What I have to say in this pastoral letter, I believe with conviction, will determine the health, vitality, and the future of our church. There are important twin developments happening in the life of Wats1st. The first is the launching of the Live Stream ministry. The second is the faith formation of our children.
The first important development is the Live Streaming Sunday worship.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, declared, “The world is my parish.” We are fully committed to preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ beyond the four walls of our church through broadcasting live our weekly Sunday worship to a global community.
Ever since the 60s with the cultural revolution, mainline denominations have seen a steady decline in membership and it’s been only accelerating. All across the denominations we are witnessing the closing of churches because of multiple factors and reasons which I will not get into in this letter. The point is, the needs of human beings still remain the same. People hunger and thirst for spiritual food that will heal, transform and empower their lives. We’ve got the goods, the life transforming power of Jesus Christ. What needs to change is the form and the delivery system of that product. Our work is to constantly stay vigilant with forward thinking to stay relevant in our constantly changing world. In our moment in time, we have come to a bridge that can only be crossed all together.
This is where you come in. When you became a member of the church, you made a commitment to God and to your faith community to support the ministry and the mission of the church through doing 5 things:
- Prayer: Praying for the people and the ministry-mission of the church
- Presence: Regularly coming to worship and participating in various church sponsored events and activities
3. Gifts: Supporting the church through pledges, offerings, and bequest
4. Service: Volunteering your time and energy with your gifts and grace to support the ministry-mission of the church
5. Witness: Witnessing your faith to others through inviting people to the church and leading them to Christ
These are 5 things that every member since John Wesley had to promise before becoming a member of the Methodist church. Of these five things, I have to say, the single most important thing that you can do to support the church is your Presence at Sunday worship. The health and strength of our church is only strong as your participation in the life of the church. The church is not a building but the people in it. Our church will be alive only far as we are alive in Christ. And the church alive is worth the drive!
If you are parents with children, bring your children to worship. I hope to convince you in my second part of this letter why you should feel good and confident about bringing your children to Sunday worship service. When you show up for worship, you are making a statement with your children and fellow members that you believe and support what we stand for which is…
Our Mission: Tipping the world toward love by following the Way of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The second important development that is happening is the investment in the faith development and formation of our children.
I envision an intergenerational corporate worship. I want us to create a safe and welcoming place for our children. I want our little ones to feel they belong here and that this is their church, too. I want them to feel happy here and look forward to coming to church on Sunday with their parents.
There will be a “Children Learning Station” set up in the narthex (the back of the sanctuary) with array of biblical and spiritual books from renowned authors in the display rack, a large round table for them to sit together with other kids, and resource shelf stock with crayons, color pencils, regular pencils, drawing pads, coloring books, puzzles, crafts, and more. I personally vetted each and every one of these items to ensure they are of sound theology and healthy spirituality. The Children Learning Station is designed to enhance their biblical knowledge, express their creativity and occupy their curious minds, all the while they are being nurtured and bathed in worship service.
There will be Nursery Attendants back there to watch and oversee our children while they are coming and going as they please between their parents sitting in the pews and other kids in the Children Learning Station.
I will commit to giving Children’s messages almost every Sunday, along with Joan Culbertson’s bimonthly Lego Sunday School. Even though you think children are not paying attention to what’s going on in the service, they observe what we do in worship and hear what we sing, how we pray, what we read from the bible, words spoken in preaching. Effortlessly and subconsciously our children are absolving Christian spiritually. Just bringing your children to worship will ensure your children will receive solid, quality Christian faith formation which they will need to navigate through life.
When you baptized your child, you, along with the faith community, promised to God to raise the child in the Christian environment where the child’s faith formation can take place. Mary and Joseph understood this and that God has entrusted them to raise God’s son to the best of their abilities.
I’m all in. Will you?
All for the love of Christ,