Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rethink Church

This morning at church our Sunday School started a lesson series on "What Does It Mean to Be United Methodist". We did the first lesson which was "Wesleyan Heritage". I was teaching this one this morning and it was nice because I was able to bring in some pictures of when Andy and I went to St. Simon's Island, GA, which is where John and Charles Wesley also preached. I shared pictures of the churches where John preached along with 3 older hymnals that belonged to my Grandfather when he was a Methodist pastor. I also shared with them my Grandfather's Book of Worship. It was nice to share my Methodist heritage with them.

Today at church was also our Kick-Off Sunday. The choir and orchestra presented two great pieces of music. The second one that we sang really touched me to the point that it moved me to tears as I was singing. They were happy tears for sure and God truly was there this morning. The name of the song is "God Is Here" but unfortunately I can't remember who wrote it. The words go like this:

There is a sweet anointing in the sanctuary
There is a stillness in the atmosphere.
O come,lay down the burdens you have carried
For in the sanctuary God is here.

He is here, God is here
To break the yoke and lift the heavy burden.
He is here, God is here
To heal the hopeless heart and bless the broken.

O come,lay down the burdens you have carried
For in the sanctuary God is here.

Then it was on to the message from our Sr. pastor...which is always good but this morning really hit me hard. This morning our pastor started a sermon series on "Rethink Church" with today's message being "What If Church Was a Verb". Now we are not the only United Methodist church doing this type of series. This is a national one that thousands of Methodist churches will be a part of. There is also an advertising campaign that is nationwide. I'd like to share with you the full video that was presented to us during church this morning. Please take the time to view this full video as it is VERY POWERFUL!

I'm hoping that he won't mind but I'm going to share with you part of our Sr. pastors letter in our bulletin this morning.

"For generations, many folks have thought of church as a building, something we do on Sunday, an institution or even a place to go. A church is far more than that. Yes, it is something we are (a people), but also something we do (a mission). God has called us to more!

Our church is already a significant part of this emphasis. What defines the biblical Church is not just traditions and buildings, but our faith, love for God and each other, spirit-filled worship, passion, evangelism, mission, a faith that is solid and real, as real as the Jesus we trust, follow and serve. Church is a "verb"."
Rev. Mike Ramsdell
Senior Pastor

WOW! Think of as a VERB. That is powerful. So powerful that I am now sharing here with you how I feel that church is a verb. I think I've always seen the church as a verb. One of my earliest memories of a church being a verb is when the First United Methodist Church in St. Charles, MO, took in some Vietnam refugees. I remember being at their house watching every one getting along no matter how different we were and sharing in some wonderful food. Granted I was a very young girl at the time but it has stuck with me all these years. Heck, I may not even be remembering it all correctly but obviously I remembered it as the church as a verb.

Now fast-forward many years. The churches that we attended as a young married couple in Nashville TN helped in with Room in the Inn program. It was a program that helped the homeless have a place to sleep, eat, and get some much needed rest and hospitality. That was the church as a verb. Those churches helped us when we were moving away and moving back there. Those churches were there when we adopted our son and going through every single process that we went through to get him.

On to the present. This past spring when our landlord was foreclosed on and we were left with having to find a place to live in a single weeks time it was our church and members of our choir and Sunday School class that were there for us helping us pack up and move into our new place. It is our church that has helped my husband through some very tough emotional times that he has had in the past year. It is our church that has gone to Mexico (and other places through out the world and our own nation) to help those in need. It is my tap class that I have found a wonderful group of ladies not only to dance with but that will listen to my prayer requests and pray for me. It's a bunch of friends visiting another friend while they are in the hospital. It's even the great ladies of my Sunday School class that come together once a month to play Bunko and have a great time. I honestly could go on and on about how our church is already the verb. It is the church that is always there...but it's not a's the people there at the church, in our Sunday School classes, in the activities that we are involved in and the open doors. We go out into the world every week after our church services and we become the church. It's fellowship with fellow Christians that make a church a church and that church a verb. We are the verb.

Our pastor wanted us to think of how we can become the verb...but honestly in my own personal experience: WE ARE THE CHURCH AND WE ARE THE VERB!

Are you the verb?


Andi said...

Thanks for sharing...we recently started attending a UMC church here in Phoenix. I decided to teach Sunday School for the 1st graders, so I didn't make it to a worship service this morning. Your summary of the message the Church is a Verb gives me something to think about!

rachelizabeth said...

I totally agree. The radio station here is asking people to call in and say how their church has blessed them. I got to thinking about my upcoming surgery. My mom's former sunday school class put me on their prayer list. One of the ladies went to a church here in Pearland. She called them up and the next day, I was talking to a minister there telling them what I need to get through the surgery and after. Two churches and people I don't even know are coming together to help me just because my mom told a friend that I needed prayer. THAT is church as a verb!

CindyMae said...

Great post and thank you for sharing. Our local church family has been there for us through many things and we have been for them. Church is a verb and what a great message that is!

Chef Eureka said...

Saw you link this post on twitter. It's an interesting post you made and thought provoking. I am however, agnostic... sooooo, it's not a verb I use very often :)

Thanks for sharing though. Have a lovely day!

reener said...

I'm agnostic,too, but you have a great post here! Well written!


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