A Community of Faith in the Jupiter, Tequesta and Hobe Sound Area
The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
"We Have A Place For You."
The Rev. Dr. Douglas F. Scharf
Link will open in a new window.
Read Fr. Doug's blog for sermons, notes and more.
Everyone is a Minister
As part of this year’s Annual Parish Meeting, we reviewed the many accomplishments of 2018, which included the completion and initial implementation of our new strategic plan. Our strategic goals, strategies, and initiatives are wide-ranging and encompass almost every facet of our communal life as a church and school. As we begin to live into the reality of this new vision, it is important that we each reflect on the unique gifts we can contribute to this work. In other words, it’s not enough to simply answer the question, “what are we called to do?” We must also be able to answer the question, “how are we going to do it?” In response to this second question, I have outlined a three-part theme for the coming year – Engage, Equip, Empower. Over the next few months, I will be using my Tidings articles to explore each of these three topics.
Everyone ENGAGED in Ministry
One of the most basic definitions of the word “engage” is to participate or become involved. As we work to implement the goals and strategies of our strategic plan, we will clearly need the participation and involvement of everyone. This is a shared effort that will require the diversity of gifts and resources that are present within our community. However, the word “engage” can also refer to a covenant relationship, a commitment that we make to someone. For example, when two people pledge themselves to each other to be married, we refer to that commitment as their engagement. If we take this second definition of “engage” into account, then our calling is not simply to participate or be involved in the work of the church, but to fully enter into a covenant relationship with the community of God’s people. Engagement is about pledging ourselves to God’s mission and offering our whole selves to the amazing work of healing and transformation to which we are called.
Everyone is a MINISTER
This deeper understanding of what it means to be engaged in ministry also helps understand our identity as members of the Christian community. We are all called to be ministers of the gospel. We might exercise that ministry in a variety of ways, but everything we do in the name of Jesus is ministry. Whether it’s serving a meal to the homeless or folding bulletins for Sunday worship; whether it’s preaching a sermon or planting flowers in the garden; whether it’s greeting customers in Pennies for Heaven or grating cheese for a Lenten supper– it’s all ministry! In fact, many churches are no longer using the term “volunteer,” because the truth of the matter is “everyone is a minister.”
As we move into the next phase of our life together, God is calling each of us to be engaged in the work of mission in our homes, in our congregation, and in our local community. This is a calling we all share together as followers of Jesus and as God’s ministers of healing and transformation in the world. May God bless you always!