Gabriel's Horn, Pastor Tim Smith, May, 2013

posted May 2, 2013, 7:00 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated May 2, 2013, 7:02 AM ]

Dear Friends and Members of Leola United Methodist Church,

 At our recent District Conference, District Superintendent, Pastor Jim Todd, talked about watching championship golf tournaments on television.  He noted that many of the games are played at “exclusive” country clubs.  Along the road is a large sign with the name of the club, with the note, “Members Only.”  It is obvious to anyone who drives past that only  members of the country club are welcomed.

Pastor Todd wondered if people driving past our churches feel that the church is for members only and off limits to them.  Unfortunately there might be people who feel that way.

Reflecting on his excellent message prompts the question, “What do we need to do at our church so that people know they are welcome here?”  Thousands of people pass our church on a daily basis.  I’ve shared previously that a delivery person told me that he comes by our church on a regular basis and never realized we were a church.  What may seem obvious to us may not be to other people.

            Later this month we will celebrate Pentecost, which is referred to as the birthday of the church. The believers were waiting and praying inside a house when the Holy Spirit dramatically descended upon them.  Filled with the Holy Spirit, the believers went outside, onto the street, and began speaking in other known languages that God’s plan of salvation is for all people. 

By God’s design there were people from all over the world meeting in Jerusalem that day.  The second chapter of Acts lists the home countries of those present.  Each person heard in their own language “about God’s deeds of power.” 

At first those present were confused and unsure what was going on.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, stood up to address the gathered crowd.  He explained what the arrival of the Holy Spirit meant citing the Old Testament prophet Joel.  He concluded his message by teaching about Jesus, how he was crucified and “God raised him up, having freed him from death.”   At the end of his message is the verse, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart...”  That day “about three thousand persons were added,” and the church was born.

            What would it take to attract people to our church?  What message will we present so that our guests are “cut to the heart”?  May each one of us ponder those two questions as together we strive to be the church of Jesus Christ in our community.  We have to continue to find new and creative ways to tell the story of Jesus.  The message does not change -- only the way we present it.

            Everyone is always welcome at our church!  We invite our friends and neighbors to our church.  We share our faith as a way of encouraging others.  When we see first time guests in our church, we personally welcome them. 

            See you in church, where we never know whom God will send our way!


Your Pastor,

Pastor Tim