From your pastor…
So those who welcomed Peter’s message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2: 41-42, NRSV)
This passage describes what happened on the day of Pentecost, what we now call the birthday of the church. Jesus had been resurrected, and the Holy Spirit came and empowered the disciples. Peter was no longer afraid to witness publicly that he was a follower of Jesus Christ. He began to preach a sermon in Jerusalem, and people began to listen and to respond. They turned away from evil, and turned toward God and became followers of Jesus Christ, too.
Since then, millions of people have become disciples of Jesus Christ. The church has grown and changed and been tested in some difficult times. The witness of God’s people cannot be stamped out. Here in our local congregation, the Holy Spirit is moving and bringing more people to encounter the Lord in this sacred space. We are thankful for our recent growth here at the Algiers United Methodist Church. We praise God for the people here. In preparing reports for our annual Charge Conference, I realized that we have had five new people to join as members this year, and the year is not over yet!
When a person joins the church, they are asked to declare some membership vows before the congregation. They are asked to support the ministry of the church through their prayers, their presence, their gifts, their service, and their witness. As the pastor, I meet with each individual before he/she joins to discuss faith, discipleship, and what church membership means. It is a commitment that a person makes to put their trust in Jesus as Savior and to commit to serving God in a local church, the body of Christ. Presence means simply attending church regularly and faithfully. Praying for the church is a spiritual discipline that enriches us and encourages one another in our faith journeys. Gifts include supporting the church with our money, our time, and our talents. Serving means that a person is planning to serve others through the mission efforts of the church and in the community. Witness helps us to realize that we represent Jesus and the church wherever we go and by the way that we live on a daily basis. It is a joy to be a part of a loving church family that is committed to helping each other grow in our faith and in our service, and in reaching out to welcome new people from our community into the Lord’s church.
May we pray and do all that we can to continue to grow in the number of people who are a part of this church and in the strengthening of our faith in Jesus Christ. We practice an open door policy, and do believe that everyone is welcome in God’s church. Invite someone to come and experience the love of God here this week!
Grace and peace,