Happy September!! We often speak of September as the time when things “get back to normal”. School is back in session, vacations have most likely happened and are now just wonderful memories, we settle back into whatever passes for routine in our lives, and we feel like we’re back on an even keel.
Here at St. Luke’s, September means a return to our “usual” schedule, with worship at 8AM (spoken service of Holy Communion weekly) and 10:15 (Holy Communion on the first Sunday, Praise Service on the third Sunday, traditional worship the other Sundays, choirs and music and all that), with Sunday School at 9AM (with classes for all ages – check it out). It’s familiar, it’s comfortable, it’s predictable, and with it we feel good, and we feel secure.
But what if we want to do something new? What if we want to do something different? What if familiar and comfortable and predictable aren’t enough? As you read your Bible (every day, I would hope), you soon discover that the one thing you can say with absolute confidence about God is that familiar and comfortable and predictable really aren’t what God is like. God is about doing new things, God is about speaking in new ways, God is about challenging us to grow and mature and, yes, change. God loves us as we are, but God wants us to be ever so much more that we currently are. God wants our faith to grow and adapt and be constantly made new. God wants our ministries to grow and adapt and change and be constantly made new. God calls us to go forth, go out, do new things, meet new people, become new people.
How do we do that? How do we follow God’s call to be constantly made new, to be continually growing and maturing and adapting? How do we find new ways to tell the same good news? How do we find new ways to connect and communicate? How do we develop new ways to love and serve and witness and proclaim?
How? By trying, and exploring, and challenging, and thinking, and talking, and reading, and learning. By being bold and trusting that when we are following God we are also being led by God. By knowing that when God calls us to something new, God is also equipping us to do that something new. By being confident that God is always going with us, always going beside us, and always going ahead of us. By knowing that God empowers us to do the work God calls us, challenges us, to do.
One new thing we are embarking upon is Stephen Ministry. Expanding and growing our ministry of caring for one another and of finding new ways to let Christ care for us. Christ cares for people through people, and we are those people. We now have four trained Stephen Leaders (Nicole Greer, Dennis Faust, Gail Faust, and myself). We are seeking out people to accept the call to become Stephen Ministers (we have had people suggested to us, we have given out a few applications, and we will be approaching some folks to see if they are interested in this ministry of caring. If you would like an application, see me).
We are also offering a course to help you determine your spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are those abilities, talents, skills God has blessed you with that can be used in faith to grow and equip God’s people in some way. The first offering of this course (done in conjunction with the Stephen Ministry program) will meet each week in September, and the folks enrolled will learn what their gift is, and how they can best use that gift in service of God and of God’s people. We will gladly offer this course as much as needed, so if you want to learn more about the course and when else we can offer it, please speak to one of the Stephen Leaders. The course can be offered in a variety of ways, and we are committed to making it available to all who want to take it.
But who knows what else God might be calling us to do going forward? We need to work together to explore that. We need to listen for God’s voice, open ourselves up to God’s presence, and be constantly looking for ways God might be calling out to us to go, and do, and serve, and love. One way we do this is through the Congregation Council, and the various committees and task forces that make up the governance of the church. Please consider serving on the Council (we are in deep need of volunteers for this vital ministry), or being part of a committee. Ask how you can be part of the various activities we do. Show up at dinners and other events. Be bold in sharing thoughts and suggestions for ways we can reach out, communicate, grow, love, and serve. Be active in worship and study and prayer.
I was taught long ago, and I know it is the truth, the “Christian” is actually a verb, an action word. We are called and sent, we are people of action, of faith active in love, and service, and caring, and witnessing. Be part of the church, be an active part of the church. Now. Today. Because God is calling you, today. See you in church!