Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Critical Connection

   How you start a thing depends a lot on how you want it to end.  Or, what direction you want it to go.  How you start is critical.  I have seen that again in these first days of our 30 Day Gospel Challenge.
   I have, for years, been very interested in how Mark's Gospel gets started.  It is different than the others - Matthew with a genealogy, wise men, an evil King and Luke with the angels, mothers and babies.  Mark, though, starts with John the Baptist preaching repentance to crowds who have traveled out into the wilderness seeking something significant.  No Christmas story here.  Instead, the story starts with crowds of tired, restless, men and women searching for something they have not yet found.  What are they looking for?  What would bring them out there, en masse?
   What brings any of us out of our comfort zone?   What moves us out from where we are?  I believe one powerful motivator is the need for connection.  I believe connection with others is the critical piece.  We all want to feel connected.  I believe those crowds going out to see John the Baptist wanted to be connected to something larger than themselves.  John's emergence was about the larger story of God's redemption of the world.
   I believe what we do every Sunday is like this.  I believe everyone of us gathers for worship wanting to find a connection with the larger story of God's redemption of the world.  I mean that.  I believe that is what Sundays are about at Epworth. 
   I also believe that guests who joins us are looking for the same thing: connection. 
   We introduced something new this past Sunday that is geared directly to this reality.  Connection Cards that replace pew pads are intended to be a more effective way of connecting our church with our own members and the guests who gather with us.  I know it is different - so was color television, once.  I also know it works, based on the experience of other United Methodist Churches that use them.  One of them wrote this:
"What a wonderful opportunity to connect people with other people, new ministries, service opportunities as well as learn what’s on people’s minds!  They provide a wonderful way to share prayer concerns of our congregation with our prayer chain.  We keep addresses, emails, phone numbers updated through this media....  By having our regular attendees continue to complete their cards each Sunday, it serves as an encouragement to guests to complete one.  Therefore, we have the names of our guests along with their contact information."
   I love this church.  I believe our future is as bright as ever.  And I believe it is brighter every time we welcome a guest through our doors, helping them connect with the amazing, redeeming God of the universe.
   Grace and Peace, Scott

No comments:

Post a Comment