Pastor Josh asked the staff of BUMC several questions about how they have seen God at work in the church, their experience with Jesus, and the future of the church. This post from our Treasurer, Becky Petterson, is the first post in this blog series connected to the videos released these last couple of weeks and our sermon series: What Did I Sign Up For? Enjoy!
By Becky Petterson
How have you seen God at work in the church this last year?
God has definitely been at work in our church this past year through worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, and mission. Pastor Josh uses God's word to work in our lives. He helps us understand it and gives godly guidance and advice through his sermons and individual staff meetings. There are many solid Christians in the congregation with whom we can also share advice and who help us grow spiritually.
We are God's hands and feet and through callings and assignments to help with programs over the last year, we have had many opportunities to serve and lead.
The following are just a few examples of programs and opportunities in which our congregation has participated that show God is at work in our church through serving others, praying, and experiencing new life and growth:
Small group lent study, sanctuary computer and camera system to facilitate worship and to reach those outside our church, a growing Sunday school population, happy bear program, Mexico mission trip, a coffee bar where people can hold meaningful conversations, donations made to God's storehouse, a developing website and app, laundry outreach, VBS, blessing blankets, prayer blankets, prayer partner program, setting up studio, prayer day, Thursday Bible study, UMCOR donations, UMW funeral dinners, apportionment payments, a growing youth group, three new child protection class certifications, new lighting and fan stabilization in the sanctuary and narthex and resources for upkeep on the Parsonage including a dehumidifier, new appliances and counter top, and developing congregational leadership.
What excites you about our church today?
What excites me about our church today is that God is working in our pastor, leading the pastor and working in the congregation. One of the big things many of us need, including me, is to work on evangelism and to develop a burden to witness and pray for people to be saved. I want to witness but I need to learn how to do it better. I think the congregation is craving a revival and they want to see the unchurched reached.
How is Jesus working in your life?
I know Jesus is working in my life because I have more of a desire for God now than in the past. I think he is changing my heart and giving me new desires to read my Bible and pray. I enjoy quiet time to just sit and listen for him to talk to me and give me his wisdom to know how to respond to what is going on in my life. I find myself not worrying as much; instead, I turn my problems over to him to solve when I know I cannot do something myself.
What God-sized dream do you have for the future of our church?
I know a “God-sized dream” is one that could not take place unless God intervenes to accomplish the goal. My “God-sized dream” for our church is to utilize small groups more, as there are several benefits to small groups.
Everyone needs a sense of belonging and this is a great way to foster closer relationships. People talk more in small groups and can more easily develop friendships.
Inviting someone to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a believer directly into a community of believers – watching them live out their faith, listening to them pray, hearing them share God's work in their life, and learning more about the Bible. The non-believer is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers. Small groups are a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among non-believers in the community.
Instead of just listening to preaching and teaching, small groups allow for discussing the Sunday sermon, talking about a spiritual battle, or simply praying for one another. Small groups create a context for Christians to live out their faith in real life.
When held in a home, small groups provide a comfortable atmosphere for openness. Homes are more comfortable places than a pew; they are places where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow.
Small groups help cultivate leadership. Someone has to lead a small group meeting, or at least facilitate the discussion, there is a leader, other than the pastor, which gives opportunities for leadership development within the church.
Get your reaction to this quote: “Attempt something so big, that unless God intervenes, it is bound to fail.”
“Attempt something so big, that unless God intervenes, it is bound to fail” makes me think about my prayer life. I pray that God will give me the boldness to come to Jesus through prayer with God size prayer request, and then believe by faith that he will hear and answer my prayers. It will be my faith, not my doing or how hard I try, that will allow God to answer my prayers.