Elders in The United Methodist Church submit to the itineracy system, moving from church to church throughout their ministry. Some argue that it is a system no longer sustainable in our culture that needs to be phased out. Perhaps, but one outcome of the system is a visceral understanding of the idea presented in I Corinthians 3 about servants together in fields of the Lord. Paul argues that our attachments are often to the wrong things: to a human pastor, to a position, to a building. No pastor works in a vacuum, but builds on ministry and mission that others directed long before arriving on the scene. And, that will continue long after the pastor departs. Sometimes, the key to overcoming short-term conflict is taking a longer view. And God’s viewpoint stretches into eternity. You don’t get much longer than that.
The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany, Year A
Liturgical color: Green
Somos del Señor: God Gives the Growth
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” – Nathaniel Branden
We minister in a world church in constant flux. How might stereotypical concepts, images, symbols, and interpretations impair or limit our effectiveness in trying out more diverse worship models, in reaching “more people, more young people, and more diverse people”? In what artistic ways can your congregation experience, embody, or live into the legacy extended to us through the power of the Beloved Community, koinonia, Ubuntu, 공동체 (gong-dong-che), through what Jesus calls “the Kindom of God”?
As this new year begins, consider using the following survey to determine the present state of worship in your local church. Where are the strengths? Opportunities for change? Impediments to growth?
SAMPLE: Corporate Worship Survey
I. When did you most sense God's presence during the worship celebration?
II. How did congregational singing, music, the arrangement of space, and visual arts/movement contribute to your worship experience/participation?
III. Did you feel your culture was observed/represented in this service? If so, how?
IV. Did anything make it difficult for you to worship?
V. What were the greatest strengths of this worship experience?