“Go and Do.”
In the last entry, back in October 2019, I wrote about an invitation and attitude of Jesus that was prevalent throughout his ministry; His was a “come and see” ministry. He was invitational, and He calls us today to be invitational as well. Church is not an exclusive club, but an inclusive community. “Come and see!”
I also mentioned, at the end of the entry: “Stay tuned for the next entry, two weeks from now, on the second invitation of Jesus.” Well, that was the longest two weeks of my life! It’s now January 2020, and as can happen, time got away. I wound up leading five memorial services soon after October ended, and helping minister to the families whose loved ones had passed away. Four of those families had little to no connection with our church, and two of the memorials were held at our town’s excellent Marana Mortuary and Cemetery. Also in November, we had a “Fall Fest” at our church, with which I had a very small role due to the excellent leadership of many people in our congregation. The goal of the Fall Fest was to invite others in our community to a fun, family-friendly event (a “come and see” event), as well as raise money for our Mercy Fund, which reaches out into our community to help many people. Then, a small but mighty group of us went Christmas caroling in early December, to some people who can’t get out and about anymore. I guess you could say I’ve been “on the go.” In addition, we also have begun discussions about changing our traditions in the summer, for our youth – from summer camp to a summer mission trip in 2020.
Which gets me to the second invitation of Jesus: “Go and do.” He’s clear in the mission He has for us: “… go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20; NIV) This statement is known as “The Great Commission.”
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not always “going and doing.” I find that much of my time is spent on internal matters of church life: worship preparation, pastoral care of our church’s members and friends, administrative matters. And these need to be done, and they are good things too! But if I – if WE – are not committed to The Great Commission, then we are not fulfilling the faith with which we have been gifted.
There are many ways to “go and do.” Our church has long been supportive of, and initiators of, a number of ministries outside the walls of our building. Historically, we started what is now the Marana Health Center and the Marana Food Bank. Currently, we own and operate the Community Christian Outreach Center. All of these are places to “go and do,” and the Outreach Center, in particular, is a place you can openly share your faith in your words and actions. Moreover, any time you are in the world – at your job, in your school, with your friends – these are opportunities to “make disciples.” Robert Schnase’s book, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, on which we based our fall sermon series “Coming and Going,” has helpful suggestions. Or, feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this more.
God bless, Pastor Dave