famine. If you were in worship on Sunday, you heard about the faithful group of youth who spent 30 hours at the church, going without food, without showers and without shoes. They wanted to raise money and awareness to fight world hunger, and as we learned on Sunday, they raised nearly $3,500!
Driving away from the church on Saturday afternoon, I marveled at the many and varied ministries that go on here every day. That one snapshot of ministry on Saturday morning revealed to me that we are living out our calling. Just think about it: We are about relationships with Christ (the confirmation class), with one another (Stephen Ministry) and with God’s hurting world (prison ministry and the 30-hour Famine). Of course, confirmation is also about relationships with one another and with the world. Stephen Ministry deepens one’s relationship with Christ, as does prison ministry. And the youth ministry includes relationships with one another and Christ. So, it’s all overlapping!
It’s hard to keep track of all the work God is doing in and through this congregation. And for that, I am deeply grateful.