The right question is deeply important as we turn our attention to 2017. As we look to the future and wonder how we are going to make it better, or make it at all, we should keep a singular question in mind. It is a question well illustrated by the following story by David Boyd.
"I first began to play for church at age 16. That first Christmas Eve service, just a few weeks since I had begun "performing" in church, the Pastor and those leading the worship met in the pastor's study for prayer before the service began. When I first began to play the organ for church I shook. Not just my hands, but my feet and my legs. And not just while I was playing-even before. I remember my pastor then-Rev. Barry Wolfe, a young man in his late twenties who shared that he used to get really nervous before he preached. "Yeah," I replied with great interest, "how did you get over it?", hoping he'd give me the secret. "Someone asked me the right question," he said. I waited with anticipation. Maybe he was going to give me that silly time tested strategy, "Just picture them in their underwear..." After the longest pause, Rev. Wolfe looked at me warmly and asked, "David...who are you playing for?" There was silence. He didn't say another word, nor did I. Neither of us needed to. I knew the answer, and he knew that I knew. I had stopped shaking.... "Go, play the prelude. God's waiting."
1 Corinthians 10:31 says, " So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God."
As we approach the new year, let us do so with boldness because we're asking the right quesiton, "Who am I doing this for?" If we answer that before we make our choices, 2017 will be filled with joy, purpose, and love. God bless you in the New Year!
When thinking about what it means to be a small church in the looming shadows of some of the largest churches in Pittsburgh, terms like small batch, artisinal, and hand-crafted seem to invade those inner conversations.
I found the above photo when looking for a cute logo to pair with these thoughts. I thought it was a joke, at first. And it is, sort of, but also true. You really can go to www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com and order a hand sharpened pencil with a certificate for $500. The artisan, in this case, is David Rees, who has written a book on how to sharpen a pencil. It is all a way of poking fun at the cultural movement of going back to traditional methods of cooking, crafting, and producing everything from pickles to pints of beer.
There is probably plenty to poke fun at in that movement, and certainly things have gotten just about as silly as paying $500 for a hand sharpened pencil, but the original thought behind the terms is still valid. Do things slowly, on a smaller scale, with loving concern for excellence.
As a church, there is a Biblical model for this. Churches of the 1st century were home churches, with probably just enough folks to fit around a dinner table. The scripture encourages us that there doesn't have to be a full house to invite the most important guest to church.
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’
Paul also calls us to do everything with that same "hand-crafted" care when he writes,
"Let all that you do be done in love."
Through the small, loving steps we take with Christ at our side, Brightwood Christian church is positioned perfectly to help brighter days to come to the hearts of our members, our neighbors, and the world. Call it what you want, artisinal, small, batch, hand-crafted, or boutique, this is the little church that can, this is the small community about to make a BIG difference.
Wherever you are in life, whatever you are going through, or how tall the mountains are you need to climb, or how long your to-do list is, remember those words from the scripture. Gather your community around you in the name of Jesus, do the right thing, and do it with love. There now, you are officially a hand-crafted Christian!
Rev. Jana Quisenberry is the minister at Brightwood Christian Church. She's an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, She now resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband, two children, and dog, Sookie. Pastor Jana loves the church, science fiction, and coffee.
Please note, links in the blog send you to Amazon, and a portion of the proceeds of the sale go to benefit the ministry of the church. Pastor Jana only includes those resources that she endorses and that can be of benefit to your faith life. Thank you for your support.