We Have the Power to Change // M-Note 7.22.23

In my message last week , I talked about the hardest part of being a pastor: addressing the past bad experiences people have had of churches or Christians. People see the way many Christians engage others on social media, watch the way Christians are involved in politics, or hear the way certain preachers talk about other people and come away thinking, “I don’t want to look like that!” More personally, there are too many people who have tried church only to experience more judgment than grace, more condemnation than love, more rejection than inclusion, and more indifference than compassion. It isn’t supposed to be this way.
Instead, Jesus calls us to be salt and light – to enhance the world around us; to contribute to the common good; to build up, not tear down. We are called to be a light that draws in and makes space for people to find their way to a God who loves them. Every week, this is what we are trying to do at The Gathering. It is why we are insistent that all people should have a place in the church and an opportunity to follow Christ. It is why we constantly try new things and launch new ministries to reach new people that perhaps have written the church off. It is why I am so eager to invite friends and am constantly urging you to invite your friends as well. Each week when we gather, we can change the way someone sees Church or those who follow Jesus. Each week, we have the chance to offer people love, compassion, opportunity, belonging, forgiveness, and grace.
This is why you should never underestimate the power of the church and your role in helping this kind of church to exist. Tomorrow, I will continue our series #Blessed. I will be talking about how we serve, and some of the mistakes we make when we think of serving others. This is a time of year when so many new people check out our church. If it has been a while for you, I hope you will come back and worship with me. If you have been coming regularly, maybe this is the week you take the chance to offer an invitation to a friend. It is a perfect message for new people to hear.
Additionally, as many of you know, The Gathering has been exploring a new site in midtown St. Louis that is particularly for young people. We have decided not to move forward with weekly worship in midtown. While we had a very committed launch team and exciting preview worship events, we have learned that right now the best way to reach new young people in our city is through creative monthly ministry. Madi Denton will continue to be our young adult pastor, and you will also see her weekly as our new online pastor. I am grateful for all the people who have been a part of this new ministry and hope you will continue that work. The Gathering is always committed to learning and growing as we experiment with new ministries, and we are confident this is the best way forward. We are still exploring other sites around St. Louis and will always keep you updated on new ministry plans.
I hope you have a great Friday and enjoy the momentary cool temperatures before it gets hot again. I look forward to seeing you Sunday!
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