One of the many steps involved in calling a pastor, is completing a Ministry Site Profile (MSP). The MSP is about the ministry of the congregation and the context in which that ministry takes place. There are questions that need to be answered by members of the congregation regarding what types of ministry would seem to be the most important for the congregation as a whole to be involved in with the new pastor. The five member MSP Task Force will be announcing in the coming weeks the Sundays on which surveys will be available for members of the congregation to complete to help provide data in the MSP. Watch for announcements in the bulletin.
These surveys will ask for your impressions about the congregation and will also be asking what abilities a pastor needs to have to serve the needs of the congregation. The idea is for you to think beyond your individual perspective and preferences to think what would help the ministry of the whole congregation. Additionally, we need to realize that the society around us has changed and therefore what was needed may no longer work well. In the 1950s congregations would form by building a building. Now it takes the individual evangelism of the members inviting persons to participate in some aspect of the ministry of the congregation.
At Barnyard Roundup, kids discover that Jesus, their Savior, knows them by name, rounds them up, and brings them home. Kids learn that Jesus is with us always and forever– no matter what! Come, join in the fun, with crafts, games and snacks all designed to get to know Jesus better! When: June 6-10, 2016 Time: 9:00—Noon—ZFH Ages: PreK (must be 4 by Sept. 2016 and potty trained) through 5th grade. The 6th-12th graders will stay at church to lend a helping hand (These are the grades that your child completed for this school year.) At the end of the week on Friday, June 10th, there will be a Hot Dog Supper and Closing program. The Hot Dog Supper begins at 6 p.m. followed by the Closing Program at 7 p.m. We hope to see you there.
The days of summer vacation will soon be here, but some are already on their summer break, at least local students are on summer break. Some youth from Zion are going to participate in June in the Southeastern Synod’s annual Affirm event which should be fun and inspiring. Some families will take summer vacation trips that hopefully will be fun and relaxing. Summertime is a change of pace for some people and for others their routine continues on unchanged or only changed slightly.
For the congregation there will be some slight changes and there will be some significant temporary changes as in the case of providing a Vacation Bible School program for the first full week in June. The ministry of a congregation may change at times from the hectic-ness (and sometimes hectic mess) of Holy Week to a more relaxed schedule in the summertime (but only after VBS is accomplished). Yet there is always ministry to do and there is always the need for disciples supporting the ministries of the congregation with their presence, their abilities, their prayers, and their financial resources. There is no break from maintaining the facilities of a congregation even when members are absent from worship, whether it is winter or summer or at any time of year. So remember that even when you are away from worship because of vacation, work, illness, or any other reason, your congregation needs your continued financial support.
Living is a serious matter and so is the need for some humor to help bring some joy to our living. Comic strips bring humor and also sometimes carry a point. The April 17, 2016 edition of the Savannah Morning News contained Sunday comics and on page 4G in the upper right corner was the man Brutus walking and meeting the little neighbor girl Hurricane. She asks where he is going and he says to the public library and invites her to come along. She says yes and then explains why she loves to go to the library by saying “They have computers you can use. They have concerts and show movies ..and they have tons of DVDs and CDs you can borrow.”
Brutus responds, “Yes, they do. Times certainly have changed! Would you believe when I was your age, libraries didn’t offer any of those things!” The little girl’s response was “Really? Then what did you go to the library for?” You could supply the answer to the young girl’s question, but what if Brutus was going to church? Times certainly have changed for libraries and also for congregations.
Today libraries continue to share knowledge not just through books but also through the use of computers and DVDs and get people into the building through movies and other events. Today congregations still have the task of increasing the spiritual awareness of individuals who come through their doors, but times have changed and how we share a spiritual awareness is also changing. Individual Christians need to be able explain to others why there still is meaning and purpose in entering through the doors of a church to worship within the community of faith. Think about and be prepared to answer the question ”Why do you go to worship?”
The Easter season of the church year has arrived early this year with Easter Sunday occurring and there are still four more days before April even begins. The festival nature of Easter Sunday is a joyous celebration giving us hope for eternal life with God coincidentally fostered in the Northern Hemisphere by the budding and blooming of spring. Sometimes Christians get so focused on the promise of heaven for them as an individual that they are of little help on earth. Christian faith is more than receiving through faith in God’s grace eternal salvation. Christian disciples are given new life here on earth to make a difference in the world around them. It is like those dormant plants that when spring arrives they are the same plants, but they do SHOW a difference as spring arrives and they grow during the year. Consider the words of 2 Corinthians 5:17 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything has become new!” Let us celebrate the hope of the resurrection to eternal life with God as we work together to share the message of the Good News of God’s love for this world* and the difference it makes in our daily living.
Opportunity is about to knock. Will you consider responding to the knock? Specifically to the opportunity to invite people to Easter Sunday because it is seen as a “special Sunday.” A Sunday that people find is easier to come to even though the resurrection of Christ is celebrated on all the other Sundays during the year. Who do you know that does not participate in the ministry of another congregation? If you do not know, this is an opportunity to give an invitation and find out if they indicate they participate in a congregation. As part of the invitation offer to give them a ride or to meet them outside the church building at a certain time. Invitations can be extended to neighbors, relatives, coworkers, and people who belong to another group that you both participate in such as a scout group. Do consider in the coming weeks who you will invite to Easter Sunday worship, March 27th.
The congregation’s 2016 Annual meeting was held on January 10th with reports being received and ballots cast and counted. A whole year of ministry by a congregation cannot be represented by written reports as those pages reflect the organizational structure of the congregation.
Congregations are actually people. People with lives that at times are difficult and at other times joyous, sometimes boring and sometimes exciting, and most times normal, with everyday tasks being accomplished. Yet in those ordinary days we live as Christians by God’s Grace and witness through our daily living that being a Christian is more than going to “Church” on Sunday.
Here is an adaptation of a posting on the Facebook page of “imsoblesseddaily” that is offered as food for your thoughts:
A congregation is not a building, though a building can be used by a congregation.
A congregation is not about Sunday, but a congregation should not forsake meeting together.
A congregation is not about one person or personality though every congregation should be pastored.
A congregation is not about size or growth, but every congregation is called to make disciples.
So do not think of a congregation as an address or location, rather think of a congregation as mobile and on the move.
Do not think of a congregation as something planted or built, but rather think of a congregation as something deployed.
Do not think of this congregation as where you spend one hour a week but what you do every day of the week.
A congregation is the hands and feet of Jesus the Christ. Feet go and hands do. You are Zion Lutheran congregation.
Now go and be the church where you live and work.
Zion Lutheran has a mission statement that concentrates those many words into a single sentence, “We gather to worship, grow in faith, and go to share the good news of God’s Grace.” Zion Lutheran is about serving through our ordinary lives.
Pastor Dave Home: 912-232-6215 Cell: 912-596-55466