Are You Weak Enough?
by Rev. Amy Shoemaker
This past weekend, we gathered for a wonderful retreat with Pastor Terrell McTyer from New Church Ministry. We revisited our Mission, Vision, and identified four core values shared within the group. These four core values will guide our ministry moving forward: Love, Justice, Community, and Inclusivity.
In his teaching during worship, Pastor Terrell said that our most important work is making Disciples - to help others become followers/students of Jesus. Our challenge together is not just to fill seats in our Sanctuary. Our deeper work is to be on a journey of learning together, learning to be more Christ-like... Loving the way Jesus said to love. Doing justice the way Jesus said to do justice. Being community the way Jesus said to be community. Being inclusive the way Jesus said to be inclusive.
Pastor Terrell shared that it isn't enough to believe in Jesus, we must also believe what Jesus said. He invited us to change ourselves to meet the needs of our community instead of asking the community to change themselves in order to fit into our structures, projects, and programs. Then, he shared an acronym to guide us as we embark on our Disciple making journey: WEAK. He invited us to examine the ways that our privilege (our ability to turn away from other people's experience) creates a binary between weak and strong, and prevents us from being weak enough to be inclusive.
Based on 1 Corinthians 9:22 "To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some," WEAK stands for:
W - Willing - we must be willing to change and be changed.
E - Empathy - understanding another person's condition from their perspective. People aren't problems, people have problems.
A - Affirmation - Notice, and verbalize what we notice to affirm it.
K - Know - If we're going to invite, welcome, and collaborate with people, then we first must really get to know people.
I highly recommend clicking here to view the recording of Sunday's service. Pastor Terrell's teaching starts about 17 minutes into the recording. Even if you experienced it live on Sunday, I recommend watching it again.
I also invite you to ponder a question Pastor Terrell posed for us: If privilege allows us to turn away from the experience of other people, what privilege do you need to give up (whose experience do you need to turn toward) in order to be inclusive the way Jesus was inclusive?