Monday, October 01, 2012

October Voice Notes

October Pastor’s Corner

During August and September we held a series of roundtable discussions about the ongoing life of the church, what shapes the church, and how we might use these answers to develop a budget suitable to the ministry needs of St. Andrew and the surrounding areas in Orcutt and Santa Maria. We will be following this up with our pledge campaign during October, to see how the income expectations of the church match the ministry expectations, and what we can do to bring them in line with one another.
For now, I promised to share with you the answers of the community as we have gathered to the questions raised. This should help you see how the congregation as a whole views ministry and what drives us as we seek God through the saving power of Jesus Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Question 1: What is the Church?
1) Teach, inform, bring about Bible & Christ, Teach us to be more Christlike, Extend/Develop Faith, To prepare to show by example, Where our friends are, Comfortable
1) People; Open to All; Community; Ministry to others; Our Youth (future); Location and Facility; God is in it (Jesus)
1) Body of Christ: The hands and feet of Christ “God/Christ has no hands/ feet but yours”; Congregation: We are the church; Community of believers; Extension of God’s work; Light of the (to the) world; Safe Haven for those in need
1) The Body, Community, Place of Worship, Dwelling Place for Holy Spirit, Source for Help, Place for Music
1) We are, Community of People, Place to worship, God’s House, Place for Children and People to learn about God’s Word, Nice place to come hear choir/organist

Question 2: What is church for?
2) To bring together a community of people, with shared beliefs to with & for others
2) Spreading the Word of God - through teachings and actions; Worship and communion; Acts of Ritual; Ministry to others; Deepening relationship & knowledge of the Lord; Supporting One another at all times; Community Presence
2) Serving the people; Worship; Focusing God’s energy; Fellowship; Educational Growth; Making Disciples; Preparing the people for the return of Jesus; Praising God
2) Gather to Pray together, Nourishment, Education, Fellowship, Missions/Outreach work
2) Worship, Learn, Fellowship, Caring Community, Supporting Missionaries, make Disciples, Spread the Word of God, To be God’s hand and feet in the world, Place to go on SUNDAY

Question 3: What is the job of clergy (ordained ministers)?
3) Make Disciples - UM Mission Statement, Teach/Bring the Word - sermons, Counselor - available listening ears, Communicator - with follow through, Comfort the Ill and Bereaved
3) Sermons; Lead Worship; Pastoral Care - Visitation; Counseling; Community Building; Availability; Communications; Ritual - Sacraments; Face of the Organization; Liaison between the local church and UMC structure
3) Overseer of church business; Provide Leadership; Provide Communication; Counselor/Arbitrator/Leader; Servant; Provide Spiritual guidance; Provide correct information; Visit the sick; Developing the tools for congregational discernment; Rituals of the church: Baptism, Communion, Funerals, Weddings; Liaison to the District, Conference and General UMC; Administrative; Biblical Interpretation; Managing the church’s business; Preach; Teach
3) Counselor, Administrator, Umbrella (Gotta get it covered), Jack of All Trades, Comforter, Healer, Resourcer, Visitation, Shepherding, Follow the Rules of the Book of Discipline, Teach, Liaison between local church and UMC structures, Sacraments (Baptism & Communion), Worship, Lead, Provide a Vision, Coordinating Governing Bodies and Ministries, Preach
3) Leadership (worship Leadership), Caring for the ill/homebound, Teacher esp. Bible Study, Someone to take your troubles to: listener, counselor, Glue that holds it all together, weddings/funerals/communion/baptism

Question 4: What is one thing YOU need to become a better disciple?
4) Patience, Understanding, Willingness to Participate; Reaching out (Extroversion/Initiative)
4) Supportive ideas; Spiritual Focus - moving away from operational; Communications; Fellowship; Education (UM polity & Knowledge of Discipleship); Bible Study; Courage
4) Discernment of Talents; Knowledge of the Bible; Compassion; Willingness to step forward; Fellowship & Support from other believers; Confidence/Courage/Conviction; Practice; Knowledge of what others are needing; Training; Mentoring; Energy
4) Generosity, Understanding of Stewardship, Prayer, Time in the Word (Daily), Prioritization, Brokenness, Tolerance, Patience
4) Patience, Live the Word, Prayer, Guidance from God, Bible Study, Love, Support, To take part (participation)

These are the answers from the congregation, and I got to thinking about what the answers to these questions were back in seminary, and how they correlate to what comes next for us as a church.

The seminary answers were:

Question 1: What is the Church?
The Church, the universal body of people who call themselves Christians, is God’s living embodiment in the world today. We are to be “little Christs”, acting, teaching, and glorifying God as Jesus did.

Question 2: What is church for?
Church is for the gathering of the Christian people for strengthening one another in faith, holding one another accountable, and sending each other out from the gathering to continue to share the Word of God in all the world.

Question 3: What is the job of clergy (ordained ministers)?
The job of the clergy is the administration of Word, Sacrament and Order. That is teaching, preaching and living the message of the Bible as Word of God. Sacraments in the United Methodist Church are Baptism and Communion, and are the only activities restricted to the clergy. And Order is to ensure that we are following the rules, of the United Methodist Church, as outlined in the Book of Discipline and the Conference Rules, and rules defined by local, state and federal laws.

Question 4: What is one thing YOU need to become a better disciple?
To be a better disciple there are two things we need. We need to know what makes one a Disciple, and then we need practice at doing so. Discipleship is at the core of what we do as United Methodists, not just because it is our Mission Statement, “Making Disciples of Jesus Christ, for the transformation of the World”, but because it is a mandate from Christ himself, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).

For a full overview of what Discipleship is and entails, in the tradition of the United Methodist Church, consider checking out this article from the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church website.

We will also be looking at Discipleship more in the coming months in the Pastor’s Corner here in the Voice.

David Camphouse


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