05 Dec Fresh Snow
2 minute read
By Pastor Donald J. Immel, Superintendent
No matter how inconvenient accumulating snow fall is, I still love it!
There is hardly anything like waking up to freshly fallen snow that blankets yards, sidewalks and streets before anyone has a chance to put tracks in them. It feels clean and pure – even the crisp air brings a sense of exhilaration.
Every time we turn the page of the calendar from December to January, I feel like there is a new beginning in front of me. A chance to start out fresh to make another run at my goals in life and ministry. I have to confess that I used to fill out my ACMR as quickly as possible so that we could see where we had been (tracks in the snow?) and map out strategies for making improvements in outreach and discipleship. (Actually – those strategies had been in process since October’s annual personal planning retreat and November’s annual calendar meeting.) I love Christopher Wright’s statement that “the God revealed in the Scriptures is personal, purposeful and goal-orientated.” I resonate with that description of God!
A lot of my reading is (of necessity) focused on the Missio Dei, which is Latin for the “mission of God.” Whatever we are about as a church – whatever drives us to have meetings and exist as a church and fellowship – the centerpiece revolves around God’s mission. If I understand God’s mission correctly, it could be stated as God redeeming His creation to its original state. I understand that this is oversimplified (entire books are written to describe God’s mission and its scope).
We look back with gratitude for what the Lord has done in us, and we look forward with anticipation to what the Lord is yet to do through us. January will soon be here – and by the grace of God, we will leave our “tracks” in our church, community and world.
At our Thrive Conference this past fall, we drilled down into the five ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11. How do these ministry gifts look in a local church context? How do they function in the 21st century? If we conclude that the five-fold ministry gifts are all about titles and hierarchy, I think that we’ve missed the point of Ephesians 4 entirely. But if they are about effectively functioning to carry out God’s mission in the world, then maybe these five ministry gifts have an application that is not only needed, but essential, in our world and through the church today. As we move into the new year, it is my prayer for our churches that we will stay on mission, and that we will fully utilize ALL of the gifts in their correct biblical context to see God’s mission forward.
There’s fresh snow out there; let’s make sure to leave our tracks –
make our mark – for the gospel in our communities.