January 2023 Connection

“For Auld Lang Syne and Days to Come”

In May of 2013, the American adaptation of the television series, The Office, aired its series finale which was cleverly titled, “Finale.” During that heart-string-pulling episode, the character Andy Bernard, played by actor, Ed Helms, reflected on the many memories of his years at the Scranton, PA branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company (true fans would demand that I mention the fictional Sabre Electronics division to that title).  In that moment of sentimentality, Andy says: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” 

I was thinking about those words the other day as I was surrendering to the speed at which the 2023 new year seems to be approaching (though, it will have arrived by the time you read this).  Andy’s reflection actually got me thinking a bit about how we can approach the new year, specifically this time around the sun.  What if, instead of approaching this year as if it is just another year – a year of our lives, a year of our careers, a year of our relationships…perhaps a year of our ministries? – what if we approached it as THEE year of our ministry as church?  THEE year of our lives as family people, relational people, even working people.  In other words, what might happen if we approach 2023 as if it was already a year that we’d remember with excitement for all our lives to come? 

To do this, we have to first accept a few nuances:

  1. It is safe to say that 2023 will not be perfect! We need to anticipate that there will be moments of disappointment and dissatisfaction during the year.  There will also be moments of heartbreak and seemingly failure.  This is part of life and is unavoidable.  That said, how we approach those inevitable challenges makes all the difference!  If we go into January 1st expecting 2023 to be a fruitful and special year in our lives, then we can approach difficulties with a reminder within ourselves that God has already overcome anything that seems insurmountable.  The grief we’ll face, the loss we’ll experience – it doesn’t get to define us!  Perhaps we can reflect on these words from the Gospel of John,

“In the world you have distress.

But be encouraged! I have conquered the world.”

-John 16:33 (CEB)

  1. We have to put some energy into making it true! Like with planning our New Year’s resolutions, we sometimes forget that nothing magical happens as we hang our new calendars on the wall or as we watch the ball drop in New York City.  If I resolve to eat better, I have to actually change my grocery shopping habits.  The calendar won’t step in to start making me kale salads, much as I might want it to.  And yet, we mark time by dates and years, and so we can certainly enter 2023 with a desire to make it special.  But then we have to join forces with God to begin doing something to make 2023 special and memorable for all the right reasons.  IF this is the year that we’re going to see ministry at GBUMC flourish, then we all have to, not only get excited about that, but we have to start making it happen! 
  1. 2020-2022 weren’t all bad. Were they difficult years for a variety of reasons?  Absolutely!  Were there moments when we faced fear and uncertainty?  Absolutely!  Did we grow in areas during that time?  We sure did!  Did we learn as we experienced life in new ways?  Of course!  Like #1, we will face challenges in the year to come.  We should expect that!  But, we can’t forget that we’ve faced challenges in the years gone by. 


I look forward to all that we will be as a church in 2023.  I do believe it will be a year we will look back on with memories of growth, new beginnings, and fruitful ministries!  Do you believe it?  Will you help to make it so?  If so, take a seat at God’s ever-growing table with me and all others, and lets begin to feast!!!

For auld lang syne and for days to come,

Pastor Brian.

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December 2022 Connection

“A Nativity’s Purpose”

I have no doubt that, by the time you’re reading this, nativity scenes will be set out on front lawns, placed on fireplace mantles, and just about anywhere else Christmas decorations find themselves. In fact, even as I’m writing this article in mid-November, I’ve already spotted some nativity scenes while out and about
(we’ll leave the “it’s too soon for Christmas” argument for another time). We all know what we’ll find in a nativity scene: Mary, Joseph, some shepherds, an angel, 3 magi/kings/wisemen, perhaps some sheep and a camel, and of course Jesus.
Now, not to be a bah humbug, but it’s probably worth noting that we don’t find that exact nativity when we look in scripture. I know, I know…I’ve ruined Christmas! But, let’s be honest. When we look at the Gospels, we only find the Christmas story in two of them: Matthew and Luke. Luke tells us about the birth,
the angel’s announcement to the shepherds in the nearby countryside, and then…well, that’s about it. Matthew is kind enough to include the visit of the magi, but says nothing about shepherds. So, how did we arrive at our favorite nativity scenes at Christmas time? We simply bring the two Gospels – Matthew
and Luke – together and provide a few embellishments. Anything wrong with this? Not at all! Is it accurate? Well…not really.
You see, we still have the timeline to deal with. Luke’s shepherds are nearby, and while we don’t know how quickly they ran to the manger, we get the sense that it was pretty soon after Jesus was born. Jesus probably still had that newborn baby glow, and Mary and Joseph were still probably trying to figure out
how they might ever sleep again. Coincidently, probably not the best time for shepherds and sheep to show up, but hey! It could always be worse, right!? But, how about Matthew’s magi. Speculation is that they (not necessarily three of them, by the way) probably arrived a good bit after Jesus birth. Herod’s order to kill all children in the region 2 years old and younger (Matthew 2:16) suggests that Jesus may have been as old as a toddler by the time the magi greeted him and the holy family. Frankincense, gold and myrrh – every toddler’s favorite gifts!
Now, before you’re tempted to call for my retraction of this nativity heresy, or begin demanding the accuracy of every nativity scene you come across, let me offer this assurance. The accuracy and historicity of a nativity is not and has never been the main point of the Christmas decoration. I’d argue that the nativity scenes we find at Christmastime are intended to remind us of something far more important than historical accuracy and fact. They’re there to remind us that people showed up. People showed up to the manger, not just to see what had happened, but to prophecy God’s truth, once again, to the holy family. The magi, the shepherds –even the sheep, camels and others – showed up at the manger in order to proclaim to Mary and Joseph that their child was truly the incarnation of God. Now, certainly they already knew this, right!? Gabriel told Mary as much, and Joseph had a dream during which he was similarly informed. So why the messengers? I believe that they came with such a witness to the earthly
parents of Jesus because for the next 30 years or so, Mary and Joseph would be tasked with raising this
infant child to be the Son of God. They’d teach him how to pray, how to love, how to worship, and how to
care for neighbor. They’d model forgiveness for him, and remind him that he is loved. Could it be that
Mary and Joseph simply needed some encouragement, and so God sent these unlikely prophets to them
in order to confirm a divine truth? I suspect that’s the case!
This Advent, we prepare our hearts to journey toward the manger where we know what we’ll find! We’ve
rehearsed this journey for generations, and so we know what will be there. Though, don’t we still need
prophets of some sort to announce and witness to us what we’ve come across? To declare to us the full
divinity of the child born on Christmas? Don’t we need to, not only see Jesus, but hear the reminder that
he came to us as Emmanuel, God with us, that we might discover love, grace, and new life?
This Advent and Christmas, my prayer is that we might be that witness for one another and that we might
share that same confirmation with others who need to hear it. This Advent and Christmastime, consider
these questions: for whom can you be shepherd, magi, or angel? And who can be that for you?
Pastor Brian
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September 2022 Connection

An Obvious Miracle

When the apostles returned, they described for Jesus what they had done. Taking them with him, Jesus withdrew privately to a city called Bethsaida. When the crowds figured it out, they followed him. He welcomed them, spoke to them about God’s kingdom, and healed those who were sick…[Jesus said], “You give them something to eat.” But they said, “We have no more than five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all these people.” – Luke 9:10-11, 13 (CEB)
The story of the feeding of the 5,000 found throughout the Gospels is perhaps one of the most well known biblical stories. Throughout generations, this story is told and retold, often focusing on what I like to call “the miracle of the plenty.” Sermon after sermon has been given on the multiplication of the loaves and fishes; Jesus taking what seems like not nearly enough, and turning it into more than enough. Amazing!
But, in reading this version of the miracle story from Luke’s Gospel, I started to ask myself, “why didn’t Luke say more about what this would have been like, to miraculously see more food created?” Surely, someone must have noticed the sudden smorgasbord appear right before them, right?! Then it occurred to me: maybe Luke did! Just not in the details we were paying attention to. In Luke 9:10, Luke shares with us that Jesus retreated from the town where they had just been in ministry, to the town of Bethsaida. It’s not uncommon that, in reading scripture, we skip over names of people and towns we don’t know much about. Often, we’re just glad that we scored a passing grade on pronunciation. But, here, that town’s name is vitally important! In fact, the very mention of Bethsaida might be just the detail we need to know. Why? Because Bethsaida was a fishing village on the Sea of Galilee.
Why would that matter?
As they entered Bethsaida, Jesus instructs the disciples to feed the people who had discovered that Jesus came to town – all 5,000 men plus women and children. The disciples question Jesus, in effect saying: “With what food Jesus? All we have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.” You see the irony? The disciples are complaining that they don’t have enough bread and fish to feed the hungry people, all while standing in Bethsaida…a FISHING VILLAGE!
The disciples were looking only at what they had on hand, and paid no attention to the environment and community in which they found themselves. It’s easy to do that isn’t it? As a church, we often talk about our resources, and we think only of those who are a part of the church – resources of energy, of time, of giving, etc. When we do this, it’s all to easy to throw up our hands and repeat the age-old gripe of churches: “we just don’t have enough.” (It’s probably worth noting that your pastor has said this his fair share of times). What if, instead, we were to include the whole community and environment around us in that evaluation of resources? Would we discover partnerships in the community, eager to help improve the lives of those in our community?  Would we discover donors who are excited about the ministries we are sharing?  Would we stumble upon ministry opportunities, themselves, such as service to the students in our schools? 


If we limit ourselves to only what we already have, we’ll always be staring at not enough.  But, if we’re to open our eyes to what Jesus sees, suddenly the miracle of plenty and the multiplication isn’t that dumbfounding. 

Jesus found fish in a fishing village.

Peace, Pastor Brian

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August 2022 Connection

What’s Informing What?

“What’s informing what?” Throughout my 10 years of ministry, I have found that, time and time again, this question has been extremely helpful. The complete question, though, is a bit more nuanced: What’s informing what? Is my faith informing my politic, or is my politic informing my faith? You could also ask the question with a little bit of a different verbiage: Is my faith forming my politic, or is my politic forming my faith?
Now before you classify this as a political speech by a pastor, no matter your feelings or leanings, don’t run away. Give me a few minutes.
Politics has become a bad word in the church…and maybe just about everywhere. We’ve equated “politics” with trickery and self interest by those who compete (and even fight) for our votes throughout the year. The word evokes images of yard signs, bumper stickers, and painfully bad television endorsements and attack ads. I’m going to suggest that we refuse to call that “politics” any longer. Politics is something far different – and far better.
The true definition of politics was defined long before Washington D.C. rose from the marshy land it sits on. It comes from the Greek politica, meaning “affairs of the cities.” Maybe that origin doesn’t blow you away. It shouldn’t really be a surprise. Politics has always been, in its truest form, about caring for the day-in, day-out affairs of our communities, local, national, and even international. Politics is about how we care for our collective whole, rather than how we might selfishly care for ourselves. Politics is about how we move forward as a community – as a whole. It is not about the preservation of the status quo. Politics, in its truest form, is about how to grow as a society and as a community.
And so, from this moment on, let’s do our best to understand the word “politics” to be about our collective, less-biased efforts to grow and thrive in community.
Now that we have a better definition of “politics,” let’s return to our initial question: “What’s informing what?” Or “What’s forming what?” To explore this, let’s take a pretty obvious example. In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus teaches:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
If our politics forms our faith, we might look at this passage and make the following argument: There are so many in this world that seem to be out to get us. No matter where you look, it seems that there are enemies of the United States, and no matter how much I try to do the right thing, it seems that there is no escape. We need to do everything we can in our power to eliminate those who hate us. Certainly, Jesus understands that we need to protect ourselves. I can love my enemies and still do what I need to do to stop them, right?
This perspective doesn’t sound that unfamiliar, does it. And, quite frankly, it’s not hard to justify it (I’ve done it, myself). But, what if we let our faith form our politic? Let’s take a look at the same scripture: There are so many in this world that seem to be out to get us. No matter where you look, it seems that there are enemies of the United States, and no matter how much I try to do the right thing, it seems that there is no escape. What would it look like for me to love them, though? Have I been praying for them? Have I tried to understand where they’re coming from, even if I don’t agree with them? When I’m voting, I wonder which candidate is praying for those who are against them and their campaign? When I’m signing petitions, does the proposed law seem to extend love or withhold it?
Don’t get me wrong, this second approach is much more difficult, far more often. That’s because Jesus’ teachings, when we look closely, are quite challenging. (I’d encourage you to keep practicing this with other teachings of Jesus).
And so, my commitment to you as your pastor is this: our church’s affiliation will be to the gospel of Jesus Christ. I will continue to preach that same gospel and encourage you to let that same good news inform and form you in every way. Will we always agree? Of course not. And so in these spaces, let patience, love, and grace reign, and let the gospel inform and form our every relationship and interaction. Let the gospel inform and form our compassion and generosity. Let the gospel of Jesus Christ inform and form our desires for a more loving and just community and our individual and collective actions toward that end.
I just know that there’s a word for that…
That’s right… politics.
Love one another.
Pastor Brian
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July 2022 Connection

“Preparing the Way”

Beginning in 1958, my grandparents, Melvin and Jane West, began renting a summer cottage in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, a small town on Martha’s Vineyard island. As school teachers, they’d take a majority of the summer to travel out there with my dad and uncle in the car’s backseat. They’d spend days on the beach with friends, old and new. After two summers of doing this, my grandparents were
presented with the possibility of buying a cottage in the historical campground. With the help of some friends, they purchased a small cottage at 4 Forest Circle for $1,800. The cottage which is now nicknamed, “Reunion,” was first built in the 1860’s and maintains the essence of that initial design today. Nearly 100 years after this cottage began making memories for families before us, it has, for the last
62 years, been a place for retreat and reunion for the West family.
As you read this article, Stephanie, the kids and I are getting back from a 9 day visit to the Martha’s Vineyard cottage and a reunion with my dad’s side of our family. As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that my grandparents, their sons, their grandchildren, and now their great-grandchildren have all enjoyed this place, and will continue to for years – even generations.
I reflect on this, not to suffer you though someone else’s vacation stories (who doesn’t love that?), but to ask a meaningful question: are we always aware of the fact that our decisions and actions will have an impact on generations to come? That sounds more ominous that it is intended, but I suspect you get my point. Did my grandparents have any idea that their real estate purchase would become a special – even spiritual – place for our family? Did they know that we’d build memories with our kids there? Did they know that ashes of our beloved would become part of the ground on which the cottage sits? Did they know that other families would begin their own traditions on Martha’s Vineyard because of that
space? I suspect that they did know, and I suspect they’d be pleased to know it worked!
The decisions we make today, as well as the actions we take today as a church, are not only accomplishing ministry and mission in the here and now, but preparing the way for the church (the
Body of Christ) that will come after each of us. You see, ministry is rarely looking back at what was (or what we perceive to have been), but rather looking forward. At times, it requires us to take a leap of
faith. At other times, it requires us to change. If we’re willing to take steps to set the stage for the church to come, we are, in a very real way, preserving the faith.
Pastor Brian
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May 2022 Connection

(Get it?!)

In 2007, Arthur Allen, an oceanographer and member of the United States Coast Guard, put into practice an improved model of maritime search and rescue that became known as Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS). Say that three times fast! This was a result of nearly a decade of work studying the push and pull of bodies of water on everything from distressed swimmers and kayaks, to lost-at-sea ships and even aircraft. What became known as “Drift Analysis,” Arthur was able to bring great improvement to a process of search and rescue that, though already underway in its earliest form, would ultimately benefit immensely from the changes he proposed. To be fair, though, Arthur’s proposed changes were not welcomed by all, especially those who believed that the many years old processes of search and rescue were “good enough.”
Now, you might suspect that my purpose in sharing this story is to say that we can’t always do things the way we always have because new ways can be a great improvement, etc…etc. While there is a great amount of truth to that, my focus is rather on the boldness and innovation demonstrated by Arthur Allen, hardly a household name, to dedicate his life’s work to exploring better ways of finding those who were lost at sea. He believed that, while there was merit to the original practices of search and rescue, there might be better and more successful ways of saving the lost.
See where this is going?
We all get to be a version of Arthur Allen for Christ’s church, don’t we? Many of us remember times, not all that long ago, when it seemed as though you could just open the church doors and people would show up, connect, join the church, and spend lifetimes as part of the congregation. As time has passed, we’ve learned that it doesn’t really work like that, anymore. There are a variety of reasons for this, some of which are actually really good, but that’s a topic for another book – or volumes of them.
And so, now we have to look at the vast waters of the community in which we live and serve as a church and ask ourselves, how can we, like Arthur Allen, search the waters differently for the lost. With our journey of 1800 feet to the street a few weeks ago on Palm Sunday, we begin the work of building meaningful and lasting relationships with the Grand Blanc community. While it may not be search and rescue, so to speak, it is a process of boldly and creatively declaring that we can, in fact, build upon what we’ve done in the past to discover effective ways of gospel sharing, relationship building, and church growing.
Join me, won’t you, as we survey the waters around us, learn more about how the waters flow, and discover those adrift, so that we might serve, love, and demonstrate the grace of God to the world around us.
Pastor Brian
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April 2022 Connection

Drawing the Church Family Back Together

As spring is upon us, Easter is on the near horizon, and flowers are getting ready for planting and blooming, I am also growing more and more (cautiously) optimistic that the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us. With that optimism also comes an awareness that everyone is exploring their own ever-changing comfort levels with gatherings, masks, and so many more considerations we’ve never fathomed before.
That said, I want to offer this reminder: as a congregation and church family,  each and every one of our family members are loved and cared about. For those of you who are (or have been) ready to resume many of your familiar rhythms in the life of the church, we are glad that you are here and we give thanks for you! For those who are still exercising increased caution around your health in light of COVID-19, we are glad that you remain part of our family, and we give thanks for you! Though you’re perhaps not ready to be a part of in-person gatherings yet, we are hopeful that you’re finding time to worship with us virtually, stay connected, exercise your generosity through giving, and support the church through your prayers and willingness to serve as a follower of Christ in meaningful, albeit different ways. Please know that when you are ready to return, we are excitedly waiting for you and saving space for you.
Finally, a challenge throughout this pandemic has been that each one of us have, to at least some extent, lost some of the rhythm of our routines – the practices and interactions that make life click. It’s entirely understandable if the routines of worship and discipleship have faded for some – certainly not intentionally, but simply by happenstance. If this is the case for you or someone you know, please know that you are loved, we are excited for your return, and a space is saved for you, always.
Easter is about discovering resurrection from the tombs of life – and we’ve experienced a lot of those lately. As we draw this family called GBUMC back together, all in time, we are also drawing our circle wider, seeking to welcome, include, and celebrate God’s amazing grace with new faces, as well as familiar faces. Perhaps you know of someone in your life who just might find themselves at home here at GBUMC – or more importantly, might find themselves at home in God’s love. My challenge to you is to take a chance and invite them for worship, if not for Easter Sunday, any Sunday! 
As spring is upon us, Easter is on the near horizon, and flowers are getting ready for planting and blooming, we are excited to be the church with you, today, tomorrow, and for years ahead!
Pastor Brian
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February 2022 Connection

Nervous While Preaching

While I was in seminary, I took a number of classes in homiletics, which focuses on the practice and ministry of preaching. One of my instructors was a pastor and preacher I greatly admire, Rev. Patrick Clayborn, who now pastors at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland – the first AME congregation, started by Richard Allen in 1785. I share that, not to lift myself up, but rather to give you a sense of the caliber of preacher Rev. Clayborn is. To say the least, I hung on his every word and instruction. I’ll never forget one evening’s class when he told us, “If you’re not nervous when you preach, then you’re not fully aware of what it is you’re doing.”
I’ve remembered this for years now, and I think about it regularly. His point was not to say that pastors ought to be trembling in their robes every time they preach, but rather that preaching is more than just giving a speech. It’s about sharing a reflection on the scriptures, and trusting – believing – that, if we are open to it, God will desire to speak through us. It’s also not to say that every word of every sermon
is gold! But at times, God can be revealed through the words of a prayerful and thoughtful sermon.
You see, if a preacher is aware of what they’re doing, nerves must enter into the equation. And so, when people ask if I’m nervous when I preach, my answer is yes. After years of doing it, the nerves don’t come out in shaking hands, necessarily, but rather in a focus on speaking more than just what’s on my mind,
but also what’s on my heart.
All of that said, my purpose of this article is to say “thank you!” When I started preaching on a weekly basis about 10 years ago, I quickly learned that it was something that I loved to do, and an aspect of my ministry in which I wanted to grow. I have fun when I preach! I enjoy laughing when I preach. I try to be
vulnerable when I preach. My hope is always to connect with others when I preach. But, ultimately, I pray that I am reflecting the love, grace, forgiveness, and good news of Christ.
So, now for the thanksgiving.
One particular gift of this congregation that I have been astounded by is your willingness to provide encouraging feedback to this preacher. I have lost count of the phone calls, emails, letters, and cards that I’ve received from so many of you remarking on one sermon or another. I also find it particularly touching when you share with me how a sermon connected with you. Again, none of this is to say that
I think every sermon I give is worthy of awards, let alone mention, but I hope that at least a few of them hit home.
I am forever grateful for your encouragement, for your reminders that my preaching matters in your lives and in the life of this church. I am thankful that I continue to have opportunities to learn new approaches to preaching and scripture interpretation, and I look forward to doing all of that along with you!
Nervous while preaching,
Pastor Brian
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November 2021 Connection

Canned Thanksgiving

If you’ve sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner before, you’ve probably been exposed to the activity of going around the table to name something for which you are thankful. As a kid, we’d do this with our little family of four, along with any immediate relatives who happened to travel in that year. As the youngest in the family, it was always up to me to go first. I’m not sure if this was a privilege extended to me as if I’d won some form for family lottery that I wasn’t aware of, or if it was just everyone else’s way of making sure that they had a few extra seconds to come up with something that they were (1) willing to share out loud, and (2) would make them look extra thankful! But there I was with not one moment to prepare: “Brian, what are you thankful for?”
I don’t recall what my answers were, but I suspect it was probably something as profound as “family” or “my friends.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that those topics of gratitude are any less deserving of being named, but they felt so canned! It’s like asking a kid what they’re favorite part of school is and they answer, “recess!” It’s true, I’m sure, but we were looking for something a bit more…original.
And so, I’d blurt out my answer, “family,” only to be outdone by the next answer that recalled the memorable family trip from earlier that summer! Constantly being outdone in my gratitude, I was determined one day to have a big family so that I could be the last one to express my thanksgiving at the Thanksgiving table and bring the masses to tears with my thoughtful response!
Do you see the twist coming?
Now, as the adult and parent, I am oldest in our household (by 3 months, mind you). It’s MY turn to look on as others nervously name their thanksgiving, all the while knowing that I’d be the last to go with the most touching, creative answer! I look around the table as our kids, one by one, name what they’re thankful for, and then, finally, it’s my turn. My answer: “Family.”
After 30 years of waiting for the opportunity to come up with a blow-‘em-out-of-the-water answer, and I come up with the same canned answer that I did when I was young enough to still need an apron to eat a decidedly “messy” dinner. What gives!?
What I think happened was this: the answer of “family” or “friends” – or any answer that might feel canned – was never really just a rote answer, but was instead an answer I didn’t fully understand until I grew older. “Family” was and is a perfectly good answer to the question, what are you thankful for? I just didn’t know it yet.
This November, or whenever you’re able to join others for a Thanksgiving dinner, remember that gratitude is not about outdoing one another in our thanksgiving, but seeing the value and meaning in the things that might otherwise go unnoticed.
What are you thankful for?
~Pastor Brian
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September 2021 Connection

If you remember back to the August Connection, reading part 2 of 3 of our story about the fictional “Cheer Team,” you’ll remember that we left our TBall parents, Courtney and Dave having a night’s-end conversation about the church-sent cheerleaders who had a pretty great mission: make sure every
kid had someone cheering them on! You might also remember that, thus far in our example of a different kind of evangelism, no pamphlets have been given, no bullhorns made an appearance, and the book of Habakkuk remains unquoted! This must be a different kind of evangelism! Well, let’s see what
happens next!

Checking In On Our Family:

A couple more games have been played since we listened in on Dave and Courtney’s conversation about the church’s Cheer Team, and you better believe, that Cheer Team was present for each one of those games. Dave, sitting in the stands for each of the games, got to know the cheering churchgoer better and better. Finally, during the last game of the season, one of the Cheer Team members who has come to know Dave better and better offers these daring and bold words of evangelism. “Dave it was really
great to meet you! You have a great family! I wanted to let you know that if you ever want to come by our church on a Sunday, we’ve always got room in our row, and we’d be happy to sit with you guys!”
Okay, well, those words weren’t too bold, I suppose. But, consider how it would have felt like to make that invitation without ever having met, talked to, or learned about Dave. Awkward, right?! When we take time to build relationships with folks, invitations to church become much easier, and are actually received much better. Think about what keeps you a part of GBUMC. I’d be willing to bet that relationships, of some form, have something to do with it, right?

Fast Forward A Few Weeks…

It’s been a few weeks since the baseball game ended. Our Cheer Team member hasn’t seen Dave, Courtney and their son, Michael, since the T-Ball season ended, but he thinks about them from time to time and remembers them in his prayers, at least. But, one Sunday, Dave, Courtney and Michael walk into the sanctuary about 5 minutes before the start of the service. They take a seat at the back of the sanctuary in the first empty pew. Without hesitation, our Cheer Team member quietly walks up to them and asks if he could join them (did you catch that…he met the visitors where they were – in their comfort zone).

What Then:

Our mission as a church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world . Sometimes that can feel like an insurmountable challenge. Is that something I can even do? The answer is yes, and sometimes it’s as easy as going and sitting in the bleachers in order to make sure kids have someone cheering. It’s as simple as getting to know someone in order that a relationship can form and a sincere invitation can be made. It’s through evangelism – no longer a scary word, I hope – that we
can grow God’s kingdom, and make the world a little better place.
~ Pastor Brian
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