As the District Superintendent, I have the privilege to attend worship services, online and in person, of the faith communities in the District. This is also the season for Church Conferences in which I learn of the missions and ministries which are beginning or discovering new life, following our journey through COVID.
I want to celebrate that many faith communities are journeying with congregants and those who are outside their church walls. In one service I attended, the annual sale of their signature dessert was about to take place. The coordinator described the day-long process and work commitment needed to ensure that the dessert was available for sale. He did so with humor and joy because the church was finally able to restore this longstanding tradition for the greater community.
Watching the local news a couple of weeks ago, I learned of a new diaper ministry that one church started in response to the needs of young families in their area. School principals and counselors are reaching out to churches seeking assistance for gaps in services that current school budgets and staff shortages can no longer provide.
During Church Conferences, as pastors share their reports, most describe the plans for the coming year, seeking ways to be in mission and ministry with those who attend, those present online, and others who are just beginning to learn about what it means to be a child of God.
Many churches have identified the importance of discipleship work for congregants. Identification of spiritual gifts and how to share them in achieving the church’s mission and ministry are also being explored.
For the devotion I lead at the Church Conferences I am asking us to consider the Parable of the Sower. Imagine we are the farmer who tosses the seed into areas, most of which will not bear a harvest. The seed which finds fertile soil will yield a harvest 100, 60, and 30-fold. Our faith communities are beginning to cast those seeds once again. And yes, the harvest is beginning to happen.
If you are wondering how to begin or continue this kind of conversation, I invite you to consider the Fresh Expressions events which are being offered on November 12th, 2022. The link for more information is below. May the Lord continue to bless us on our journey of service for one another. And Amen.