This is the week that the “moving out” part of our theme is most obvious. Whether we are talking about the call to go to a new place, like Abram in Genesis 12, or to move to a new understanding, like Nicodemus in John 3, movement is required. Movement means change, which is always difficult and scary. So this is a week about faith and about trust and the willingness to commit to the discipleship path.
This might be a good week to celebrate those who have completed a course in your discipleship training system. Or if the church has recommended anyone for the ministry path in your conference, then today you can present them to the congregation, or check in on their progress. Is anyone involved in Lay Servant training? Let them tell their story during worship today. This is a time to recognize those who have followed a call and have left the familiar for something new and deeper and different.
Or maybe it is time for a discernment moment. During the prayer time and with lots of space for silence and listening, the congregation could ask God where they are being sent corporately or individually within the congregation. Who is hearing a call to go to a new place or a new understanding, to go deeper in faith or commitment? Offer some suggestions about what might be available already within the ministries of the church. But always keep open the possibility that there is something completely new bubbling up from amongst the congregation. Be sure to invite folks to record whatever thoughts or inclinations might have come to them during this time. Also be sure to give instructions on how to continue to seek and ask for God to speak clearly as we are sent out into the world to make disciples, if only to remind folks that this is an ongoing process. We are constantly seeking direction from God.
Rev. Dr. Derek Weber, Director of Preaching Ministries, served churches in Indiana and Arkansas and the British Methodist Church. His PhD is from University of Edinburgh in preaching and media. He has taught preaching in seminary and conference settings for more than 20 years.