(this message was read at the October 9, 2022 worship service)
Over the next several Sundays, I want to let you know about some of the work your Board of Governance has been doing to strengthen the mission and vitality of Covina UMC.
Today, I have four questions:
What is our work as Christians? I’ve often asked myself this question. For example, I’ve heard many sermons on the power of prayer. I pray, but I’m not really a “prayer warrior.” Charlene is a prayer warrior; Pastor is a prayer warrior; Patti is a prayer warrior. Prayer is powerful and prayer is important, it’s just not my main calling.
Which makes me wonder: What is my work as a Christian? As you know I am involved in our worship services. I sing in the choir and as a cantor. I help with the sound and with the Livestream. Worship is my work as a Christian, but since I joined the Board of Governance, I have been more involved with planning the future of our whole church.
This has led me to ask: What is the United Methodist Church’s work as a Christians? I grew up a Methodist, then I sang and directed in other denominations for several years. When I returned to Methodism here at Covina, I was impressed with the outreach work of the church; I was reminded that Methodists are doers. We are the hands and feet of God. Back when I arrived at Covina UMC in the ’90s, many of you were working with the Mexicali Mission, LOVE INC, Church on Wheels, Newspaper Recycling, Meals on Wheels, Methodist Mates, BASIC and other programs that served our congregation and our community. All of this work reminded me that Methodists are doers. We are the hands and feet of God.
So: What is Covina UMC’s work as Christians? I’ve been thinking about our strengths as a congregation and how we can better use those strengths to further the work of God. I think that our people are our strength, but I believe that right now our biggest strength is our property.
We are blessed to have inherited a 4-acre campus with a beautiful fellowship hall, Sunday School classrooms, a garden chapel, parking lots, an administration building, and of course, this spectacular sanctuary. Maybe this question should be, “Are we using God’s property in the best way possible to further His kingdom?” Or perhaps this question should be, “Could we use some of our property to feed the hungry or to house seniors or to cloth the poor?”
Our conference has connections to non-profit developers who can transform some of our buildings into just these types of loving services. We provide the vision, and then they do the planning, they do the building, and they do the managing. Most importantly, the developer solicits financial assistance from grants, government and non-profit agencies. Our church leadership has asked them to come and help us dream about our work as Christians.
We are at the very beginning of possibilities. In Isaiah 43:19 God says: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. . .” I don’t know if this is the path that God wants us to travel. I don’t know if we’ll do anything about it at all, but I want to see where God will lead. I believe that together, Covina UMC can do Powerful Things for the Kingdom of God…
I started with four questions and leave you with two new questions:
“Are we currently serving as the hands and feet of God?”
“Could we repurpose part of our campus to have a larger impact on our community and the Kingdom of God?”