By Pastor Mark Combs
Pastors have been known, from time to time, to say things that do not come across the way they were intended. I often wonder how it does not happen more often than it does for me. Let me give you an example, there was one time, in my last congregation, when I really did mean to ask a certain question, that the results were totally different from what I intended.
On that particular Sunday morning, I asked the adult Sunday School class, “What would we do if we showed up on a Sunday morning to find there was a big crater where the building used to be?”. I expected to hear that people would be very upset. I expected to hear that there would be tears and confusion. One member of the class said, “I would have to find another place to go to church.” That was the answer I was hoping someone would make. the problem, is that out of that conversation, the people formed the opinion that I didn’t care about the building. While it is completely on true that I believe a building is not of primary importance, I was not advocating to abandon the building.
It does, however, raise some very interesting questions in the life of a congregation. What we would we at St. John’s say if we were asked the same question — “What would we do if we showed up on a Sunday morning to find a big crater where the building used to be?”
The problem that so many people face with a question like this, is that it makes us look at ourselves and our priorities in life. Being honest, I know that I like my toys. The challenge to me, is what would I do if I could not have them. I have to ask myself if I would be able to go on without them. I have to ask if there is something more important in life than my stuff.
As a congregation, it is the exact same question. We have to look at what are the things we value the most, and what priority do we give to the rest of our things. When we are honest with ourselves, we know what the most important thing is for us in this world — we know that the greatest thing is the good news of Christ and him crucified and raised!
We know, if we are honest, that all the rest of what we have and what we do is all secondary.
So what does that mean for us? It means that our challenge is to make sure that everything we do is driven by the question of how it helps us proclaim the good news of Christ. Remember that Jesus’ great commission in Matthew 28 is to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.”
With the coming of July, we have great opportunities to share this good news of Christ. Our Amazing Grace Day Camp happens, many of us will take vacations, and all of us will have the chance to talk to people who don’t know the good news. Our challenge is to see what we can do to make our priorities line up with what God has called us to do. Remember that our vision of who we are and what we do is that we are “Learning, Living, Growing, with Christ as our leader!”