Jesus' directions to Levi (Matthew) were simple. They consisted of just two words, “Follow me.” We do not know the tone in which they were spoken. What we do know is that Levi got up and immediately began following Jesus. Of course, as we read the text we discover that Jesus gets in trouble from the religious leaders of the day because he issued this invitation to Levi and then went and ate in Levi's house, with “tax collectors and sinners” (2:15b).
Some of us (all are invited) have begun a new journey of following Jesus. We have entered into a Covenant with other Evergreen churches to discover what it means to be a “missional” church. This involves our meeting with other Evergreen churches three more times in the next year (our first meeting was Sunday, September 12) and to work on some type of outreach project, or to enhance a project we are already involved with.
One of the key elements in the qualities of a missional church is that a missional church, “Invites all peoples into the mission as both the giver and receiver—not doing ministry to people or for people, but with people.” Many church projects are “for” people. We feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc. We give school supplies and back packs to local schools. We do this for but not with. In a missional church the people not only give but work alongside. In some ways we do this, but there is always room for improvement.
We also open our building to a number of outside groups, AA and Girl Scouts for example (another troop called this week to see if they could use our facilities). We are happy and delighted to be able to offer our space. However, a missional Church would seek ways to work with these groups. It would seek ways to walk along side and become involved. For example, the First Baptist Church of Pasadena, CA, offers a once a month worship service on a Friday night for the many attendees of their AA groups – they occasionally almost fill their Sanctuary.|
We did not reach this decision to become involved easily. We attended several meetings, heard some dire statistics about the future of the “church” and are concerned that in 20 years there will still be a FBC of MLT in some form (who knows the form to which God is leading). We are already involved in Wings to Reading. Many of you are involved in local projects and activities as you seek to follow Christ. We are not looking for another major project – we are simply seeking other ways in which can follow Christ by becoming more a part of our community.
We invite any of you who are interested to come and join us on the journey (we will let you know time and places). We know that not all of you can or want to be involved. But we do seek your prayers as we move forward. We will keep you informed and ask for your input from time to time. We probably won't change the world – but we may change our corner of it – and in it all we will be answering Jesus' call to “follow me.”