I hope you’ll give me enough grace and forgiveness to brag a little bit. Not about me, but about Westminster. Surely God won’t mind a pastor bragging about his church, right?
On Sunday during the sermon, Rob Weingartner made the observation that in all his travel as the Director of the Outreach Foundation, he’s come to the conclusion that there are basically two kinds of churches: churches that behave as though they exist primarily for the sake of themselves and churches that behave as though they exist primarily for the sake of others. All weekend, Rob told us stories about churches around the world that are getting it right. Presbyterian Churches in China, Iraq, Ethiopia, Russia, and Syria find themselves with challenging situations at their doorstep, and they are reaching out to their neighbors with the love of Jesus. They aren’t thinking of their own preferences and comforts; they are thinking about sharing the Gospel with the people around them who need the most help.
I want to add another church to the list: Westminster. Just this last week, we were singled out by our partners at Mary Ford Elementary for the efforts we’ve made at making a difference in that school in the past year. In talking about Westminster, Principal Melesia Walden said, “it has been a trying year at Mary Ford, and while many are walking away from the school, Westminster Presbyterian keeps walking toward the school.”
Can I tell you how proud that makes me? We could stay put over on our side of the river, insulating ourselves from the problems that the Mary Ford children face every day, but instead, we go. Now there are all-stars like Jim F., Mona, Christine, Laura, Dee Bee, John, Howard, Jim D., Betsy, Rita, Dale, Karen, and Kyla. They have adopted a classroom or volunteer on a regular basis, but there is also a crowd of others who have supported Mary Ford through financial gifts, special relationships with teachers, donations of books and supplies, or Backpack Buddies. I bet more than 100 people at Westminster have supported the work of Mary Ford in some way in the last year. That’s an example of Westminster behaving as if we exist primarily for the sake of others.
And it makes me proud. Not because it brings glory to me or this church, but because it brings glory to the Lord Jesus when we show how we are here not for the sake of ourselves but for the sake of others.
Way to go, church!
Your not-so-humble Pastor,