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Notes From the Lay Leader - September '23

Ephesians 2:10 (the Message): "…we neither make nor save ourselves. (God) creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. There questions are: “what does the transformation of the world mean? How will we recognize it when it happens?”

That’s easy: each of us should work to transform the world, with prayer, however we think best.

The Book of Discipline notes in paragraph 120: “(l)ocal churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs. We are making disciples as we:

  • proclaim the gospel…

  • lead persons to commit their lives to God…

  • nurture persons in Christian living…

  • send persons into the world to live lovingly and justly as servants of Christ by healing the sick, feeding the hungry, caring for the stranger, freeing the oppressed, being and becoming a compassionate, caring presence, and working to develop social structures that are consistent with the gospel; and

  • continue the mission of seeking, welcoming and gathering persons into the community of the body of Christ.

Lots to do here. If you think that the first three bullet points are the exclusive jobs of the ministers and pastors among us, there are still bullets four and five. There’s no insistence that everybody has to do the same thing. No insistence that anybody has to do any single thing. Members spend their whole careers healing the sick. Members work tirelessly to feed the hungry. Members try to care for the stranger and free the oppressed, and work to develop and implement social structures that are consistent with the Gospel. We all can work on “becoming a compassionate, caring presence…gathering persons into the community.”

Which brings us to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians above. Paul says God is waiting for us to get busy: He creates each of us to join him in the work He does, the good work He has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

Paul says that God has created some job or project or ministry for YOU to do. What? Think about the opportunities at this church and community. Try something. If helping in children’s ministries isn’t for you, volunteer to help with the community meal. If that seems like too much, offer to cook ONCE for the Wesley students. Students will eat almost anything, and most of them will remember to thank you.

If you hate to cook, help stay connected with our older, homebound, or ill members. If there’s something we’re not doing yet that you think we should be doing, try out your idea quietly. If you try something and it doesn’t work for you, chalk it up as a learning experience, take a deep breath, and try something else.

We should get busy. If we aren’t doing the job God expects of us, it won’t get done. And the kingdom of God will be poorer for it.

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