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Claiming Our Baptism

Claiming Our Baptism

by Rev. Alexandra Robinson on February 07, 2024

Mark 1:4-11

Beginning last October, our church leadership underwent a period of discernment and dialogue with God and each other, to determine our church goals for 2024. 

There are three goals that we will be focused on this year as a church, as a result of their discussions and prayers.

  1. Telling our Story
  2. Championing Children and Youth
  3. Maximizing Care and Healing

Telling our Story

Jesus called each of his disciples and calls us as well, in a unique story of faith.  A large part of our work as Christians in a post-Christian world is to find ways to share that story.  Whether through word or deed, your evangelism is a witness to how God is actively at work in your life.  But many times we don’t know how to share the Christian story without sounding pushy or intimidating.  We don’t want to be off-putting but rather honor God’s presence within each person’s life through our United Methodist understanding of prevenient grace.  This year, you will be invited into unique ways to you to share your story in a grace – filled way.  The hope is that through your witness, others will be encouraged and affirmed of God’s presence in their life as well. In addition, we will be looking at ways our church communications overall can express this message so we are well known as a community of faith who believes each person lives in God’s holy love.

Championing Children and Youth

The children and youth of this generation are growing up in a different world than any of us did.  Their comfort with technology, passion for social justice, worldwide connectivity and the individualized marketing strategies they expect, will require the church to live into new ways of being.   We must ensure we are providing a church with flexibility and capacity to evolve and adapt for the future generations.  One of the ways we can provide for this is to reduce or eliminate our church debt so that our children and grandchildren are not saddled with this burden.  Release from debt is not only financial but spiritual and will allow opportunity for new programs and new opportunities for our children, youth and missions ministries to be possible.  With freedom in finances we can experience freedom for more funding of programming for these young servant leaders in the future.  Our goal surrounds not only maximizing ministry growth, but ensuring all generations in our church have opportunity to support our children and youth.

Maximizing Care and Healing

The concerns of our world have a place in the church, because Jesus was one who met people in the pain and suffering they experienced.  Jesus offered wholeness and healing by inclusion into a new community of God’s love and belonging.  As we look at the many places in our world where healing is needed, they are numerous:

  • The mental health crisis our nation is experiencing is affecting all ages, but particularly our youth in a rise of depression and anxiety.
  • The desire for escape from the troubles of our world is one cause of the rise of all addictive substances, from alcohol abuse to Fentanyl overdose.
  • The pain we see from food scarcity and homelessness is evident in our missions of Laundry Love, Habitat for Humanity, Kyle’s Place, Denton Serves, Love Pacs, Christian Community Action and Salvation Army.
  • The epidemic of loneliness is prominent in all ages with 80% of persons under the age of 18 reporting loneliness, and 1 in 10 people saying they do not have one close friend to turn to in a time of need.

As a church called to reach the people where they are at, our church will maximize opportunities for addressing these topics, from providing support groups to expanding our reach of community services.

If you are interested in getting more involved in one or more of the church’s responses to these issues, I encourage you to attend our next church council meeting.  We will be meeting on Monday, February 26th at 7 p.m. to work with one another and the 21 different lay led teams of our church who have established goals for addressing each of these concerns.

I pray that you will not sit on the sidelines and watch, but will claim the profession of faith that we will make in our baptism affirmation this week.  We are ones who are holy loved by God and are called to love one another wholly.  As we renew our baptism this week in all three worship services, I believe that God is calling us into a new year of mission and ministry of loving our neighbor wholly.

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