Pastor Dan Smyth
YOU HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE
Recently I picked up one of those - "Alexa Things" - you know, all I have to say is, "Alexa, turn on den light" and instantly the light comes on. Now I have - Siri for my phone and Alexa for my home - both following my commands. "Siri - find this or that address or business" in my car - "Alexa - turn on or off" - whatever is in my home. The New Technology in 2021 is incredible and what I've described is only a tip of the techno iceberg. Have you ever asked Alexa to tell you a funny joke? They are pretty good!
I remember back in the 50's when my Dad used voice commands. I was Alexa. Turn on this or that - start the car - turn the temperature to this setting or that. THINGS WERE DIFFERENT BACK IN THE 50'S.
Why do so many of us keep up with the changes in our society - like smart phones - flat screen TV's with live streaming apps - CARS WITH SMART COMMANDS - but when it comes to CHANGES IN THE CHURCH - many are hesitate to embrace it?
SO MUCH OF WHAT WE DO - IN THE CHURCH - IS WHAT WE DID BACK IN THE 1950'S.
Maybe CHURCHES FIND IT HARD TO CHANGE because there is a confusion of what's - 'OF THE WORLD." The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Romans 12:2 and tells us:
"Do not allow this world to Mold You in its Own image. Instead, Be Transformed from the Inside Out By
Renewing Your Mind." - 9THE VOICE)
Back in the 1950's, I remember much of the confusion was about - How You Looked and How You Dressed. You should look like "A Christian" - clean cut, different than a - "Person Of The World." We were to be seen as different from them - not so much by how we treated others as to how we dressed. That's how I was raised. When I grew a mustache - church members would tell me it looked, "worldly." HOWEVER, a wardrobe is not what it's ALL ABOUT. It's CHRIST IN USE - THE HOPE OF GLORY. Whether in blue jeans or a tux - WE ARE ALL CALLED TO LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR.
DURING THE PANDEMIC - ST. MARK EMBRACED NEW TECHNOLOGY
Being The Church when the pandemic hit last year was challenging for all Faith Groups - including St. Mark. It took lots and lots of people - CREATING A NEW WAY FORWARD IN MINISTRY - using the New Technology available today. It took a willingness to embrace the new tech, as well as the courage to learn so many new tools and new ways of doing ministry.
The pandemic brought challenging decisions to be made, as to where and when groups would meet - inside or out - to keep one another safe. The there were the - NEW VIRTUAL CONNECTION CHALLENGES. Purchasing and learning the latest technology - setting up, recording and making ministry happen to the outside world. We all learned by doing.
THINGS ARE DIFFERENT TODAY
St. Mark Embraced the Challenge Well by Working Together as a Diverse Group
CLERGY - STAFF - LAITY LEADERS AND LOTS OF FAITHFUL VOLUNTEERS
There were so many of us - ALL OF DIFFERENT GENDERS, AGES, AND BACKGROUNDS - working together - Being the Church in today's rapidly changing world. It meant embracing the latest technology and learning to be a virtual church for a new world. Ministering to all ages in all new ways - at all three of our campuses. A task that is unique in the SC Conference!!
So I say - A BIG THANK YOU - to all who have stepped up and learned SOMETHING NEW! Thank you to all who inspired someone else by teaching and training, and Thank You to all who have served in leadership positions, support roles and ALSO to the many who have served on committees and in small groups. With God's help you have made a difference! What a wonderful gift I received, working with you all!