Churches are a lot like families. There are days congregations are united with joy and others they are joined together in grief. There are the necessary meetings that can go well or can dissolve into lines drawn in the sand with no clear way forward. We sometimes forget the thing that makes a family a family…love. Sometimes, even in the church, we can forget our common purpose which is “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Life and the very real stresses of it, cause us with well-meaning hearts, to try and fix things. Often, we make a mess.
There are times when as Laity, it’s so much easier to blame our Pastors or one of the committees or boards for whatever we believe is going wrong in the moment, than to honestly look at our own contribution or lack thereof in the current situation. It’s hard to recognize that as much as we love our church family, we might have unintentionally done something to hurt it. That is not a comfortable conversation to have with ourselves.
Each congregation has a Lay Leader but make no mistake… EVERY member of EVERY congregation is a leader in some way or another. Someone is watching each of us. They watch us to see what we do when someone comes to us with gossip about another member. They watch us to see how we express our own opinions when they might not be the most popular. They watch how we conduct ourselves during crucial and difficult conversations. They watch to see what forgiveness looks like in action for us. They watch how we handle the stress and anxiety that comes with a worldwide humanitarian crisis that has impacted us for a year now. That’s a lot of responsibility!
The great news is that finding ways to talk AND to listen to each other is absolutely possible! The even better news is that most the time, when meaningful conversations happen, lasting solutions are found both within our churches and in our own lives. The family that we each want and need from our unique and diverse congregations, begins with us.
Modeling how to share hopes and concerns in productive ways is HUGE. Staying grounded in our mission as a United Methodist Church is CRUCIAL. Showing the world what it means to love the way Christ first loved us is the glue that holds it all together. Families laugh, families cry, families hurt, and families heal. Families work together, families argue with each other, families get mad, and families forgive. Above all else, families LOVE.
The entire country has been through so much in the past year. We are all stressed, frustrated, and ready for normal again. Let’s all work together to stay connected and focused on the work we have each been called to do for Christ, as we move slowly toward the light at the end of this proverbial tunnel. Breathe. Pray. Live with grace. Be sure to share the newsletters with everyone in your congregation because there are many things coming up that address stress and anxiety right now.
If you are a woman, the Sound District UMW has scheduled a Zoom session on February 20th. It is entitled,” Finding Peace in an Anxious World.” Registration will open on February 1, 2021 and you can find it on the website Calendar of Events – Sound UMW. Take care of each other so our hearts come out even closer to each other and to God, on the other side of this pandemic.
“We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith.” Romans 14:19 CEV
If you would like to view past editions of A Message from Kim, follow this link: https://sounddistrictnc.org/category/from-district-lay-leader/
If you would like to connect with Kim please do so through her email, email@example.com