Most of us want our lives to matter and have meaning.  If we truly want that, then we cannot be passive with our life story.  We are called to step out and connect with people and purposes we believe in with our heart and faith.  On some occasions we decide to participate or be involved in something.  Other times, it is another person that invites or encourages us to connect with an activity we would otherwise not normally choose.  Either way, growth occurs in us the moment we choose to engage and invest ourselves.

If one reads and reflects on the ministry of Jesus, this pattern of engagement is very similar.  There are some invited by Jesus to follow.  Others take it upon themselves to seek Jesus out.  Still others happen to be in the path of Jesus and become engaged in following because of their experience and encounter with him.  Jesus appealed to all people and even people some thought should not have followed but did despite public opinion.  Consider just a few of the types of people captured by their engagement with Jesus in his ministry: fishermen, tax collectors, lepers, women, Roman soldiers, blind and disabled, insider, outsider, outcast, men, women, children, Jew, Gentile, Samaritans, and many others.  The lives of all these people were radically and wonderfully changed because they chose to engage a relationship and discipleship with Jesus.

Today, the living example of Jesus is supposed to be the church.  The church is an unusual organization.  The church’s purpose is grounded in the identity and ministry of Jesus Christ.  We join because we believe in God and seek to follow Jesus as an example of our lives.  The church’s energy is created by our level of engagement.  It is a blend of what we put into the church as well as what we receive from the church.  The higher the level of engagement the greater the feel of strength and vitality is created.  If we choose to dance around the edge of church with not much engagement, then the energy drawn from the church is not as significant.  If we choose a deeper engagement with our level of involvement in worship, study, outreach, and fellowship then the energy created is multiplied for you as well as those around you.

The church is not to be a consumption-oriented organization.  We are not to arrive and get filled up with what we need.  The church is a living organism that thrives when its members are seeking a closer relationship with God, Christ, and others.  The deeper our engagement grows it creates an organization that becomes a positive contagious place.  I want to encourage all of us in 2020 to consider our engagement level at Rush Creek.  What energy will we give to the church?  What impact are we willing to make?  What depth is possible with our faith?  Secondly, I want you to consider inviting others to join you in your engagement.  Is there a person that you want to invite to share in that church experience?  Is there someone you miss seeing you think would benefit from the activity you are planning to attend?  There is great power and witness in an invitation to another to join you in a ministry activity or program.

Let this year of 2020 be about “ENGAGEMENT”.  Let the spirit of Christ be at work in all of us as we seek to grow our church and be a witness within and beyond the wall of our church.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Dr. Christopher Wilson