So what happens now? We spent six weeks together talking about what it means to be the church. I preached on being connected in Christ, in unity, in growth, through words, in service, and through prayer. You met in small groups and talked about those same topics. Before we even began I encouraged you to read a little book called, “I Am a Church Member.” We bought 45 copies of that book and began passing them around the church. I heard from many of you that you read the book and it was not unusual throughout Lent to have all of those books out in circulation.
But what now? Is that it? We studied about what it means to be a member of the church. We talked about what it means to be a member of the church. I preached about what it means to be a member of the church. You read about what it means to be a member of the church. But the program has come to a close. We finished the study and will soon move on to something else. So I ask again, “Is that it?”
Too often we participate in programs such as this and when they are over, we allow life to go back to “normal.” In some way we feel we have fulfilled our commitment to participate if we stuck with our small group for the six weeks or were in church as many Sundays as possible during those six weeks. We count ourselves successful if we read the book or filled in the blanks in our workbooks. Lent is over. Easter has come and gone. The Connected Series is now in our rearview mirror so we can simply check it off our “to do” list. I hope that will not be the case for you or me. In fact I’m hoping that you have been challenged in some of the ways I have been challenged by the texts we have studied in Ephesians. I hope you are in a discerning phase as you consider how you will respond to God’s call on your life as a follower of Jesus and a member of his church.
It isn’t about completing workbooks or listening to sermons. It is about how we live our lives and what priorities we allow to determine our thoughts and our actions. Let me give you a few examples of how this study has made an impact on our staff and elders and deacons.
Through this study we have been challenged to be a more deeply praying church. As a result I recently sent out a congregation-wide email to make sure everyone understands how our prayer chain works and to invite others to join that group committed to prayer. We have also decided that on the second Sunday of every month we will have a special opportunity for prayer after each worship service. Anyone in attendance on those days will be welcomed to come forward at the conclusion of the service so we can pray with and for them.
We have determined that we need to be more intentional in welcoming those who come to worship with us but who may be unfamiliar with our building and our worship services. Perhaps you’ve noticed the Welcome Center has been rearranged to make it a more welcoming environment. We are also seeking to identify and train a team of our members who will commit themselves to a ministry of extending a welcome to all who come through our doors on Sunday mornings.
We also want to continue enhancing and encouraging the small group opportunities at TPC. We are committed to helping small groups find appropriate resources so they can continue to meet if they desire to do so. We also want to make sure those who are not in small groups have an easy time finding out how to join one.
We will continue to seek out opportunities for reaching out to our community as we find ways to serve others. Coming up in May you will have opportunity to participate once again in providing food for children at Fayetteville Street School as they end their school year and begin their summer break. Also in May we will have our third “The Church Has Left the Building,” worship and service day.
These are just a few of the ways this study has had an impact on us. What about you? Has the Lord used this study to challenge you concerning your worship and service? I’d love to hear from you about such things.
Let’s not allow this to simply be the end of another program, but rather the beginning of a new day in understanding and living out what it means to be the church.
Together with you in Christ’s service,