THE CONNECTION

 

June 2022 Connection

“Strive for the A”

A few years ago, I initiated a church program called “Strive for the A.” It was a program that challenged people to strive toward a 90% or higher worship attendance during the year. You’ll remember, a 90% or higher was an “A” on a report card, right? That said, no one at the church was keeping official record or sending out report cards, nor was the point to drudge up repressed anxious memories of grade school marking periods, or anything like that. It was simply to encourage regular worship attendance. And so, let me issue the same challenge for the remainder of 2022. Strive for the A!
 
Some Things to Know:
  • Life happens to each one of us! And you know what I mean by “life.” And so, don’t put an unrealistic expectation on yourself to have perfect attendance. Would it be nice? Sure! Is it practical? Probably not. And so, don’t think that a church usher will show up on your porch if you miss a Sunday or anything like that. This is an encouragement – not a law.
  • Don’t forget that you can still worship with us online. Now, I know that worshiping online just isn’t the same thing as being in-person. Of course it’s not! But it still counts! But gone are the days of having to feel fully disengaged from the church on Sundays when we’re sick or out of town. Remember that you can always worship with us live at 9am on Sundays on our YouTube channel, or throughout the week, any time after that!
  • Even though you don’t have to actually track your worship attendance (in-person or online), I would encourage you to do so anyway. Whether it’s on the notes app on your phone, on a calendar, or even just a piece of paper or notebook, tracking it can help you realize the difference it makes in your life.
 
Why Should I Strive for the A? (you may or may not be asking that question, but just go with me…)
  • First and foremost, community (or congregational) worship is an extremely important part of who we are as Christians and what we do. It is about celebrating our God who loves us more than we can ever fully understand. Worship isn’t something we should feel we have to do. Rather, the goal is that we come to experience worship as something we want to do. That said, building a routine around worship can be very helpful. Some days will require a bit more self-motivation than others, but I’ve never regretted going to worship.
  • Worship is kind of like charging your phone at the end of the day. Sunday worship helps us feel recharged with God’s Spirit. Worship helps us to reconnect with God – plug-in, if you will. When you make worship a regular part of your weekly routine, you’ll start to notice, even more, when you miss a Sunday. It’s much like forgetting to charge your phone at night. The week just starts off…well, off!
  • I (Pastor Brian) will be sad if you don’t strive for the A. Okay, I won’t be sad, per se, but I really do hope that you will make worship a regular part of your and your family’s weekly life. My job – my goal – is to help lead people on their faith journey with Christ. Worship is one of the ways that I can do that, and so I take worship very seriously. In planning worship, I typically plan about 6-12 months in advance, not so that I can brag about that, but so that I can create a big picture blueprint, if you will, for how we’re going to grow in our discipleship through worship. Each Sunday is carefully planned with a theme that builds on top of previous weeks, and lays the foundation for weeks and months to come. Now, let me be clear: don’t come for me! Come and worship because it is through worship that we come closer to God in Christ, and discover God’s call on our lives to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.
And so, will you join me as, together, we strive for the A?
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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May 2022 Connection

Church-and-Rescue
(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.
 
Peace,
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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March 2022 Connection

“Care Is Christian”

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.
“Serenity Prayer” by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
 
As I have shared openly before, I am grateful for the availability of mental health care, counseling, and psychotherapy (a technical word for talk therapy with a mental health provider) in my life and for the way it helps me to not only treat and control my depression and anxiety, but also for the ways that it can help me make the enormity of life and all of its chaos a bit more manageable. I sincerely believe that destigmatizing mental health and the care and treatment of it is one of the most important things we can do to care for the whole person.
 
And so, I say once again, if you are ever feeling as though it would be helpful to talk to someone about your mental health, there are a number of starting points. The first is that you can talk with your primary care provider (the doctor you go to most). They can help to point you in helpful directions for care that will best fit your needs. Also, it is not uncommon for our physical and mental health to overlap considerably. A second starting point is with me, your pastor. While I can offer pastoral care and limited counseling, I can also provide helpful referrals to mental health professionals who can be of considerable help.
 
As I share this, I am wanting to also share an experience that I had in my own counseling session just weeks ago. While talking with my therapist, I was describing how I responded, emotionally, to the experience of our family all having COVID-19. I happened to mention that I fought the temptation to react with frustration or exasperation, choosing instead to focus on naming what I could control verses what I could not control. For instance, I could not control that we were all sick at the same time. What I could control was my decisions to rest rather than work when time (and naps) allowed.
 
During this conversation, my therapist, Paul, reminded me of the serenity prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr and its reminder that there are things we can change, and things we can’t, and that the things we can’t change can actually teach us something about ourselves and perhaps even our faith. And so, he asked the question: “What did you learn from having COVID-19, and will you share it with anyone?”
 
And so, my answer is this: I did learn something from the experience of having had COVID-19, and that is that life is fragile. And I don’t mean that in a doom and gloom sense. Instead, I mean that we are not invincible people who never need care, compassion and love. In a world that so often tells us to pull ourselves up, jump back on our feet and to get back to work, we need to be kinder to ourselves. We need to be kinder to one another. There is no weakness to be found in seeking help, and there is no weakness in naming that we have our limits.
 
Brothers and sisters, in this season of Lent when we turn our attention to our common humanity, let us reflect on the reality that we are all in need of God’s grace, we are all in need of one another’s kindness, and to care for ourselves as well as others is Christian!
 
Love for you,
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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January 2022 Connection

“Tomorrow”

Welcome to one of my shorter Connection newsletter articles. It’s not because I’ve grown tired of writing (it’s rare that I’m at a loss for words). Instead, I’m sharing with you a thought that will help us kick off the new year. It’s in the form of a question: “What do you hope that our church can be in the years to come?” As you consider that question, and formulate your own answer, let me offer two reminders: 
 
First, to authentically be the church, we cannot aim to be who we once were. Our God is one of transformation, a God who continues to call us into tomorrow without looking back. This doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from our past, but to desire to be only who we once were fails to see that we are the church in a new time with new needs and with new possibilities. 
 
Secondly, you are absolutely part of our tomorrow. Whether you’ve been in leadership positions for years, or have just begun a life with this church family, you are part of what God is doing in this church today as
we are led into tomorrow. The possibility of realizing your hope for our church in the years to come is dependent upon who you are ready to be for the church. God is calling each one of us – no exceptions – to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world. For the church, today, to be the church tomorrow requires that we respond to God’s call in our lives with a resounding and energized “yes!” 
 
Will you join me in visioning and actualizing what we all hope this church can and will be for our community and world? Will you boldly step toward the potential of tomorrow’s new day without holding onto dreams of what used to be? Will you join me in a daily renewal of trust in God’s leading, calling, and creating?
 
What do you hope our church can be in the years to come?
 
Peace,
Pastor Brian
 
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December 2021 Connection

Already?

Is it possible that it is already December? Is it possible that Christmas is only 20 some days away? It can’t already be here, can it; the trees, the carols, the gifts, the dinners, the stillness? Can it already be Christmastime?!
 
Advent is a time of waiting, yes. But, more specifically, it’s a time of already-but -not-yet. We discover throughout the Bible, particularly in the New Testaments, reminders that Jesus’ presence in the world was the revelation of God’s kingdom. For instance, this familiar passage can serve as a good reminder:
“Whenever you enter a city and its people welcome you, eat what they set
before you. Heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘God’s kingdom
has come upon you.” -Luke 10:8-9 (CEB)
This is what is meant by “already.” God’s kingdom, for a brief time came and dwelt among us. God took on human flesh and it was through Christ Jesus that we discover that divine love in a very real and tangible way. We call it the gospel – the “good news.” This is what we celebrate at Christmastime. We celebrate God’s revelation to us through the baby Jesus who would grow up, teach, preach, heal, and bring forgiveness and grace to all of God’s creation. We sing a familiar hymn, uttering the question, “Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you’re holding is the Great I Am?” This is the already-ness of it all.
 
And still, not yet. Christmas is all about the already – God’s Kingdom realized in Jesus Christ. But Advent, the season of waiting that leads us toward Christmastime is about that Kingdom of God that is not yet fully realized.
Think of it a bit like a preview at the beginning of a movie. We’d never watch the preview and make the assumption that we’ve seen the entire movie. There is no way that the totality of a 2 hour movie could be completely relayed to an audience in 2 minutes. It’s not that we’re not watching parts of the movie, but there is still far more to realize, understand, and discover when we watch the full length version of the movie. The already-ness of Christmas is like the preview. We see Christ revealed to us in Jesus. We experience his love and grace in a way that helps us to better know the fullness of God, and yet the kingdom of God is not yet fully realized, actualized, or brought into being. This is what we are seeking in the time beyond Christmas.
 
Let’s look at it from one more angle. For Christians, the church year begins with Advent. This year, that began on November 28th and continues until Christmas Day. This is the not-yet time. This is a time of waiting in which we acknowledge that we are in need of God’s Kingdom. On Christmas Day, that gracious gift of God’s Kingdom is celebrated in the form of a child born in Bethlehem. The rest of the Christian year, we remember the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of God’s kingdom come. We celebrate God’s continued presence through the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, giving thanks that God still remains with us. And beyond that, we follow God’s leading through the Spirit to move toward the full realization of God’s kingdom come! We do this by sharing God’s grace and love in the world – a grace and love made evident through Christ, and evidenced through the grace we embody and the good we contribute to the world.
 
Advent is a time of already-but-not-yet. It is a time when we look forward to what we know can be. We celebrate the glimpse of it that will be revealed in Jesus Christ, and we pray for the day when we look around and see that God’s kingdom is now. So be it!
 
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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October 2021 Connection

Does Prayer Work?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” –  Philippians 4:6
 
Odds are good that you’ve heard my theology of prayer before, but in case you haven’t, I’ll give you the CliffsNotes version of it: Sometimes, we think about prayer as God’s newspaper. We let God know what is going on in our lives and in the world, and God chooses how to respond to the things we’ve made God aware of. The problem with this way of thinking about prayer is that it forgets that God is all knowing. In other words, God already knows the things we raise up in prayer long before we ever pray the words or think the thoughts. So, are we just wasting our breath with prayer? No! We’re not wasting our time or our breath. Rather, I believe that God uses prayer as a time for us to accomplish two things: (1) First, we
become more acutely aware of the needs of our neighbors and our world. Prayer forces us to come face to face with the celebrations and concerns of those around us. (2) Secondly, we become more intimately aware of what matters most to God, how God is responding in our world, and how God is (not “might be”) calling us to be God’s hands and feet in the world, responding to needs.
 
With that understanding of prayer, let’s ask the question again, “Does prayer work?” Our good Christian instincts might have us shouting, “YES!” but let’s think through why it is. In Philippians, we are encouraged to lift every petition, thanksgiving and request to God. We are to do this in all situations, even those that might cause us anxiety.
 
As I’m writing this, I’m only 22 hours removed from praying inside an ambulance as our one year old daughter, Jane, was being taken to the hospital following a 5 minute seizure during which this scared-half-to-death dad held her in my arms just hoping and praying that her breathing would continue. As we were rushed to the ER, I remember looking out the backdoor window, trying to determine how far away
we were, only able to pray the deep guttural prayers – the kind for which no words can be found. I firmly believe God heard my prayer, even though I wasn’t sure what I was praying, exactly. As I stood by her gurney in the ER bay, surrounded by doctors and nurses, I texted a quick prayer request to some clergy friends of mine who I was supposed to be with on retreat. For that whole afternoon, I received messages that they were praying for us. With only Stephanie, Jane, and I in the ER room waiting for test results, we felt an acute awareness that we weren’t alone in that moment. Not only was God’s Spirit present with us, but so were the spirits of all who were praying. As our prayer request made its way to the church prayer
chain, we immediately began feeling as though we were surrounded by our church family.
 
So, how did the wordless prayers of a frightened dad work? Or the prayers of a near breathless mom hurrying from her office to the ER? Or the prayers of friends and church families? How did they work? I believe that it was those prayers that helped to remind Stephanie and I that we weren’t alone in a scary moment. It was those prayers that allowed God to dispatch so many words of love, support, care, and concern from so many who love us. It was those prayers that bolstered the energy of doctors, nurses, techs, EMTs, and hospital staff, and reminded them of the sacred task of life and compassion to which they, too, are called. It was those prayers that made space for the hand of God to be laid upon a little girl who was scared and not feeling well.
 
But, What About When the Prayers Don’t Seem to Work?
Even as I write this, I’m sitting in the living room defending my keyboard from the alsdkjfskldfjskdjf energized fingers of the same little girl who is now feeling much better, and my heart is aching for those
parents whose experiences are not as reassuring, or medical emergencies without good outcomes. Did
prayer not work there? Did God simply not care enough? Did God forget to bolster the energy of the
doctors, or were the prayers of friends and churches just not effective? It can be tempted to think that,
can’t it? But notice that it was never about God interjecting in the situation to defend certain nerve-endings in Jane’s brain and not in other children. It was never about God’s preference for one child or another, or the sins of the parents visited upon the children. As much as it breaks my heart to say, there are times when the body does not work the way it is supposed to. Sometimes microscopic cells misbehave, and sometimes accidents occur because the laws of physics always remain constant. Sometimes the amazing accomplishments achieved though chemotherapy work, and sometimes it’s just not enough or in time.  These aren’t things I say lightly, but things we must acknowledge.
 
And so, when our hearts break in this world, we find comfort in God’s dispatch of those who have been
praying who now surround us in our grieving. We find comfort that the peace we’ve prayed for is still
possible, and that suffering is no longer endured.
 
It’s never that our prayers didn’t work! Prayer just doesn’t work that way! The joy of prayer is that we become more connected to one another and to God, and God becomes more connected to us! And when we are connected in that way, we can journey every storm…together.
 
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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