The Alabama – West Florida Conference has a contract with Mission Insite, a demographic company, to help us understand our ministry area, and one of the reports lists reasons people do not go to church. Here are the top three with some reflections on each.
How do we distinguish between ministries of the church and ministries that belong to individuals who happen to go to our church?
Leadership and Organization for Fruitful Congregations (Portland: Oregon-Idaho Conference UMC, 2014), 113
This is a scripture reflection on 1 Corinthians 1:4-10. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth which is experiencing division over its leadership and Paul’s concern shows even in the thanksgiving of his letter.
With the exception of Galatians, Paul includes a thanksgiving to God at the beginning of all his epistles. In these thanksgivings, Paul commonly cites being thankful for how they live out faith, love, and do good works. The thanksgiving that Paul writes to the Corinthians is a little different from these thanksgivings, though. Paul’s thanksgiving to the Corinthians falls short of a full thanksgiving like the other churches receive.
In Matthew 6:21, we learn “21 …where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” There are many ways to reflect on this verse, but after seeing a credit card commercial asking, “What’s in Your Wallet?” I have realized that our wallets are like modern-day treasure chests and point to where our hearts are. Let’s open up our wallets and prayerfully reflect on the things we find inside. I will use my wallet as an example.
In my wallet, I have some cash (and a debit card that links to stored cash). Money represents the fruit of our labors. Give thanks for our abundance, and ask for help in our financial needs. Let us lift up our work, and our investments to God.
Elections and contentious mud-slinging campaigns between political parties are nothing new. It was an issue that John Wesley and the early Methodists had to face. Wesley’s advice to the Methodists still rings true today.