February 2018 Blog

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” Matthew 6:10 is an extremely well-known, well memorized passage of scripture. It is important that we really take into our hearts what this means for us all. It must be more than just part of a well-known prayer we all say; we must not just go through the motions. What does it really mean to you to say we are inviting God to help us work to bring God’s kingdom here on earth?
What vision does God caste in your heart when you envision heaven here on earth? How do we work together to make it happen? The key is working together; instead of every person trying to be a star, getting our own way, we focus on Christ in which community is essential. As good leaders have reminded us, “Scripture knows nothing of the solitary Christian.” We are not and do not feel complete until we fulfill the most important command, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30-31).
As we move through the year ahead, we will be working to create a heav-en on earth in building and strengthening our fellowship together. We want to invite and welcome people into our friendships in Christ. Two important efforts in ministry are a great joy for us to do: Confirmation for our youth this spring, and plans for Vacation Bible School, most likely near the end of the summer.
We want our youth to know the great blessing of living a life for Christ from the heart. Some of the dynamics we will focus on understanding are the Sacraments of Baptism and Communion and what they mean and why they are important. We’ll also look at who Jesus is. It is important we help them understand our beliefs as United Methodists and what makes the UMC unique, including some of our history and how we became who we are.
It is also vital that we cover the organization of the church and how we all can feel at home in taking part and leading as we sense God calling us to. We also want them to know what the role of the pastor is, including the re-quirements for education and what are important qualifications; what is the authority of the pastor and why. We want to help our kids have ownership to the process of ordination, especially as Matthew works his way through it. I also have asked confirmation groups in the past to complete at least two projects: compose their own statement of faith sharing what they believe about God and Jesus Christ; and conduct an interview of someone in the church who they respect, but who is not related to them.
Ideally, I am also hopeful we can take them on a field trip, perhaps to the Chinese Christian Church, in Philadelphia, and/or Old St. George’s UMC where our historical archives are kept. We also would like to have them experience one of our Spanish speaking UM church in Lancaster or Lebanon, and/or understand the Anchor Breakfast in Lancaster. While I don’t think they cannot help serve because of age requirements, it would be important that they can understand the im-portance of this ministry.
Membership is a decision to accept and live fully in God’s Covenant every day, through devotions, scripture, prayer, and friendships. Our children and youth have a unique ability to teach us about our faith, and help us stretch and grow in new ways. Please keep our fellowship and efforts in your pray-ers, and may we be blessed in how we practice our faith together and relate with each other in Christ.