When I send reminders to our nursery volunteers or Godly Play teachers, I usually include a little sentence like “thank you for your ministry with our young ones.” We believe that Godly Play is as important as Celebration – that it is just another form of worshiping God – and though the nursery may fly under the radar it is certainly one of our most important ministries, so the people who work in these rooms are certainly ministers. But one of you told me, recently, that you were pleasantly surprised to hear these words. Yes, you said! I guess I am a minister!
Yes indeed. You are ministers. It’s an important part of our spiritual heritage; we don’t have a distinction between priests and laity in the Reformed tradition, because we believe in the “Priesthood of All Believers.” And we believe that whether we preach and teach, cuddle babies, agitate for justice, or serve the coffee, we do all this to the glory of God, each according to their own calling and gifts.
As we come to the midway point of the summer, I’d like to invite everyone to consider whether and how you may be called to the ministry of outreach. Though this ministry is not confined to any season of the year, we have a special focus on reaching out during the month of August. This is when we spend our Sunday mornings at the Farmer’s Market and our evenings having 5 PM Celebration and a festive BBQ dinner together. This is a ministry that uses a lot of hands and heads and hearts. We reach out to our friends by inviting them to church. We hope they’ll say yes – but if instead we get a “no” and a long conversation about how church is just not for them, we recognize that the conversation we have is, in itself, a ministry of acceptance. For some people, it’s easier to invite a friend to church than to invite a stranger, but for some, it’s the other way around – so some of us minister by standing at the Farmer’s Market booth and smiling. Some reach out online, clicking “Share” on social media or writing something about why they love MPC. Some minister behind the scenes by cooking for the evening meal, and some minister by welcoming. We need lots of people looking out for new faces in the pews, finding someone to say hello to, and maybe even remembering their name. The work of outreach helps us grow, and not just numerically. As we reach out we grow in courage and connection, and we open our hearts to a greater flow of love and kindness.
So, will you be a minister of outreach?