Amanda and Jeannette helping with the rest of the team getting ready for worship and for communion with Goldfish(TM) and juice box grape juice
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19).
That passage was the focus for our first worship service with 150+ English-speaking folks. The students did a fantastic job leading music and we were challenged with a message by Pastor Ric about the North American churches’ lack of focus on the “good news to the poor” for many decades. In fact, his message lines up with much of my reading in theology lately about the need for the church to be missional once again, to engage the world outside of the church building and to focus on disciple-making, not simply butts in the seats.
Frankly, if there is a silver bullet to turn around the United Methodist Church, that’s it: a relevant missional community of faith. In reality, there are numerous factors that need to be changed but that one would literally make the United Methodist Church different overnight. It is why many churches are committed to “Change the World” on April 24. The missional (service) focus is one of the reasons I love working at Dakota Wesleyan: they have been missional for many years and are a great model of how the church should act.
The second service, all in Spanish, found us comprehending little of the service but thoroughly enjoying the music, practicing our ability to sing in Spanish, and clap for long periods of time! We found out later the service focused upon building character in our lives. I’m sure it was awesome.
A great moment after worship: we bought chocolate-covered bananas and strawberries for a youth fundraiser. Eating outside, we watched one of the children pet a stray dog with his strawberry and proceeded to immediately to bite it. A collective “no!” came out of our group. Charity replied “that’s how you build a great immune system.”