In 1784, John Wesley had reason to be worried about his Methodists in
the New World. The Revolution was over and the Church of England had
been sent home. Methodism was a subset of the Anglican church and
Wesley feared that all he had built would be lost. Also concerned were
Thomas Coke, Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vasey, whom he had ordained to
sail to America. They asked their mentor, "what shall we tell them?"
He gave them only this instruction: "Offer Them
So how do we offer Christ in today's world? For starters, we can assume
that someone who visits our church is looking for something:
fellowship, a new start in life, learning about Christianity, even a
helping hand. We really don't know and it really doesn't matter. What
matters is what they find.
Christ no longer walks the earth,
but He did leave behind a band of people who
profess to be his
followers. That's us. Visitors will observe our service, our
our facilities, but mostly they will look at us as a church
family. How do these Christians treat each other, work
together and show their love for the Lord? Hey look! Everybody here
knows everybody and they show genuine concern for each other. This may
be a group I can see myself being part of.
When we offer Christ to someone, we are offering ourselves. Like it or
not, we represent Christ. We are created in his likeness, embued with
his Spirit and worship him as Lord. To be sure, we are not Christ, nor
did He expect us to be. Remember He blessed those "who hunger and
thirst after righteouness". He could just as easily have blessed the
righteous, but He wanted to honor those who "hungered and thirsted",
not those who thought they were already there.
Wesley was 81 years when he saw
his young evangelists off from Bristol. He wanted them to think about
his last words on the long trip over. His words were good advice then
and continue to ring true more than 200 years later.
(Kenneth Wyatt's Offer Them Christ).
Let's take a walk down memory lane: the fellowship hall is cleaned and
painted, the pastor's office redecorated, new flooring inside,
landscaping outside. As a congretation, we are consistently and eagerly
working together on projects, sharing in planning and execution. We
have a new Mission Project with Habitat for Humanity, Thanksgiving and
Christmas projects, special worship services, active new members,
numerous fellowship experiences (including Melissa Camp’s “Surprise
Easter Morning Breakfast” and Glen & Maralene's Ice Cream
Social). We started a Bible Study which we now seek to expand. And
finally, the parsonage is the new home for Sean and Amber Heyward!
There are many other things that could be mentioned that show our
working spirit. Celeste helping decorate the Christmas tree, Steve
drilling the holes for the wreaths and member participation in Worship
Services!! We will celebrate all these wonderful memories with the
Fellowship Dinner on Sunday, August 10th.
Amos 6:1 (NIV) reads, Woe to you who are complacent in
Zion. When we become complacent with our
ministry, when we stop being innovative, we won’t simply stop growing,
we will stop impacting our community for Christ. When “this
is all we need,” then we will never reach for more. If Thomas
Edison had been satisfied, there wouldn't be electric lights. If
Alexander Graham Bell had quit, we wouldn't have telephones. If David
had been satisfied he would not have dreamed of a temple. And Paul
wouldn't have dreamed of reaching the Gentiles with the message of the
love of Jesus. We need to dream, to catch the vision of tomorrow, not
just the memories of yesterday. Thomas Jefferson said, "I
like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."
We are on the threshold of making a difference in our community and
making disciples for Christ. D.L. Moody said "If God be your
partner, then plan big."
So, where do we go from here? We have met the “New Life for
New Beginnings for New Hope.” We now need to focus on “New
Life IN New
Beginnings IN New Hope.”
We have the Fellowship Hall in great shape, the sanctuary is beautiful,
we work well together and we share as church family our good times and
our sad times. So let’s broaden our horizons to include
others in the Christian love we share with each other at New
Hope. Wesley's answer was, "Offer them Christ." The only
Christ to come in someone's life may be through an individual
relationship with one of us. Jesus is the Light - as Christians we
reflect that light. Our actions are what others see as representing
I promised to share another evangelizing suggestion from the School of
Pastoral Ministry. Vance Boone had this suggestion - "All
members will be asked to bring a visitor/guest to church on a certain
Sunday." Great suggestion, Vance. However, the school went a
step further: "that once this directive is made to the
congregation, that he, the pastor, would stand outside the church and
any member who did not have a visitor with him/her was told to go find
one and bring them back." This may be a little over the top,
but it is something to think about, especially as we are engrossed in a
membership audit. We want to give all "former" members an
opportunity to take a fresh look at New Hope. All members of a United
Methodist Church once affirmed "We promise to serve Jesus
Christ as Lord and Savior, in union with the church."