“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” – Proverbs 29:18a
Dear Friends and Partners in Mission,
Okay, settle in, get comfortable, because this is going to be a long entry to “Pastor Pat’s Pen.” But, I hope you find it as exciting as I do.
The above passage from the 29th Proverb is written very literally on our church’s foundation. You pass by it every time you may enter the front doors. In 1993, when our current building opened its doors, a stone was dedicated with that passage engraved into the rock. And, there is truth to that statement, without a clear vision for the mission of the church, the members lose their zeal and passion and gradually the church begins its descent toward death.
But, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the celebration of Easter contain the promise of resurrection, not only for individual believers, but for the Covenant Family of God as well. And, resurrection is not only something that waits for us beyond the grave. Resurrection is something we can experience NOW.
Vision and Resurrection have been on mind a lot lately. I believe the Covenant Family of PCW has experienced a resurrection over the past few years. PCW possesses a palpable energy when we gather. We are now hopeful for the future of our congregation.
But, I believe PCW is far from “peaking.” I believe that God has a very unique call upon this congregation to impact the community of Washington. But, for the past couple of years, I have been trying to discern “how,” specifically, PCW can make an impact for the Kingdom of God in the mission field in which God as planted us.
When discerning God’s call to mission for a congregation, I have learned that the most effective method is to measure the church’s unique strength against the needs of the community. In other words, “What specific need of the community can PCW uniquely address?”
With the help and inspiration of other members, I believe that God is revealing a unique opportunity and vision for us. This is based on two realizations of examining PCW’s strengths and the community’s needs.
The first realization was learning that the two Meals on Wheels programs offered in Washington (Mercy Hospital and the Senior Center) do not offer a free weekend meal. It is true that the hospital does provide Meals on Wheels on the weekend, but it is at a cost. Also, the federal Meals on Wheels program is in danger of having its funding severely slashed.
The second realization was something everyone at PCW knows well. We have a great, commercial kitchen that surpasses most church kitchens in our community. I have long regretted that we don’t use this great asset more often. How great would it be to use this asset for God’s call to mission?
So, for the past couple of months, I have been praying and meditating on this possibility: Is God calling PCW to launch a weekend meal delivery ministry?
The theology of this ministry resonates with me greatly. Many churches expect the people they serve to come to them, come to the church, and you will be fed. However, Christ calls his church to GO! The church is called to bring good news to the poor, the elderly, the lonely, and the despondent. If PCW, with God’s help, can pull this ministry off, we would be impacting the community by literally entering the mission field and serving people face-to-face.
I have been in contact with the Senior Center, Mid-East Area Agency on Aging, Meals-on-Wheels in Springfield (which launched a similar ministry there) and the Harvest Table. With their input, I believe PCW could pull this off, and to me, that is VERY exciting! This is the kind of “Big Deal” ministry idea that could increase our visibility in the community and our public image. I would love for other people to hear about this idea and say, “Wow! Look at what those Presbyterians are doing! They are really trying to make a difference.”
For now, this idea is just a “Vision.” I am not saying that we are definitely committing ourselves to doing it every weekend, or even doing it at all. But, I do feel God calling us to give a weekend meal delivery ministry a “Test Run.”
You likely have lots of questions and possible concerns as you are reading this article. Trust me, other leaders of the church and I have been asking LOTS of questions about this possible ministry over the last month or so. And, I would love to answer your questions and concerns as well. So, feel free to contact me by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now, we do need help planning a test run. I have a small team of people who have already expressed interest in helping. I could use about three or four more to plan, research, and brain storm. If this vision speaks to you, if you feel a possible call, and you share even just a portion of my excitement, please let me know that you would like to help plan a “Test Run.” No specific meetings have been set so far. And, if you are not a member or participant at PCW, don’t worry, we would be very appreciative of any leadership or insight offered.
Blessings to you all in the name of the Resurrected Christ! He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!