Several years ago I mentored a young pastor in the Atlanta area. We had an ongoing conversation that always ended with the question, “What do you have planned for six months from now?” That was started years ago and just yesterday, he sent me that question. It is a question that should be asked by the church regularly. In fact, the early church was faced with this question right after the resurrection. What do we do now?
There are several scenes in the scripture that depict the disciples hid away or going back to their prior life before being called by Jesus. We are told that they hid in the upper room fearing the authorities would be hunting them down. After the resurrection in the Gospel of John, they are out fishing at which time Jesus calls them ashore and after eating tells the disciples to follow him (another way of saying get back to proclaiming the Good News). In Luke, they are headed home to Emmaus and God encounters them. Again, they took a while to recognize him but afterwards he took them through a quick review of scripture and pointed out how he got to the place he was at. Then overjoyed they returned to Jerusalem and got back to the work at hand.
The question, “What now?” could be asked of the church today. So much energy goes into preparing for Easter that everything after that day must appear anti climatic because the Sunday after Easter is popularly known as “Low Sunday.” It lives up to its name. A pastor could throw up his arms and exclaim is this all we are about.
The wisdom and examples in Scripture give us direction and calls us back into the world to be about announcing the Good News. And to be clear, announcing that news may not always be fun. In the Gospel of John, Jesus tells Peter that unlike his youth when he went where ever he wanted, in his old age he will be led to place that he does not wish to go. As Jesus tried to communicate to his disciples before his death, “If they will do this to me, what will they do to you?” Jesus may have died and risen, but the world has not changed.
I am convinced that being the church is getting up and going about your business EVERYDAY. Our calling both as a congregation and individually is being the presence of God for the world. Where does this all lead? Eventually, the scripture teaches us it will lead to a time when heaven and earth will be united again and we will live eternally. When that time is, nobody knows. We may die or we may not before that day arrives. Our purpose is to rise and shine and share God’s story of hope with the world.
In this e-news you will read articles about the life of the congregation going forward. We have a church play about Noah that will be shared with the community. Confirmation of our youth will be celebrated as well as recognition our grade school Bible readers. Volunteers are being gathered for VBS. Our summer servant camps are filling up and could use your support. Planning and preparation for the church’s fortieth anniversary on August 24th is starting.
This is just a small sampling of all that is happening.What are we doing six months from now? That would be October. Isn’t it funny? Chris Hering, stewardship representative on church council just asked this past weekend, “What are the plans for our fall stewardship campaign?” The crowds may have left after Easter Day, but the voice of Christ keeps saying “Follow Me.”
~In His Service