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Faithful Ministry = Faithful Community - February 6, 2022

Romans 1:8-14To view, this service you can follow the link to our Facebook page: Worship Service for Sunday, February 6

“First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the news about your faithfulness is being spread throughout the whole world. I serve God in my spirit by preaching the good news about God’s Son, and God is my witness that I continually mention you in all my prayers. I’m always asking that somehow, by God’s will, I might succeed in visiting you at last. I really want to see you to pass along some spiritual gift to you so that you can be strengthened. What I mean is that we can mutually encourage each other

while I am with you. We can be encouraged by the faithfulness we find in each other, both your faithfulness and mine.

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that I planned to visit you many times, although I have been prevented from coming until now. I want to harvest some fruit among you, just as I have done among the other Gentiles. I have a responsibility both to Greeks and to those who don’t speak Greek, both to the wise and to the foolish.”

¶ 130. Faithful Ministry—The people of God, who are the church made visible in the world, must convince the world of the reality of the gospel or leave it unconvinced. There can be no evasion or delegation of this responsibility; the church is either faithful as a witnessing and serving community, or it loses its vitality and its impact on an unbelieving world.

The first time I preached to a congregation on that paragraph in the book of discipline I believe I was 24 years old in the second year of ministry in my first congregation. As daunting as those words felt at that time I believe they feel even more so today.

The people of God, who are the church made visible in the world, must convince the world of the reality of the gospel or leave it unconvinced.

As that young 24-year-old pastor in small-town Texas, I am fairly sure I emphasized our role in convincing the world of the Gospel. In that part of the country in 1982, we ALL thought that anyone who did not know “JESUS as WE KNEW JESUS” was in trouble.

As a much older pastor in urban-rural Idaho I am more certain that I fear the second part of the second sentence more:

“. . .the church is either faithful as a witnessing and serving community, or it loses its vitality and its impact on an unbelieving world.”

I am concerned about the church’s vitality. For many years we have used metrics, numbers to determine vitality. At least denominations have. Audra and Sarah can speak to that right now because they have been completing the “metric” report for this church: How many of this or that? How much of this or that? How many new members compared to how many deaths? Metrics don’t tell the whole story. They paint a one-dimensional picture of the congregation.

Certainly, in year two of the pandemic, we have started to learn how marginally unimportant this data is.

I hope by next year the question is:

How are the people in your church and in your community faring?
Are they finding ways to resolve conflict in the community?
Are they loving each other more?
Are they studying how to love more like Jesus loved?
Are they finding together how important they are to one another?
Does anyone leave the fellowship table hungry for food or for friends?
Are you learning how to address that hunger?

The definition of “vitality” is: “exuberant physical strength or mental vigor; capacity for survival or the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence.”

… CAPACITY for SURVIVAL or the CONTINUANCE OF A MEANINGFUL OR PURPOSEFUL EXISTENCE.

The questions I asked above I believe will help direct our ability to increase our capacity for a meaningful and purposeful existence:

Finding ways to resolve conflict in the community
Loving each other more
Studying how to love more like Jesus loved
Finding together how important you are to one another
Noticing if someone leaves a fellowship table hungry for food or a friend
And learn how to address those hunger

If we can learn to do those things our individual and congregational capacity for survival will increase.

And by doing those things we will serve as a witness to the Gospel to the community around us, a witness provided by our serving the community around us.

In doing that, I believe we shall find that the world around us if we are true to the gospel, will be convinced of the gospel.

And so will we.

Let us pray God of our community, our church, and our hearts. Let us not be afraid or ashamed of the gospel. Let us study and live by your acts and call to love and mercy and grace. And let us go out into the world and convince the world of this same love and mercy and grace. Through your gift to us in Jesus Christ. Amen

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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...

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