Pastor Andy's Corner: Summer Reflection
With the arrival of Summer many of us are taking vacations or finding ways to unwind and beat the summer heat, and it is always important to find opportunities to rest and reflect. The sabbath or day of rest was created for that purpose, God knew that we, not him, need periods of rest and reflection when he deemed the seventh day of every week as such. It is also important for us as a congregation to take the time to periodically rest and reflect on where we have been and where God is taking us next.
The past year has been a challenge, which I know is not news to any of you, but despite all the difficulties we as a congregation have not only survived but thrived. We found new ways to stay in touch with each other and worship together, in fact we were pioneers in our area with our early adoption of at-home worship services, videos, and radio transmitting capability which provided a model for other congregations in our area and beyond. We discovered how beautiful (and sometimes challenging) it can be to worship directly in God’s creation outside, reminding ourselves that a church is the people and not the building. Additionally because of the good stewardship of our Board and members, along with the continued love and generosity of our congregation we did not encounter any of the financial difficulties other congregations have felt, all while increasing our generosity and giving back more to our community through the food pantry and other ministries. For these things and more, give thanks to God and each other for sustaining us in these times.
That is where we have been, but what about where we are and where God may take us next? A month or two ago many of you participated in an online survey which included a variety of topics pertaining to the church, thank you. There were several things that were revealed by the survey, one of which is an unclear understanding of what it means to be a “member” of Holly Grove Christian Church. While as Disciples of Christ we welcome all to the communion table and do not require membership or public confession to partake, there are many roles and acts of worship/service that do require membership according to our church constitution. If you feel like you would like to have a say in how the church operates, what missions and ministries we pursue, or you feel Gods call to use your unique talents and experiences in our small part of the body of Christ then I strongly urge you to become a member. It really is easy and painless to formally join our family, and we really would love to have you. If you are ready to make that step, please reach out to Bob, Cindy, or myself.
Another revelation of the survey is the deep desire to expand the breadth and depth of the spiritual experience and opportunities at our church. Things such as additional group studies, family events, youth groups and youth activities, additional worship services, fitness and wellness activities, and mission work in the community and beyond. All of these are great things, things that I think would do wonders to spread God’s limitless love in the community and perhaps even revive that spark within each of us. Yet, good ideas require good people to step forward and help make them good programs and we need your help as members make these dreams a reality. Is there some idea or need you are passionate about? Is God calling you to do something more? Can you spare a little time and energy for the greater good? Together, with God, there is so much potential for our little church family to do great things in his service, look what God has done for us in the last few years and then imagine with me what he could do with all of us together in his service! Some of the things identified in the survey you will find in the announcements and calendar in this very newsletter, and I pray that many more will be in the next. I write these things not to shame anyone into doing more, but rather to encourage everyone (myself most of all) to keep pushing forward in spirit and body always for Christ and my neighbors.
Love to you all,