This past week, the Board of the New Hampshire Council of Churches gathered around a table, wondering what we were going to do. A group of pastors and lay people, representing eight different denominations (including yours truly, representing the PCUSA) and religious perspectives had come together after hearing that their part-time Executive Director was moving on to a new job. In the days leading up to the meeting, with less money in the NHCC bank account and fewer people involved, statewide, several ideas were floated – all the way from merging with another organization to shutting down the Council.
As the meeting was called to order this past week, the Council began with prayer and a reading from scripture – Matthew 14, the story of what happens when Jesus learns that John the Baptist has been killed. Jesus does not shut down his organization or merge with another. Instead, Jesus goes off by himself to pray and then comes back to feed five thousand people – multiplying five loaves and two fish. Jesus then sends his disciples off in a boat while he goes off to pray, alone, once again, and later walks out to them on the water. The disciples are afraid at first (just like you or I might be), but Peter tries his hand at walking on water for a moment, before faltering and calling on Jesus to save him (which Jesus does).
Strangely, as the NHCC Board sat and talked about the story from scripture and all of the options for what we might do moving forward, instead of feeling dejected and disheartened, we actually started to feel energized – like we wanted to work together to do something. Maybe God will take our five loaves and two fish of a small bank account and use it to bless thousands. Maybe God is calling us to take some extra time to pray in the coming days, weeks, and months. Maybe God will call us to step out in faith in new ways, really relying on God to pick us up when we fall down.
By the end of the meeting, we had a white-eraser board full of ideas with names written down beside them, designating who will do what for the NHCC in the coming weeks and months. It was actually exciting. It would seem that God is not through with the NHCC yet.
I would invite you to pray for the New Hampshire Council of Churches and all church organizations that are going through seasons of change.
Sometimes, when we are at our lowest, God will ask us to serve in new ways and the only way to respond is to say, “Lord, if you will it, yes.” Sometimes, when our plate is most full, God will say, “I need you to do just this one more thing.” Sometimes, when we least expect it, God will say, “I need you. . . yes, you. . . right now.”
When God calls us to serve, it is important to pay attention. It is important to say “Yes.”
This coming Sunday, our focus in worship will be on “service in and beyond the congregation.” In what ways have you served God in the past and in what ways is God calling you – right now – to serve.
We have a new page on our website that is all about service. Click HERE to find all the ways that you can serve God at BPC and beyond. I’m excited by these opportunities and hope that you will take advantage of them. God has given us the gifts to serve. May we do so with great excitement.
See you in church!
Grace and Peace,
Prepare for Worship
This Week: “Here I Am, Lord – Living Discipleship # 4: Serving In and Beyond the Congregation”
- Read Psalm 146
- Read Exodus 3:1-15
- Read Micah 6:6-8
- Read or sing Hymn # 538 – “Hallelujah! We Sing Your Praises”