When Jesus called his first disciples in Matthew 4, he told them to come and follow him. He also told them that he would make them fishers of people. He didn’t tell them that he had called them to do things on their own. He called them together to work with him because he knew how great the work would be.
I remember watching the movie “Field of Dreams” in which Ray was walking through his cornfields and heard a voice talking to him. For a while, we all think that what he heard was “If you build it, they will come.” But the voice was actually saying, “If you build it, he will come.” When Ray builds the baseball field in the middle of his cornfield, an entire team of baseball legends come to play ball on that field.
A baseball game cannot be played without teamwork. Even when you think a player is all alone in what he is doing, he’s not. A batter up at bat is not alone in his task. It may look like it while he is standing there, but if you look down to first base, you will see the coach standing there talking to him or giving him signs. Even a batter is not alone when he is at bat. No player on the baseball team is alone.
In church, we all have different positions that we play. We should be working together as a team. It isn’t up to the pastor to do all the work. In fact, the work of evangelism and inviting people to church is best done by the laity, not the pastors. If we all work together, we can build a great team.
In another part of the movie, Terrence Mann, played by James Earl Jones, makes a great speech as they are talking about people coming to the field. He says:
"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been Baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It’s been erased like a black board, rebuilt and erased again. But Baseball has marked the time. This field. This game. It’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
I challenge you to think of this in another way:
The one constant through all the years, church, has been God. The world has rolled by like an army of steam rollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But God has marked the time. This faith. This Bible. It’s a part of our past, church. It reminds us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh, people will come, church. People will most definitely come.
God is older than baseball and has been more constant than anything. The world tries to destroy us over and over again, but God, our savior Jesus Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit…those are constants that cannot be erased. If people get joy from coming to a baseball game, imagine the joy that awaits them when they come to be a part of God’s team.
Years ago, people had a dream. In 1964, they heard the voice of God…If you build it, they will come. They began Cherokee Village United Methodist Church. Eventually, they build this building today. They built it and all of us have come. Now as a part of God’s team, we prepare to follow the Call of Christ to fish for people. People will come, church! People will come!
I am currently reading a book called 4D Impact: Smash Barriers Like a Smart Church. At our first Administrative Council meeting of the year, I read several quotes from the book. It is worth everyone picking up a copy and reading. In the end of just the introduction, after explaining why the church is not doing as well as it had in the past, the author says,
“There is hope. We are living in the greatest evangelistic season of our lifetime. There has never been a better time for us to rise above the noise of our society and offer the world another option filled with grace and peace. We can become the disrupters, throwing a wrench into the current, seemingly endless cycle of retail, recreation, and retreat on any day or time of the week...In order to be this kind of church, your church must operate in multiple dimensions—a smart church, a 4D church. Just as a smart home, smart car, or smartphone is wired for success, your church can also be wired for success as you focus on four key areas: technology, hospitality, worship, and systems.”
I am excited about reading this book and all it has to offer. Just what the author states in the introduction is enough to get us to think. We have got to change, just as our times have changed. We don’t like the word change, but we change every single day. Every day is different from the next. We have changed in our homes over time as we have brought in color TVs, followed by flat screen TVs, followed by smart TVs, and TVs in 4K. We have gone from rotary dial phones, to touch tone, to cell phones, and now smart phones. We have computers connected to the internet that allow us to connect with the world in just a few seconds. If we have embraced the change in our own homes, why are we fearful to embrace change in the church?
We need to address the areas of technology, hospitality, worship, and systems. As we address these, I challenge us to begin now. One way to meet the challenge is to have someone step out of their comfort zone and begin to work with our youth again. We have quite a few youth, but no one who is willing to work with them. I cannot do it, but one of you can. And you won’t be alone.
Let’s begin again and continue to make a difference in our world in greater ways than we ever have before. Are you in it with me? If you are, then let us get going as we step out of our comfort zones and step into making a 4D impact on our community.
Grace and Peace...Pastor Angie
First things first… I want to thank those of you who sent me gifts and cards this Christmas season. They meant so much to me. I appreciate them more than words can even express. I continue to feel honored to be your pastor.
As you read this, I am on vacation. Probably right about now I am already settled into the Airbnb tiny house on a lake in Texas: just my husband, myself and my mom’s dog. Mom is spending a week with my brother. He said he couldn’t take the dog this time since he already has one dog in the house. We understand this perfectly. We decided to take Dusty with us instead of boarding him for two weeks. He really is a precious little half blind, fully deaf, thirteen-year-old cocker spaniel who follows me everyplace I go. I think he is going to enjoy his time on vacation with us.
Now onto other things…
Ecclesiastes 3 begins with the following: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Following that is a series of things that there is a season for in our lives. Each of those things require change. Change can be difficult. I have always been told that you should never change just for the sake of change. There must be a purpose behind the change that is being made. I believe that it is time for a season of change, not for the sake of change, but for us to be better stewards of the gifts that God has given to us.
Beginning in January, we will be changing something that may be difficult for some to understand, but it is a cost-effective change. Our current bulletins are quite costly. They are printed on ledger-sized paper, which happens to be the most expensive of papers we purchase. Then, on Sunday, most of the bulletins that have been used are left behind, even though they contain the prayer list and the happenings for the week. This is a huge waste of resources, so after consultation with leadership, we will be making a change.
We will still have an order of worship for each service, but it will be condensed. That will be on the front side of ½ of a legal-size piece of paper. On the back of each will be the current prayer list, as well as any changes in our calendar. We will print a monthly calendar of events plus more in-depth information on the back of the calendar. These will be available at the information shelf outside of the office.
During the coming months we will be looking at other ways in which we can be better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. We are not changing for the sake of change, but in order to better care for our resources and God’s world. May we all take care of God’s world in the best way we can, using God’s resources as best we can.