Who do you journey with? Who do you share your life with? Who matters in your life? Who do you make time for in your life? If you have been reading these blogs on a regular basis, you may have picked up on the fact that I can sometimes miss the “fruit.” By fruit, I mean the evidence of God at work in our midst. I also confessed in a post made in the not too distant past (see here) that I can lean towards the negative instead of the positive.
So I thought it would be good (hopefully not just for me) to identify four reasons I think it is a great time to connect with Barnitz and Mt. Zion churches, or simply BMZ. By the nature of choosing four, I know I am leaving a few others out.
The People – This reason may be somewhat redundant, because without people, you do not have any of the other reasons. However, it is best to start here with the people. These are the people who regularly connect with BMZ. This may be something only a pastor can fully appreciate, but one of the things I love most about the people here are the questions that are being asked. The questions relate to wanting to know more and more how God can use us, to see where God is at work, and to see how we can connect to God’s work. The people are generous and give of their time, money and energy organizing and serving in many different areas. The people visit and see after one another. I cannot tell you how often I may stop in to visit someone, only to hear that “so and so” was just here or “so and so” just called to check in. The people desire to love God and love one another.
Journey Groups and Sunday School – These are times where people, the people just mentioned, gather together to explore what it means to follow Jesus Christ. There has been some great testimony from these times, where people are gaining a better understanding of what it looks like for them to follow Jesus Christ. Even more important, they are getting the encouragement and support to live it out.
Community – BMZ is becoming increasingly more a part of the larger community. This may seem a little counter intuitive, but it is a great time to connect to BMZ because we are connecting in more and more ways with our community. We are doing this through community services with other churches here in our community. We are doing this too as we connect with and serve through some of the existing ministries and organizations that are here in our community seeking to help those in need. Many times this becomes a direct extension of the groups just mentioned.
Church Unique – This reason is a fun one. Really, it is. Why is that? Because this is something that is really only starting this week. Church Unique is another group that consists of some of the people referred to above; some of the people who are asking some great questions and want to be used more and more by God in our community. This is fun because Church Unique is itself a journey to answer some of these great questions.
To explain Church Unique a little more, consider the following: Why are you in church today? What is the purpose of church? How do we live this purpose out? If we would go around in church and collect answers to these questions, we would get varying responses. And yet, as the church, we only have one mission and purpose that was given to us by Jesus. He tells us to go and make disciples – one purpose.
For example, consider that you have a great big boulder that you want to move. Two groups of people try to move the boulder. The first group of people ties several ropes to it, everyone grabs a rope, and they take off in different directions. The second group of people ties one rope to it, they all grab the same rope, and they all move in one direction. Which group do you think will have more success in moving the boulder?
Church Unique is the process of helping us all pull the one rope in one direction to live out our unique God given purpose together here at Barnitz and Mt. Zion.
Are we perfect in our journey? No. Does everyone get cared for as there is need? No. Will I likely upset someone because I did not mention something specific above? Yes. But we continue to journey. As stated on our “About Us” page:
Here at Barnitz and Mt. Zion, we are trying to love God and those around us, following Jesus. We are still in process and maybe we always will be, but we’d love for you to know God’s love for you and for you to share this journey with us… …this journey of seeking to be the Church.
Sure, we will have some ups and downs. Sure, things will not always go as smoothly as we want them to go. Sure, there will be times when we make the wrong decision.
And yet, I stick by what I said above. It is a great time to journey with us, and I only look for it to get better and better.