The ministry of the church is a joint effort. The calling of pastors is to “equip the saints for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Eph. 4:12). We, the Blacketers, have been here at First Cutlerville for a year and a half, but the congregation still seems very new to us in some ways. Since I have been teaching catechism immediately after the morning service, I find I have much less time to connect and interact with members. There are still many people in the congregation whom I recognize, but your name doesn’t come to me right away. We were probably introduced when we arrived, but I have this professor brain that remembers numerous dates from the life of John Calvin, but your wife tells me her name is Linda and five minutes later I call her Lynne. Some of my fellow pastors can hear a name once and remember it forever. I’m not one of them. I have to work hard at it, and I often embarrass myself by getting it wrong. And then there are many of you whose names I get right, but I still don’t know much about you; I haven’t heard your story.
So I need your help in the ongoing process of getting to know each other. One way involves the nametags that I saw everyone wearing were quite helpful when we first came. We should continue to use those, and not only for the absent-minded professor-pastor. They also help to promote a feeling of welcome and hospitality for visitors, and also new members, who still may not know very many people at First Cutlerville. And if you don’t know me very well, I would love to get to know you. Starbucks, anyone? I would like to have more pastoral visits that are just for the purposes of getting to know you and connecting with you.
And speaking of hospitality, that is another area where I need your help. We are known as a caring congregation. So I encourage you to extend that caring to the newcomer, the visitor, the person who sits on the other side of church whom you don’t know that well. It’s impossible for me to develop a close relationship with everyone in the church; but it’s not impossible for every family to make a commitment to invite a newcomer over for lunch on a Sunday.I also need your help when it comes to the vision of this congregation for reaching out into our community, and to our neighbors, to those who could really be blessed by a supportive church community like First Cutlerville. What are some of the good ministries that were happening when there were two full-time pastors at First Cutlerville? Are there ways for members to take the lead in some of these areas? Are there visitors whom you have noticed, and who may need to be connected with a Bible study, or invited to meal night?And I need your help if you are a regular attender, but you have held back from getting involved. Maybe you’re waiting to be asked. Please don’t wait. We need people like you to help out with our Gems and Cadets, or our Kids’ Hope mentoring ministry to at-risk kids in Marshall Elementary. And those are just a few examples.We’re all in this together, this thing called church—the community Jesus creates, guides, loves. He uses his bride the church to draw people to himself, and to help lost people can find their way, by encountering the love of Jesus in us. Your help is needed, and wanted.