A Noisy World, a Silent Church

Acts 2: 1-8, 14, 22-24

Why share our faith? Mission field is around each one of us; in church, in the pews around us. There are shifts in our culture and attitudes about religion. Old assumptions that no longer hold about why people go to church. We want to see through eyes of the unchurched or those who have not attended in many years. We share our faith so the church has a future.

Talking about faith comes naturally for some of us. And for many of us having conversations about faith is daunting. We’re afraid of saying the wrong thing. Or of being offensive. We wonder if we really know what to say? So we often stay silent and don’t share much about church, or our prayer life, or the questions of faith that are working on us. I will always remember a devout church secretary who felt flustered when a young man came by the church office and wanted to know what we believed and if faith could help him. No one else was around the office at the time and she gave her own heart-felt responses. Later, as she was telling about this she kept saying, “Pastor, I didn’t’ fell like I said the right things.” I assured her that her caring presence spoke volumes and was probably more important than having the precise words. 
 
The mainline church has been way too silent in talking about faith. I’m convinced that’s one reason evangelical churches have grown. They have a willingness to share what faith in Jesus Christ means to them and invite others to follow Jesus with them. In the gospels Jesus trains and prepare the disciples to talk about faith and his new vision of a Kingdom of God. It did take the disciples some time to figure out how to share their faith in authentic ways. I think of the Pentecost story where the Holy Spirit comes and touches the disciples with “tongues of fire” and then the disciples begin to share the story of Jesus in new ways and speak to the people of Jerusalem and beyond. The striking thing in the Pentecost story is how people from many different languages and cultures are all able to hear the gospel story. It makes me wonder, how can we share the gospel today in ways that people who have not been a part of church can hear and understand us the story we have to share? Our language can often sound far too “churchy.” How can we talk so others will listen? The words and actions we do in worship can seem foreign to newcomers so it’s valuable for us to explain more or at least not assume that everyone worshipping with us will comprehend what we are doing. I believe God will help us figure out how to do a better job of this. On our Sunday of Labor Day weekend, we’ll worship God who is always speaking to us and has such important work for us in sharing the good news of Jesus.

 

Dave Summers
Senior Pastor
pastordave@pvumc.org
602-840-8360 Ext 131

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