Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column

September 2014: "The Church's Job Description"

Dear Church, As year three of my amazing time here with all of you goes into the books and begins to turn into year four, I have found myself reflecting on what it has meant to be a pastor compared to, well, what I thought it would be. And those two things have most certainly not been the same.

Yep, I've gotten to teach Bible study classes and lead worship and preach sermons and do all of the things that I was trained to do in seminary (well, except maybe to wax extensively on the hagiography of particularly saintly rutabagas from the patristic history might have been a slog for me...), but I also had to grow my skillset in ways I never anticipated, like in working with all of you to recover our building from floods and vandalism or in becoming an expert on the Gothic revival architecture that characterizes our beautiful sanctuary!

And I think that is fairly reminiscent of the church's role as well. It used to be that the church's role in life was pretty standard: we baptized you, taught you in Sunday School and worship, provided fellowship and mission opportunities, married you when you fell in love, and buried you when you died. But now, churches are also acting as safety nets, major event venues, schools, and all sorts of things that our facilities (or even our memberships) maybe weren't anticipating.

But that's okay.

While we come to church on Sundays to feel a sense of safety and security in being in God's house, we also need to be coming to church to be challenged and nudged and gently led outside of our wheelhouses and our comfort zones and into something a bit deeper, a bit tougher, a bit, dare I say it, scarier, if we are to find God in new ways in our lives and faith.

So it isn't really enough to say that the church has an eternal job description...I mean, we do, but it is simply the baseline of what people can and should expect of us, and beyond that, it is up to us to discern our calling and identity as a faith family situated in the community we are in to do the most and best good possible in the name of Him who is the Greatest good of all.

As we begin year four together, let's ask ourselves how God may be calling us to new things and ministries here at FCC...and how we can heed that divine calling!

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Eric

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