Most churches begin the fall season with a Rally Day (at least that is the way it has been for as long as I can remember). The concept builds on the idea that we have all been busy and gone our separate ways during the summer and now is the time to come back together. We kick off a new year of Children’s Church and the program year begins again. One year my husband’s church unveiled a special theme for rally day – “Come Back to Church”. It seemed like a brilliant theme in planning, but when the banner went up outside the church it appeared less like an enthusiastic invitation and more like a plea of desperation.
We certainly hope that you won’t see our theme for this year as a desperate act, but as a rally cry for faithful living. Our theme – “LIVE IT OUT!” has a story behind it. When I was interviewing with the fine search committee from BCC there seemed to be a recurring theme. They told me of the restructuring they had just gone through. They shared with pride that they had recently become an Open and Affirming congregation. They were excited about all the mission and ministry they were already engaged in and the leadership they had in place to serve the church. “All we need,” they said, “is someone to help us live it out.”
Their words stuck with me. I found that all those wonderful things were true about the church and then some. This is a place of spiritual integrity, authentic mission and many, many called and gifted people. All we need to do is Live It Out! We need to continue to live out of our faith in mission. We need to live into our Open and Affirming designation. We need to live out our desire for relevant worship. WE NEED TO LIVE!
In the gospel of John Jesus says, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” It is in living out our faith that we have that abundant life, that vitality we seek. Our theme offers a challenge to reconnect, renew, and revitalize. We are each encouraged to connect with an aspect of our church’s ministry or mission that stirs something in us and to share. Yet, this challenge is about more than just personal spirituality. As a faith family we are called to share that vitality, that life, into our community and our world. We are called in particular to bring life and vitality to those places in our world that are dead or dying. We don’t have to look far to see need and longing, division and disconnection. Those are the places into which Jesus sends us and where our life is needed the most.
We hope that you will embrace this theme throughout the year. We pray that you find some renewed vitality in every aspect of the church. We will begin this September by exploring together what Communion is all about and how our sharing at the table can be life-giving.
So do come back to church! Come and connect so that you can live out your faith into the world!