What are we to be about as a church this year? After listening to questions and conversation about what we want to do/should do/will do/are called to do as a church, considering the scriptures and work that lie ahead for us this month, “the business of the church” emerged as a theme for preaching and worship. Perhaps it was a small epiphany, given today’s date, or perhaps a subconscious influence – only later did I remember that the same phrase was also the title of John Wimberly’s book!
I have read John’s book – it explains so much of how Western works when we are at our best. It tends to focus on effective business management for church leaders. When we talk about “the business of the church” in the coming days, however, it’s much larger than management of our finances or building or staff, as important as those things are. In fact, if we’re not clear about what we’re about as a church, those details become confused.
As a church, we are doing God’s business. We are picking up where Jesus left his earthly ministry unfinished, as his life continues in the life of our church. In the same way that Jesus told others he had to be about “his Father’s business” and then invited the first disciples to join him, we are invited to become the next generation.
This fall we have been talking about Western’s community and welcome, our spiritual nurture, our social justice witness, and how we share faith with children, youth and young adults. That is all part of how we manage God’s business here at Western. God shares an invitation to each of us to be partners, to discover that we each have gifts and resources, given for the sake of God’s larger initiatives among us!
This weekend we are ordaining and installing new church officers, recognizing those who have been called by God and by our congregation to lead us into the next year. We’ll give thanks for those who have been significant this past year and ask God’s blessing on all of us. I hope you’ll keep your ear to the ground, as that group turns back to you to invite your participation in the ministry – doing God’s business! – that lies ahead.