A New Thing:
Good Bones, Shared Vision, Common Mission
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
“Behold, I am making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)
My wife has finally gotten me “mildly addicted” to Home and Garden TV (HGTV). The shows that interest me the most are the ones when the home is an absolute DUMP. By dump I mean a place where no person would want to live, few people could see anything good, and the costs of change are out of reach. One that comes to mind most readily is Home Town with Erin and Ben Napier.
Erin and Ben live in and love the little town of Laurel, Mississippi. They are on a mission to transform the quaint town, one home at a time. Their target market is folks with either history in Laurel and share their vision for renewal, or folks new to the area but share the vision of renewal.
The jest of the show is that Erin and Ben show up to three homes to persons desiring to live in Laurel. Overwhelmingly, these homes are dumps. Outdated houses often with water, bug, rot, damage on top of outdated wiring, plumbing, and HVAC. In short . . . . . dumps.
First, Erin paints a picture of possibility, a vision of what could be and the potential of each home. Then, Ben lays out the cost, how much cash it will take to achieve the vision. Once imaginations for transformation and new life are agreed upon, a house is purchased, and the mission to transform begins.
From demolition to unexpected surprises the house is transformed, and through the magic of television it all unfolds before our eyes in a short one-hour time slot.
The process is that Erin sees the “good bones”, “paints a vision” for the future, Ben tallies the cost, and all are committed to the mission of transforming Laurel, Mississippi.
The truth is that the show is not a bad model for the renewal, rebirth, and reclaiming of the church as a whole, and for St. Peter’s specifically.
Now, just to be clear, no one would call St. Peter’s a dump; and without question we have “good bones”. Our location is prime, much of our facility is largely new, and what is older just needs some real tender, loving, care. Our ministries are vital and growing. Worship is faithful and life giving. Our people seek to grow in discipleship, and many live out God’s call of discipleship with and through the support and empowerment of St. Peter’s.
However, as the Scripture above, from Hebrews (First Testament) and Revelation (Second Testament), reminds us, God is always at work renewing, reclaiming, and redeeming all things. Therefore, God is always at work renewing, reclaiming, and redeeming St. Peter’s. Behold, God is making all things new, even us. God clearly protects and preserves God’s people through trial and tribulation. However, God never makes any such promise to any congregation unwilling to “be made new” and transformed. In fact, one of the great joys of being the people of God in a congregation like St. Peter’s is being a part of God’s handiwork; as the strong foundations and good bones of the past meet new inspiration, new design, and new life in Jesus’ present and future.
It is the mission of St. Peter’s to Grow Grace. Live Hope. Serve Love. Our vision reminds us that the world should encounter Jesus in all that we say and do. Together, we are called to be active agents in God’s renewing work for the sake of all creation.
So, our “bones are strong” with a faithful past and present of introducing the fullness of Jesus to our community and beyond. There is a vision for impact, and a mission to drive us forward daily as God’s new creation. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
So, with a faithful mission and vision for the future, of what our ministry is becoming, we ask the question of “what’s the cost”? The good news is that the eschatological “cost” of God’s renewing work in Christ Jesus has been paid on the cross by none other than Jesus himself.
However, there are earthly, human, costs of time, talent, and treasure that play a vital role into Jesus’ call to discipleship. Our ministries happen because dedicated disciples give of these three, in order that God’s renewal takes place in this place.
As we transition from Spring into Summer, as needed vacations and reunions begin to unfold, remember God’s call to discipleship. As the disciples of Jesus at St. Peter’s take much deserved time away, other disciples are called to fill the gap in order to continue God’s ministry. As new opportunities for faithfulness arise, new talents are needed that they might bear fruit. And as the cost of ministry continues, your faithful financial support is vital to our mission.
Summer is a time of growth and renewal of God’s creation and God’s disciples.
Summer is also a time of growth and renewal of St. Peter’s.
Please, remember to be generous with your time in service of our mission.
Please, remember to be generous with your talents in service of our mission.
Please, remember to be generous with your treasure in service of our mission.
Know God’s time of renewal remains upon us, in order that all might meet Jesus through us.