This November, seven churches and their pastors will begin meeting as a part of a new “circuit” gathering of churches that will be working together to make the mission and ministry of our churches come alive! We will be joining with all the United Methodist churches in Iowa to develop a Mission and Ministry Plan that will challenge our congregations to live out the purpose statement of “GO BE THE CHURCH!”
In preparing our mission and ministry focus, it is important to find simple and effective ways to “Be the Church” and to share in evangelism, disciple-making and outreach to live out what it means “To Be The Church.” Rather than a program, we want to look at ways to develop and engage in mission and ministry through building relationships and strengthening relationships with one another.
We can love our neighbor through the simple power of living a life that preaches. Here in Iowa, we love our neighbors. We practice loving one another in ways that people often refer to as “Iowa Nice!” But Jesus calls us to something that is more than just “nice.” Jesus calls us into an intentional way of living and loving that “preaches” and lives before others a life “that becomes and reflects the Gospel.” A life that reflects love and the Good News that God loves… and we are then to love God through our daily living and in living a life that preaches what real, true love really is all about. Do you realize that each kind and loving act we do preaches a message about Jesus and His love for the world?
Loving our neighbor – any and all who are in need – has a simple power that speaks volumes about a real faith that attracts persons. Loving our neighbor preaches a message about that love freely given and shared. It shows that we are all about loving our neighbor and doing good to and for them. It means that we are living ambassadors of Jesus’ love for the world… beginning with those who pass through our lives each day.
One of the most powerful components of Jesus’s ministry was that Jesus was literally “the word of God “in-fleshed.” Jesus’s words preaching and teaching were powerful largely because they were rooted in a life of love-filled action. There is a real power in preaching and leading whenever it is accompanied by consistent action.
Jesus’s model of “a life that preaches” serves as a model for ministry that we ought to remember, return to and lead from. Loving our neighbor (those in need) is the second of the Great Commandments. Those in need are not just people needing missional assistance, but also people needing relational assistance, emotional encouragement, loving and caring, doing life with them and friendships that spring from the practice of “just being a good neighbor.” We will strive to do this under the theme-focus of “Loving Your Neighbor“ and finding creative, outreach events where we can practice “Loving our neighbor through the simple power of living a life that preaches.”
In this time of global pandemic, God sends his Holy Spirt to help us find creative opportunities to share a new intentional neighborliness which comes out of our faith commandment to “love our neighbor” intentionally. What creative or simple ways can we demonstrate that love to our neighbor? God is with us and blesses us to find ways to make this happen.
What are some ways that you have shared or experienced that neighborly love? I invite you to share it with me… it might be an idea that we can use in our Mission and Ministry Plan (you are invited to share it with the pastor at: firstname.lastname@example.org) as we are filled with Thanksgiving as we “Go be the church!”