A Different Destination

A Different Destination

Author: Mark Fenstermacher
July 16, 2020

Sometimes life sends you off in an unexpected direction. The Bible is full of those sorts of stories, and I hunch your life is as well.

When our family was quite young, we had returned from Africa to Indiana unexpectedly. We assumed we would be heading back to the Congo. To prepare for that, our Mom went out and bought clothes enough for 3-4 years for the four children. She guessed at what our sizes would be, and she bought light summer clothing that would "work" in the tropics.

Then, the Board of Missions decided the Congo was still too unstable for us to return. We were asked to go to Nome, Alaska. The Indianapolis Star then did a story about our Mom taking all those clothes back, and rethinking what would "work" in the Arctic.

None of us (I feel confident writing that) assumed last Fall we would be living in the middle of a pandemic through most  -if not all- of 2020. None of us assumed that this time of physical distancing, masking and hand washing would be an ongoing thing but here we are.

In the middle of this strange season, even as we grieve for what we have lost (people tell me how much they miss worship, singing hymns, socializing before and after worship, Wednesday nights, etc.), God has opportunities for us to worship, connect and serve in new ways.

Someone, in a small group this week, asked me, "Do you know how long this is going to go on?" I immediately said, "No." Then, I added, "Let's look at what we can do as a church and not just consider what we can't do."

So I am asking you to begin praying and dreaming: assuming that this pandemic is with us most of this school year, what does worship look like? How can we offer people small group opportunities, resources for growing deeper in God, and life-changing serving opportunities inside and outside the church? Also, be in prayer for our staff as we enter into conversations this coming Tuesday and Wednesday about what we might do.

I am asking you to begin praying and dreaming because whatever God has in store for us will not be a "staff" thing but a "we" thing where laity dream and lead.

We were preparing for Africa but we ended up just about 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle: and there was life in a place we had never even considered as a possible place to live!

The prophet Isaiah, during a time of change, speaks this beautiful message to the people on God's behalf: "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."

Join us in the adventure!

See you in worship (in person at 10 a.m. or on-line) as we look at wheat and weeds.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Mark


First United Methodist Church
1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN 46706
office@auburnumc.church | 260.925.0885