Before dying, Rabbi Zusya said to his disciples, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses? Why were you not David? Why were you not Abraham?’ No. In the world to come they will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zusya?’ ”
At the beginning of a New Year, 2017, when we ask ourselves who and what we should be, and why we have not been what we should, there is much to learn from Rabbi Zusya’s words. Small groups and intentional prayer hold us accountable!
For several decades, our church and immediate geographical neighborhood have been in a severe change mode. Some have noticed it; many have not. Church members ask me occasionally “why can’t our church be more like White’s Chapel UMC (in Southlake) or more like FUMC, Mansfield?” Granted we used to be something like those churches—maybe better (?)—then. But now—we are much different. Now, God calls us to respond to our neighborhood community and to offer the gospel as a “regional church” might offer the good news of Jesus Christ. We have not been “a suburban” church for twenty-five years or more, and perhaps it is an act of faithfulness to notice.
To paraphrase a rabbi: “In the coming world, they will not ask FUMC, Arlington: ‘Why were you not Arbor Lawn UMC? Why were you not First UMC, Plano? Why were you not First UMC, Wichita Falls?’ No. In the world to come they will ask: ‘Why were you not FUMC, Arlington?’ ”
Thus I propose to our entire congregation, via Church Council, that we continue a strategy that a minister friend of mine, Rev. Ken Diehm, and I fashioned adapted to our setting called the “One Mile Mission.” The core motivation is to get each and every significant group in our church (Sunday school classes, choirs, Bible Studies, the staff, prayer cells, young adult ministry, or even a family unit, etc.) to advance one mission operation in Christ’s name within a one-mile radius of the altar cross in our Sanctuary.
The proposed idea has a twofold purpose. First, the “One Mile Mission” introduces us to our neighbors and neighborhood. Second, the “One Mile Mission” introduces our neighbors and neighborhood to us. You may ask “what is a “significant group?” I say it is “where two or three are gathered” for where you are in Jesus’ name, there he is too (Matthew 18:20). No group at FUMCA is too small or too large.
Pray about our “One Mile Mission!” In addition, recognize this is why God called us in the first place. Start a new group that focuses on a one mile mission.
Our Small Group Communities Lunch & Launch is this Sunday, in the Banquet Room, at 12:15 pm.