Join us for worship at First Methodist!
Sunday – May 21st, 2017
8:45 AM | Classic Worship
10:00 AM | Classic Worship
in the Sanctuary at First Methodist
11:15 AM | Contemporary Worship
The Open Door at Buskirk-Chumley Theater
God Has Put Us Together
The other evening Sharon and I were walking a trail around Strahl Lake. We passed by several kids who were casting out into the lake. “Have you caught anything?” we asked. They said, “Nope.” They didn’t sound very hopeful.
Our lines are in the water
As many of you know, we are fishing right now for great people who will join our staff and lead the areas of children’s, youth, and college ministries. This is a big deal for us because First Methodist has developed a deep commitment to ministries for the next generation. We are trying to use every dollar wisely as we put together our staff model for these areas. And then, of course, finding the right kind of person is a challenge.
Times of transition in leadership can be a little scary. Even when we know people are moving on for good reasons – Pastor Stacee to lead a great church at High Street UMC and Alex Lamb to enjoy a season as a stay-at-home mom.
In some ways, I feel like one of those kids sitting on the edge of Strahl Lake with a fishing line in the water: waiting and wondering.
What just happened?
Teenagers and young adults really matter to me, so I invited parents to meet with me to talk about where we are headed with youth ministry at First Methodist. I wasn’t sure how the meeting would go since I knew we were trying to look ahead with unanswered questions.
We talked about leadership.
We talked about the kind of youth ministry God wants for our children and our community.
Parents told me they wanted us to hire the very best possible leader.
Parents told me they hoped our congregation would not step back from fully staffing the best possible youth ministry in Bloomington.
It was good.
And then the Spirit of God showed up in a big way.
Well put together
Without any prodding from me, parents in the room began to talk about how much their children mean to them and what our youth ministry could be. They began to talk about what could happen if parents and other loving adults would become more involved, offer their time, their faith and their service. They began to talk about how any youth director would need people like them…teams of people like them to drive cars to events, prepare food, and help lead small groups.
There was an energy that filled the room!
For awhile, the parents talked across the room with one another and I sat at one end of a table largely silent. (Really…)
There was this joy…this energy…and I realized again the wisdom of the God who put us together as a body.
God doesn’t just use charismatic or blessed servant leaders like a Moses, Mary Magdalene, Mother Teresa, John Wesley or Shane Claiborne, God also uses people working together. When different kinds of people, wired with different spiritual gifts and personalities and levels of faith, are woven together by God and formed around a common vision, great things happen.
Paul, in Romans 12, reminds us that God has put many parts together in the one body that is the church. Every part doesn’t have the same function, but one person has the gift of serving and another has the gift of encouragement and another has the gift of leadership. “In the same way,” he says in verse 5, “though there are many of us, we are one body in Christ, and individually we belong to each other.”
It’s really about God and us
Good leadership is important and the right person in the right position can make all the difference in the world. I’m excited by the fact that the second round of interviews is just ahead for our strong candidates from California to Pennsylvania.
However, as important as the right leader can be, great churches are more about how a group of people allows themselves to be used by God. God used two incredibly flawed men to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And, Jesus led a world-changing God movement by investing himself in a small band of ordinary people.
As I sat back and listened to the voices of the parents rise and fall, like some kind of Holy Spirit-inspired music, I smiled. I knew God was at work.
We’re going to be okay. Whoever we bring here to lead our youth ministries will be okay because of God…and the people in that room. We’re going to be okay because you are here, you love, and you know this matters!
Things to know…
- Join us Sunday as we step into the amazing, perplexing, mysterious story of the Israelites out in the wilderness, being shaped into a nation by God who loves enough to give us rules for living.
- We are thankful that the Reverend Teri Crouse is going to be joining our ministry staff beginning July 1st. Please keep her in your prayers and be ready to send her a card welcoming her to Bloomington. We’ll say more about her areas of responsibility when she arrives.
- On Monday the 22nd, Church leaders will be meeting with Dr. Doug Anderson, our Fruitful Congregations Journey (FCJ) coach. We will see where we are with FCJ, celebrate what has been accomplished, and look ahead. Doug meets with Staff at 2:30, Connections Team at 4:30, Staff Parish Relations at 5:30, and Church Council at 6:30 p.m. Your prayers for our leaders are a blessing to them!
This week we’re continuing our sermon series, THE STORY. If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here. If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.