From the Pastor’s Desk – February 2023
I once asked the people in a Bible study group at the last church I served to imagine what would happen if we adopted a policy of weed-pulling, if we drew a circle around our North Douglas neighborhood, and made a vow that no evil would cross that line, that no weeds would grow within that border. I said, “You know, you and I could spend the rest of our lives protecting that boundary, standing shoulder to shoulder with pitchforks and clubs, making sure that we kept drugs and alcohol and pornography and gambling safely on the other side. I think it would take all of our energy and most of our time. But what if we did it? What if we succeeded? What would we have? We would have a neighborhood characterized by the absence of evil, which is not the same as a neighborhood characterized by the presence of good. And maybe this is what Jesus was talking about all along, that it’s better to have a wheat field with weeds in it than a field with nothing in it at all.
A pastor/friend of mine inspired a church to begin a ministry to the children of a nearby trailer park. They had to decide what kind of ministry it would be. They could have chosen to root out all the sources of evil in that place-to chase down the drug dealers and the deadbeat dads, to confiscate handguns and arrest child abusers. Instead, they chose to put up a basketball goal, to tell stories from the Bible, to put their arms around little children, and sing songs about Jesus. And two years after they started that ministry, two years of going out there Saturday after Saturday to do those things, the pastor got a note in his box at church with five words on it: “Adrian wants to be baptized.” Adrian. The terror of the trailer park. That little girl who had made their work most difficult during the previous two years. Who would have guessed? Instead of pulling weeds in the field where she lived, they just tried hard to be wheat, and somehow Adrian saw that and fell in
love with it and wanted it for herself. After she was baptized, there was a little more wheat in the field. And because she was there, soon, there was even more.
What ministries can we implement in 2023? As I ask this question, I have heard some really good suggestions. We are exploring the idea of installing a “Blessing Box,” to provide food for the needy in our neighborhood. Someone suggested that we provide a free meal for our neighborhood as a way to reach out not only to those in need, but also to “unchurched” souls. I have spoken to local health departments, who tell me their pregnant teens and poor single mothers need assistance, and I am brainstorming with other organizations and agencies about how we may participate to meet the needs of the community.
I propose that 2023 is the year of ministry for this church. I would love to hear other ideas on how to share God’s love from the many blessings we have received from God. Isn’t this what Jesus
calls us to do?
As always, I invite your comments.