Most of us are probably familiar with the saying “Opinions are like belly buttons, everybody has one.” Or perhaps you’ve heard of opinions being compared to other things that can’t be mentioned in this blog! Well, in any case, here’s a new one: “Opinions are like birthdays, we all have one.” All of us at some point desire to share our opinion and most of the time we love celebrating our birthday.
In Luke’s gospel (19:1-10) we learn of the man Zacchaeus who sought to see Jesus, but because of his short stature had to take an alternate route to become involved. While Jesus knew Zacchaeus desired to see him, perhaps others didn’t. It seems no one went out of their way to make sure Zacchaeus made it through the crowd with all the others. Was everyone ignoring his presence because they didn’t like him as a tax collector? Was it because he was a little person; a different person? Perhaps it was a combination of several things that singled him out. Pastors very often in the weekly Call to Christian Discipleship exhort the gift of gathering as a community to nurture, nourish and seek a better understanding of our faith. We encourage our guests and visiting inquirers to prayerfully consider our congregation as their church home. Sometimes we may draw elsewhere in Luke’s gospel with a gentle reminder that…‘the harvest is plentiful yet the laborers are few.’ (10:2) Wouldn’t it be exciting for both the harvest and the laborers to be plentiful? Wouldn’t it be exciting if all the laborers felt included?
Ministry clusters, though not a new concept is a brilliant way to involve our entire congregation in the harvest. Upon my arrival at Logan Presbyterian in July, 2015, the formation of ministry clusters had been underway for several years upon the wise leadership of Logan’s Interim Pastor The Reverend Dr. Samuel Stevenson. This was a huge jump start to many of the goals and objectives I was hoping to get underway. The congregation was first assigned to a cluster based on their birthday. No escaping that one. Who could find an excuse to not participate? Each cluster has developed it’s own spirit, culture, and particular foci, yet at times they overlap.
The H.O.P.E. (Helping Others through Prayer and Encouragement) ministry (January-March) is an intercessory prayer and health awareness team. High Praise (April-June) encourages the expansion of hunger ministries year-round. The Servants (July-September) support programming for youth and senior adults; and the Light of Christ cluster (October-December) promotes child advocacy. Much of the work done by the clusters support the role of other ministries such as Worship, discipleship, evangelism and others. When the teams gather for their respective ministry meetings, they are also focused on prayer, and study of God’s word together. They are accustomed to supporting one another with ministry planning, implementation, encouraging one another, and holding each other accountable both individually and corporately for what is everyone’s responsibility. Often, ruling elders of each cluster lead discussions on various portions of the Book of Order for clarity and understanding among everyone. The groups gather quarterly to share and celebrate the joys of their respective ministries.
Just as Zacchaeus had the desire to be a part of the crowd seeking Jesus, many among us every week are longing for a way to become involved and guided towards sharing their gifts. It is incumbent upon all to extend an invitation--even within the walls of our churches. The opportunity to reach out, listen, agree to disagree is always before us. The opportunity to observe common denominators-- beyond opinions and belly buttons is as well. In so doing all may become involved learning to love one another as Christ first loved us.
~ Reverend Kaye Barrow-Ziglar - firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastor-Logan Presbyterian Church