How are we, those who attend St. John’s and followers of Christ, invited to participate in the faith community of St. John’s? What does it mean to be participating in the activity of the church? This is a question that the leadership at St. John’s has been reflecting. Typically around this time, we enter into a season of stewardship, where we focus on our personal commitment to St. John’s in what we give of our volunteer time, our energy, and our finances.
Some of the questions we are asking ourselves are:
- Does participation at St. John’s only happen at St. John’s? Sunday School teachers, volunteering at our Harvest food pantry, tithing regularly?
- Does participation at St. John’s only happen on Sunday? Are you faithful if you make coming to church on Sunday a priority? Or are the activities that you engage in Monday through Saturday just as important.
While it is true that St. John’s appreciates, needs, and values participation within these walls, ministry outside these walls, outside the operations of this church matters just as well. While we do need Sunday School teachers, it is equally important that to value you as parents who are trying to raise your own kids to follow Christ. While we need people to help manage church finances and regularly give, we also recognize that people who conduct their workday jobs with integrity bring glory to God and therefore connect their everyday lives to the mission of St. John’s. While we commission missionaries such as Sarah Henken who works in South America and financially support her, it is equally important to acknowledge that you all do in your everyday lives as parents, business people, teachers, artists, doctors, and retired because “your everyday life is an extension of our church’s mission.” (Kevin Ford, “The Transforming Church”) As partners in Christ’s service, we engage and participate in creating community both inside and outside the walls of this church. And together we will amazed and astonished by God’s faithfulness . . . not because of anything we did or did not do, but because that is who God is.
Therefore we acknowledge that coming to church is not about being a good Christian or a sign of our faithfulness. We come to St, John’s to share the good work that we are doing out there so that others might be blessed.
As we move from traditional membership and towards partnership, what we hope to convey is this distinction . . .
- Members implies individualized and fractured culture. Partners are those who wish to be comnnected with, engage with and care about community, starting at St. John’s.
- Partnering says that we are in community; we are not alone. Jesus called the disciples to go out two by two not one by one. So we partner at Saint Johns, with Presbytery, with our mission partners, at work, at our nonprofits, and with our family.
November 29, everyone will have an opportunity to reflect on their connection with St. John’s as partners through worship and prayer. If you have any questions, you may as pastors Theresa and John.
In Christ Service, Theresa