Devotionals
Worship Service begins at 9:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Pastor Debbie's E-Spire - June 13, 2019

Why Do People Need the Church?

Reflecting with the Vision Team

 

**We want to hear why YOU think people need the church! Reply to this email, and your response will be shared with the Vision Team!**

NOTE: The Moscow First UMC Vision Team is a task force initiated by Church Council, charged with exploring and guiding the congregation through the process of considering the congregation’s vision for the future. The members of the Vision Team are Blake Ballard, Connie Elliott, Rebecca Haley, Sonya Meyer, Debbie Sperry, and Crystal Tibbals.

Words from all members of the Vision Team; arranged by Rebecca Haley

As discussed in a previous article, over the next few weeks the Moscow First UMC Vision Team has been sharing and will continue to share our answers to three questions posed by Adam Hamilton in his book, Leading Beyond the Walls. We hope that our sharing will encourage you to consider your own answers to these questions and to dialogue with one another about them. It is your answers, not ours, which are an integral part of the process of figuring out who we are now, let alone where we want to go as a congregation in the future. Last week we explored the question, Why do people need Christ?

This week’s question from Adam Hamilton is Why do people need the Church?

We quickly discovered that in order to explore this question, we needed to consider other related questions, such as What is the church? What follows below are our sub-questions (in italics) and our answers (in plain type). Thank you for exploring with us!

~What is the church?

 

“I feel the church isn’t only a building. It is outdoors, it is the way we treat each other, it is how we are seen by others. We are the church when we help someone, smile to a stranger, pick up trash, and clean the park. We are the church any time we share God’s love.”

“I see the church as a place of community and connection. The church (as the body of Christ) should come around us when we struggle, encourage us to be better to ourselves and to others, and teach us how to give of ourselves. The church becomes the primary means of shaping us as followers of Jesus.”

“The church is an anchor that anchors us to Christ.”

~Do people need the church?

 

“Yes….and no.

 

I think that many people have a deep need for certain things that the Church can provide. That said, the Church can also not provide those things and sometimes even provide trauma, assault, shame, and toxicity as well. I also believe the Church is not the only place that can provide the good things that the Church provides.

 

My own personal observations (so no data here at all) suggest that people, by and large, are very much in need of the community. American culture in particular, in its prioritization of the individual and of the nuclear family, has led to many people living far from extended family and in many cases having only a very small circle of friends, many of whom may also live far away. American culture also tends to warehouse people by life stage, e.g., young adults only hang out with young adults, adults with young children only hang out with other people with young children, older adults hang out with mostly older adults, etc. It is not unusual for many people never to have witnessed either birth or death until members of their immediate family or they themselves experience these life transitions. What seems to result from the lack of extended social networks and a lack of social bonds with persons of varying life stages is (1) an extremely narrow perspective of the human experience, (2) an overwhelming sense of isolation and sometimes in helplessness during difficult circumstances, and (3) a severely compromised ability to handle life transitions with which one has no direct experience.

 

Good community provides opportunities to answer all these needs. The Church can be such a community. The Church can be a place where individuals or nuclear families can find others who can offer companionship and support much like an extended family. Ideally, the Church can also provide socialization with individuals and families from many different life stages and backgrounds. In the Church, we see and honor the start of new life with infant Baptism or dedications, and we see and honor death with funerals. We support those who need support during difficult times with meals, cards, and in-person visits. At its best, the Church becomes the family of God for each and every member.

 

But there is another thing which at its best, I believe the Church has the opportunity to provide. One thing that people in our society most desperately need. A sacred space in which to share and discuss the deepest realities of the human experience. A space where, in and through community, we pierce the veil of the every day and the mundane and cut to the heart of what it means to be alive. A place in which we share our deepest souls with one another.

 

The Church can be an antidote to the shallowness and fear-mongering of the world. It can be another voice, saying, here is water, and those who drink it will never be thirsty. This water will become in you a spring of water gushing up to eternal life! Here is bread, and if you eat it you will never be hungry again. For when we eat of this true feast, of really seeing and being seen by others, of sharing our deepest fears, hopes, loves, despairs, and joys, of really being with one another, in the stillness, well then, what need have we of shallowness, consumerism, and those who would use fear and anger to pit us against one another? The voices of the world say we need to look, act, or be a certain way in order to be loved. We as the Church should be drowning out those voices with God’s immeasurable love. Then we would be living into what I see as the deepest calling of the Church.

 

I actually don’t think the Church is the only place that people can find both community and deep, abiding meaning. I have found both within the Church, and I have found both in places outside the Church, some of which in so many ways do in actuality what the Church purports to do in theory. I am not really concerned with any loyalty to ‘the Church’ as an institution or to its continued survival. Rather, I am committed to helping people identify the deep longings within themselves for community and deep meaning and to help them find wellsprings of both wherever they may be.”

~Why you personally need the church? Why do you want the church?

 

“I think we can worship God on our own, but the Christian understanding of God is that God is, by nature, relational and we are invited into that relationship and show the depth of who God is in relationship.”

“People need a community and church provides a place for people to connect on a personal level as well as to impact the extended world. It can provide a family. A chance to be part of something bigger. This may include participation in small groups, missions, or committees.”

“Church is a gathering of people who share similar beliefs and values. If I miss out on the opportunity to spend time surrounded by those of like mind, my world tilts in an unsafe way. It is also my guaranteed way to connect with God. I cannot ignore His presence if I am with others singing His praises, studying His word, and lifting our prayers to Him.”

“I need the church because I want to live a life that allows me to share the love of Christ, no matter where I am.”

Stay tuned for our article next week, in which we explore our answers to Adam Hamilton’s third and final question: Why do people need this particular congregation?

In Christ
Pastor Debbie

 

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Current Church News

  • Community event - "Love Your Neighbor"

    Held at the East City Park On Thursday, July 24th, 11 am - 2 pm. This event is a  chance four our church to practice the command to "Love Your Neighbor" by sharing, food, fun, and fellowship. We want a chance for our neighbors to get to know us and know they matter to us. whether or not they come to worship. We will have food, games, and activities for all people and ages. and we'll get to share a little of ourselves and invite kids to VBS and all generations to our other ministries.

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary. William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

322 East Third Street
Moscow, ID 83843

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...