(In the Life of the Church)
June 15, 2014
(While Josh is away on sabbatical, Craig will be writing the newsletter. Which means you should expect less Harry Potter and more Hank Williams.)
What does it mean to be a Christian? (Or a "Christ Follower," "Believer," or whatever your preferred term is for this particular faith we find ourselves in.)
A pastor friend of mine posed this question to his staff a few months ago. He asked them to describe in one sentence what exactly it is that they are calling the people in their church to be and to do. Being the thoughtful group of ministers they are, most said that the answer is too complicated and multifaceted to sum up in one sentence. My friend said he agreed with them, but for the sake of conversation, understanding all the nuances of what it means to be a Christian, what would they lead with if asked to describe the Christian life.
The minister of music said he would lead with something like this: "Being a Christian is primarily about being a member of a community that worships the one true God."
The Associate Pastor for Missions and Community Care: "Being a Christian is about uncovering the redemptive reign of Christ in the world and calling others to participate in God's church."
The Associate Pastor for Students and Spiritual formation: "Being a Christian is about being formed into the people God is calling us to be, using Christ as our guide."
What about you? How would you answer that question? What would you lead with?
I'm sure your answers would be varied, including such phrases as-- "Being saved from your sins," "Reflecting the glory of God," "Seeking to make Jesus famous," "Reflecting and seeking to establish God's justice in the world," "Being a person led by Christ's love," just to name a few. And just as the answers from my friend's co-pastors reflected the things they spend most of their time working on and thinking about, our answers would also likely very closely reflect our personalities, dispositions and upbringing.
Though there would certainly be a number of people who would disagree with me, (in fact, probably a large majority of people,) I don't believe there is one single answer that would reflect completely what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Certainly Jesus called his disciples to "Follow Me," but that following included myriad actions, attitudes and conversations. There are numerous instances of the phrase "God's glory" in Scripture, but I believe it is a little silly and myopic to believe that following Jesus can be summed up only in giving God glory, or "bringing fame to his name," as is preached in some circles. Mercy and Justice are clearly at the heart of the biblical witness, but so is worship, formation and redemption.
I believe this is an important exercise to do within a community, especially one as diverse as ours is at UBC, if for no other reason than this: Most of the conflict I have seen at churches have these two things in common-- 1. A multiplicity of beliefs about what it means to be a Christian (and, by extension, what it means to be the Church,) and 2. A vast majority of people in the church not seeing this multiplicity, assuming that everyone is, more or less, all on the same page, leading with the same things. This causes tensions about structure, decisions, worship styles and methods, not because of a disagreement about structure, decisions, worship styles and methods, but because of a fundamental misunderstanding of what other people within the community leads with in their understanding of Christianity and the church. All this leads to the proverbial "talking past each other," without anyone really knowing this is what is happening, assuming that the people with whom we disagree just doesn't "get it."
Take some time this week to think about this question. And if you care to take the risk, ask someone you know in our community how they would answer it. Are we on the same page? Probably not. But don't lose heart. Scripture is chock full of believers and followers of the risen Christ who have different conclusions, different nuances about their faith, all who live together and love each other, not in unison, but in harmony.
Final Summer Week
We had our last Wednesday night dinner and Enneagram conversation for the summer this week, and Sunday will be our last Summer Sunday school meeting time. On August 10th, 17th and 24th, I (Craig) will be in the Rock-n-Roll room from 9:30-10:15 for an informal Sunday School time, so that new visitors will not have that awkward hour wait before worship.
Fall Sunday School Kickoff
On Sunday, August 31st (a date most of us have etched in our brains for other reasons,) we will have an all-church Sunday School brunch at 9:30 in the backside. This will be a time to hang out, catch up, and for our fall Sunday School teachers to give a description of their classes, which will begin the next week on September 7th.
Emily would like for you to keep the art projects your kids have been working on this summer at church and bring them back by AUGUST 24TH. On August 31st we will have an Art Gallery featuring these masterpieces. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garage Sale Sorting
On Monday we will begin IN ERNEST sorting for the Garage Sale. Next week's project is primarily going to be centered on sorting clothes and getting them on racks, and then the next week we will work on all other items. If you have any amount of time during the day to give, we would love your help! And on Wednesday, continue to bring your dinner to eat at 6:00 an we will spent the hour from 6:30-7:30 sorting.
Garage Sale Workers
In order to make this a success, we need all hands on deck for the garage sale dates, which are August 16th and 18th. We need at least 40 slots filled on each day. There are sign up sheets in the foyer.
Work is Worship. Sunday August 3, 2014...
Coffee Makers: Sara Joyave and Vince Cooley
Cleaning Mugs: The Haines Family
Greeters: The Taft Family
If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members.
Chair: Jana Parker email@example.com
Kristin Dodson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kaley Eggers: email@example.com
David Wilhite: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie McGregor: email@example.com
Byron Roldan: Byron_Roldan@baylor.edu
Teri Walter: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC Finance Team
Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.
Tom Haines: email@example.com
Paul Taft: firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh McCormick: Josh.McCormick@dwyergroup.com
Chris Kim: email@example.com
Tom McCarty: firstname.lastname@example.org
UBC HR Team
If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.
Lacy McNamee: Lacy_McNamee@baylor.edu
Callie Schrank: Callie_Schrank@baylor.edu
Jeff Walter: email@example.com
Michael Heins: firstname.lastname@example.org