We remembered the saints of FUMC Missouri City today. I knew a lot of the names intimately. In addition to the persons who have died, we remembered the persons we had baptized this year — moving from the saints past to saints future. I knew many of them personally, too.
It was very moving to stop and take “inventory” of sorts. By inventory, I mean who stands beside me serving Christ in body and who stands in Christ serving with me in spirit. Sobering day, to say the least. I was most moved by the prelude processional at 11 AM. The faces of the people as they placed the pillar candle on the altar in honor of their husband, wife, daughter, son, or friend.
On a day when we recall the saints, I had to ask myself if I am preparing the church of the future? Am I doing everything I can to make sure that I further the kingdom? I seriously doubt it. I fall short. Constantly.
When I was in Kansas City, Rev. Adam Hamilton asked 1900 of us in a plenary session this question: “Would you give up your preferred style of worship if it meant that 100 people would come to Christ? Even tougher, would you give up your preferred style of worship if it meant 1 person would?”
I had a hard time hearing that. Although I’m pretty eclectic in my worship style preference, I wasn’t sure what I could give up? There are distinct and intimate ways I personally connect to the Holy — a huge choir anthem with a pipe organ, an excellent worship film, a moving sermon, The Apostle’s Creed, a worship band, just to name a few. And, I should note that I don’t care for all of those acts of worship in one worship service. I like things separated out a bit.
My thoughts go to a piece of information that I read on a the North Alabama Conference website. On Bishop Willimon’s site, there was a quote that I remember that said something to this effect “For every new church we (United Methodists) start, we close three.” Ouch. That is painful to hear.
Open one new church, close three – that is a terrible ratio.
If it meant one person would come to Christ, what would I be willing to give up? Have I done everything I can do to further the kingdom of God?
Let’s just say I continue to struggle. Pray for me.