Jesus made it very clear to his followers in each of the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 22:37-39, Mark 12: 29-31 & Luke 10:27) that the most important thing to God is our relationship with Him and that the next most important thing to Him is our relationship with each other (our neighbor). I am asking all of us at Centenary UMC to join me in making relationships, our individual relationships with God and our relationships as brothers and sisters in Christ as well as friends and members of Centenary UMC, our emphasis for 2014.
It does not take a theology degree to see that we are a busy and growing church. However, could it be possible that we are so busy and growing so fast that we are not taking the time to care for and grow in our relationship with God and with each other? In addition to the demands of our jobs, families and daily lives, when we come to church, are we so focused on our list of things to do and making sure we communicate with people about logistical information that we are forgetting to ask them about their relationship with God and praying with or for them? Are we still taking enough time individually and together as a church to pray to God and ask Him to help us decide on what we should or should not be doing?
This emphasis on relationship should, and I pray will, affect every aspect of our church and its effectiveness in carrying out our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. It would mean that all members and friends of Centenary UMC, out of their love for God, would expand their vision from just their role at church or their ministry to include the entire church, all its ministries, and its mission. This new vision would include everything from evaluating the effectiveness of all ministries and events to serving and supporting each other and each other’s ministries no matter what ministry team or committee we are on or involved with.
As in any family, a church family is only as strong as their relationships. Through our faith in God, through the grace of Jesus Christ and by the power of His Holy Spirit, let us not only grow in terms of attendance and membership in 2014, but let us grow in strength. Let us grow in terms of the strength of our relationship with God, our relationships with each other and our common goal and mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ. That is, after all, what is most important to God.
Happy New Year Everyone!