Hopefully you know that the Church Council decided it was time to update the Mission Statement of Westerhope Methodist Church. It was felt that the previous one was ‘wordy’. Following a ballot the one that was chosen was ‘To know Jesus and to make Jesus known.’ Thanks to those who voted and who came along as we thought about what we do now ‘To know Jesus and to make Jesus known’ before thinking about what we might add to that. The Church Council meets on 4th July to see how we might put some of the ideas into practice. We will continue to look for ways that we can know Jesus better and how we can make Jesus known through the things that we do and the things that we say.
I know that many of you have ‘known Jesus’ for a long time and, like me, you have had a connection with the church from a young age, whereas for others you have only got to know Jesus recently. We know from the Gospels that Jesus met many people during his ministry but few knew the real Jesus. The men he called to be his disciples were with him for 3 years and probably thought that they knew him well but even then he was able to surprise them. Some, including the Pharisees, knew that he came from Nazareth, but that made them question who he was as ‘nothing good came out of Nazareth’. Those who really knew Jesus were people who had been cast aside by other members of society. However long we have been members of the church doesn’t mean that we know Jesus as well as we should. We only really know someone when we continue to deepen our relationship with them. When we take a relationship for granted then we cease to know the person as well as we did and the relationship breaks down. We can know with our head but to know Jesus fully we also need to know Him with our heart. As Paul says in his first letter to Corinthians chapter 13 ‘Now I know only in part: then I will fully, even as I have been fully known’. We need to continue to know Jesus better.
When we know Jesus our response should be to make Jesus known. At the end of Matthew’s gospel Jesus told his disciples to ‘Go into the world and make disciples of all nations’. That is something that we are all called to. We are all responsible to make Jesus known. This may make you feel uncomfortable but we can make Jesus known not only through our words but also through our actions and our building. We can ensure that we make Jesus known through the welcome they receive when they visit the building including through the things on display. The kindness that rose to the fore during Covid 19 is being eroded. Throughout Jesus’ ministry he lifted up the lowly and in Matthew 25 v 31-46 he told his listeners that they needed to feed the hungry, to give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked. Taking time to notice people that others would overlook, to give thanks to those who serve us are all ways of making Jesus known through our actions.
As we take a rest from our normal routine over the summer I encourage us all to ensure that we do what we can to deepen our knowledge of Jesus and to do what we can to make him known through the things we say and do and to come back refreshed and renewed to embed our new mission statement: To know Jesus and to make Jesus known.