Home Invitation to Discipleship for December 14, 2014—Third Sunday of Advent

Invitation to Discipleship for December 14, 2014—Third Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11; Psalm 126 (UMH 847); 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24; John 1:6–8, 19–28

While working with churches across the county, I've discovered that quite a few of our UMC congregations have witness teams or committees. It's been fascinating for me to unpack the purpose and responsibilities of these groups. Is it to help people tell their faith stories? Is it to help people embody Christ through word and deed in their everyday lives? For the most part, the answers are "no." Most of the witness committees I've encountered organize greeters or manage a welcome table in the narthex.

Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that hospitality and the ministry of welcome is unimportant. We are all called to offer the same hospitality to others that we have received from Jesus Christ. But if we examine our gospel text for today, to be a witness means more than handing out bulletins or even a coffee cup stuffed with church information.

John the Baptist is explicit that God’s purpose for him was to be a witness. John’s job was to help people ready their hearts and minds to receive the message of Jesus Christ. John was not the Messiah, the Savior, but pointed to the one who is.

Questions to Consider:
What is your understanding or practice of witness? How is your church helping people to see Jesus more clearly? During this Advent season, how can you help prepare the way of the Lord?