Saturday Sermon: Radical hospitality, passionate worship, extravagant generosity
Sept. 23, 2011 at 4:23 a.m.
By Jerry Wheeler
Radical hospitality, passionate worship. Risk-taking mission and service. Extravagant generosity. People are searching for a church shaped and sustained by these qualities.
The presence and strength of these practices demonstrate congregational health, vitality and fruitfulness. By repeating and improving these practices, churches fulfill their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The words are contagious, and the congregations that use them behave differently. People know that the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ, but they are seeking to understand how to fit this larger mission into their lives and into their churches in a practical way.
These words capture the core process by which God uses congregations to make disciples - congregations offer the gracious a sense of belonging; God shapes souls and changes minds through worship, creating a desire to grow closer to Christ; God's spirit nurtures people and matures faith through learning in community through mission and service; and God inspires people to give generously of themselves so that others can receive the grace they have known. These fundamental practices are so critical to a congregation's mission that failure to perform them in an exemplary way results in congregational deterioration and decline. The word to express these qualities is irresistible because they move us from abstract intentions to practicable and personal directions for ministry.
All of the above is so important in today's church that to ignore them is to ignore Christ's intention for our churches. So this is a call to all of our churches of today: Wake up and administer these to your church.
To ignore them is to ignore Christ's words to us. Failures in today's church is as listed above is the failure in each and every church. To carry out the missions of your church, is to carry out Christ's mission to serve.
Jerry Wheeler is a lay speaker at John Wesley Methodist Church