Pause with Pastor Joel – February 6, 2023

It’s important to never forget that we are part of a larger church. We can tend to get focused on our own individual congregation, forgetting that we are a part of the body of Christ not just in Goodrich United Methodist Church, but in Goodrich and in Michigan and in the United States and around the world.
Your pastor is also more than just the pastor of Goodrich United Methodist Church. I currently serve in two positions: one as a member of the committee in our district, the East Winds District, that oversees the clergy and those becoming clergy in our district and the other is as a member of the Board of Directors for the Michigan Area Camping program.
The group I’m a part of in district is called the District Committee on Ordained Ministry and its job is to interview people who are seeking to become pastors and to check in on an annual basis with pastors that aren’t ordained, but serve in local church ministry – we call these people Licensed Local Pastors.
As a member of the Camping Board, we oversee the camping ministries in Michigan. That currently consists of three properties. We oversee and set policies and procedures for those facilities as a whole and also oversee an Executive Director who directly oversees the other staff in the camping program.
These are ways in which I serve in the larger church. As a member of Goodrich UMC, you might not often hear about these activities. I also mentor another younger pastor.
All of this is to say, I’m connected and doing ministry not just in our local congregation, but in the larger church as well.
So are you. You may not realize it, but the ministry you do at Goodrich is part of the larger ministry of the church universal. All believers in Christ unite their efforts to create the kingdom of heaven here on earth.
It’s important that we not forget this. Otherwise we can  become too self-centered and develop a kind of Christian tunnel vision. We must always seek to broaden our vision and see that what we do as Christians does not just matter where we are, but matters around the world, throughout the universe and in the kingdom of God.
People sometimes talk about the “Butterfly Effect,” which is the idea that when a butterfly flaps its wings, while it may seem like a small thing, it still creates a tiny wind current that could affect things around it and throughout the world. This is the nature of Christian life and ministry. We never do anything alone, independent of others.
This is true of the good we do as well as when we sin. Adam and Eve’s sin affected not just them, but all of humanity from then on. It’s the same case with our own sin and with the good we do as well. It has ripple effects that we may not even realize.
Yet, while we may not realize just what those exact effects are, that does not excuse us from being cognizant that they DO HAVE an effect.
Today, I invite you to reflect on the larger church and your part in it. I serve as a pastor not just at Goodrich UMC, but across the conference and each of our own Christian lives is expressed here where we are as well as throughout God’s kingdom and world.
It means we must consider what we do at all times because every moment, every action and every thought is vitally important.

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