Pastor Mark’s eNote – Offerings
Hamilton Mill United Methodist Church is a place that offers. It is our calling, our reason for being. We offer the grace of God. We offer the message of salvation in Jesus Christ. We offer a place of worship and prayer, along with opportunities for study and personal growth. We offer meaningful activities and programs for children and youth, support and care for young parents, meaningful connection for empty-nesters, outings and fellowship for seniors; we try to offer something for all ages and stages of life. We offer assistance to people who are struggling in our immediate and wider community, and, through the United Methodist Church, we offer help and relief around our conference, nation and world.
We offer stuff.
We offer because it is our calling, but we also offer because it is really all we can do. After all, we can’t require people to worship God or study the Bible or even sit at a table on Wednesday night and eat dinner. And we certainly can’t require people to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior (The church tried that a couple of times; it didn’t work). All we can do is offer. We offer a way of life, a place of grace, a message of hope, and we pray that people will take us up on it.
I think you get the point. The church is a place/people/institution built of offerings, sometimes tangible and always spiritual. Look at our mission, our ministries, our programs, our message. Here is what we do: We offer.
And, yes, all that we offer for God AS the church is built upon what you and I offer TO God FOR the church (You knew that was where I was heading, didn’t you?). Your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness make possible the church’s offerings in the name of Christ.
Simple and true: The place that offers Christ is built upon the offerings of Christ’s people.
Over the days ahead, I invite you to pray about what the church offers and what you can offer the church. It’s important. We aren’t going to hound you; we aren’t going to cajole; but I do invite you to consider the ministries of our church both within the walls of HMUMC and beyond. You are a part of that ministry; you receive what is offered, and, as a member of the Body of Christ, you offer what others receive. Strange how that works, isn’t it? We are always recipients of the grace of God, and we are always sharing that grace with others.
When it comes to the church, I suppose nothing is really required of us. But, with joy and thanksgiving, in dedication and faith, with hope and prayer, WE church members offer ourselves so that WE, the church, can offer Christ.
Rev. Mark Westmoreland