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Church 101: Missionally Engaged

“Then Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any wish to come after me, let them deny

themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24, NRSVue)

Missionally Engaged - We are all missionaries, and everyone has a role in ministry in the church, to the community, and the world. We give our time, money, and influence to the cause of Christ. (See Matthew 25:31-46)

This week, I’ll deliver the second sermon in the series on Church 101, focusing on the kind of church God has called us to be. Last week, we looked at being “Jesus-Centered.” The second core value to examine is being “Missionally Engaged.”

One of the impressive things about our church is that we are deeply involved in missions at many levels. Indeed, we support various missions and ministries in our community with financial contributions. Some recipients include the Help Center, the Wesley Foundation at UNA, the Caring Place, Embrace Alabama’s Kids (formerly the Children’s Home), Shoals Scholar Dollars, and others. We frequently provide money for people entering drug and alcohol recovery programs and job development programs for those recently released from prison.

In addition to our financial contributions, we have volunteers who give their time and resources to these ministries. You have responded tremendously to the Honduras Christmas Shoebox initiative, and members regularly provide canned goods and diapers for the Help Center to distribute.

Many of our members serve on the boards of area organizations or ministries that respond to various needs in the community. In addition to serving on the Help Center Board, the Homeless Care Council of Northwest Alabama, and the Huntingdon College Trustees, I know I frequently pray for these ministries and their leaders, and I think it’s safe to assume there are others in the congregation who pray for these ministries as well. We’re involved in missions through our gifts, time, and prayers.

In the past, we have helped with relief efforts after natural disasters and sponsored international mission trips to work with missionaries that we support. We hope to offer these types of mission opportunities again soon. For instance, Rev. Joe Riddle and his wife Ashley (who served at Wesley UMC in Central) recently became missionaries in Zambia, and I would love for us to support their ministry financially by sending volunteers to work with them on short-term mission trips (generally a week or 10-12 days).

We all can’t get involved in missions at the same level; however, we can all get involved at some level. Be sure to join us Sunday for worship and Holy Communion as we explore ways to grow as missionaries, and don’t forget to bring your friends!

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