Greeting my brothers and sisters in Christ,
This past Sunday, Pastor Mark's sermon about "transformational giving" helped
us to understand the kind of giving to which God invites us. God invites us to
giving that transforms our lives and lives of God's children everywhere, giving
that changes us because it affects and transforms us. Our children and youth
have been learning about transformational giving this season, too -- in worship,
Sunday school and during small group conversations at Everyone's Inn.
As part of this learning together, during a recent conversation about how God
calls us to prioritize relationships over money, one youth shared that the
church is the only place that this is taught. Instead, what youth hear from most
of our society is more like: "Oh don't worry about losing that friend, there's
always time to make friends later," or "Focus on your studies, your rehearsal,
your practice (fill in the blank ___________) ... once you're in college or in the
working world, you will have different friends anyway. It's hard work that's
going to get you somewhere, not your friends or relationships."
Interesting and provocative reflection, isn't it? Our ministries with family and
young people do place strong emphasis on relationships and building God’s
beloved community. It is a core value in how we design and practice Sunday
worship and Everyone’s Inn. It is a core value that is leading us to focus efforts
on small groups with people of all ages. We are working to model Jesus’
emphasis on building and supporting healthy relationships as a primary part of
our work together as a church.
But, it is not easy work! It is a value and emphasis that places our ministries in
conflict with much of what our society values. I invite your continued prayers
on our ministries that value what Jesus taught us: healthy relationships with
God’s people as the foundation for transformation.
May God bless our efforts.
Your sister in Christ,