Starting Over

Some call it the Methodist Mingle. Of course, it is not a UM phenomenon; all denominations must be aware! In many communities there are several UM congregations. For example, I could drive from our church and be at another UM church within five minutes; if I went the other direction I could be at another church as well. Give me eight minutes and I am at another UM place of worship. That is a blessing in many ways. It certainly opens up great possibilities for us to flex our connectional muscles.

Generally, though, what it is good for is when church members get upset. Perhaps it was something the pastor said. Maybe it was something the Ad Council did not do. Or, word gets out about the new service the other church is doing. Usually, however, it begins with a disagreement with someone else or another family. When those things happen, people mingle.

The blessing becomes an easy exit strategy.

So, people move from one congregation to another. It has happened in every community I have been in. When someone upsets us or we cannot work something out, many of us go to church somewhere else, if we keep going. I cannot tell you how much that bothers me. The way we handle disagreements leaves a lot to be desired. Your church has probably experienced something like that. If not, then you just do not know about it.

As the church, we are supposed to be peculiar. Unfortunately, that means very little in many regards. Considering all that, this sermon is very meaningful for me. Jesus gives us a plan of action for when someone in the church wrongs us. If we pay attention he shows us that though the scenario may have began with someone else’s action, it ends with yours. Jesus tells us what we should do. We also notice that within the process there is room for healing, restoration and renewal. But we have to be willing.

So, I say all that so I can say this, here is our sermon from yesterday’s worship service. It is entitled Starting Over, and considers Jesus’ word about dealing with someone in the church who has wronged you. Like always, I would appreciate your feedback.

++If you are reading by email, click here to listen to the sermon.++

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