Good Folks, it is the last Friday in July, 2015.
The forecast for today is clear skies and hot, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So much for the weather in North Texas. Often, we are called to define certain things in the church. Recently, one of the major church magazines asked for a particular definition of the word “evangelism” in 200 words or less. Dictionary.com defines evangelism as, 1. the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist. 2. evangelicalism. 3. missionary zeal, purpose, or activity. I chose not to submit my definition, which is to share the good news of Jesus Christ, son of God, Savior to the world, in a current and relevant way so that those who hear it want to respond in believing and becoming a disciple of Jesus.
Another word is very important to the world of the church, and that is the word “church.” I came across a most interesting article from News & Ideas, Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, in an article by Brett McCracken entitled, Can hipster Christianity save churches from decline? In short, folks want churches that are real and relevant. At the end of the article was a definition that has stirred my soul that I want to share with you.
Many don’t want the church to be like a bar or a stylish boutique. They want the church to be the church; an institution that embraces awkward people, confronts sin, transforms lives, subverts the sovereignty of self, serves others and provides meaning more substantial than the ephemera of fickle fads.
My first recollection of church is growing up in a Spanish language Presbyterian church in the west side of Corpus Christi, across the street from a funeral home. When I read the list that describes the church, all points are checked off in that little church; however, I believe that more can be added to McCracken’s definition. I would add hospitality, sacraments, God’s Word and some Trinitarian wording. I enjoyed the parts about awkward people, subverting the sovereignty of self and ephemera of fickle fads. Maybe the word “church” can never be truly defined because it is a living word that is ever-growing and morphing, not because of culture but a greater spiritual understanding.
I have great hope for the church of Jesus Christ. I have hope for The United Methodist Church all over the world. And I have even greater hope for FUMC-Duncanville to be the church that is defined by Christ’s calling in making disciples, and then some. Do not limit yourself to one’s definition of the church, but by the one who calls us to himself.
Sunday Sermon—Ephesians 4: 1-16; “One”
See you Sunday in church. Invite. Be hospitable.
Pastor Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org)