From the Pastor's Desk: Growing the body of Christ – Cedar Valley Daily Times

Sunshine and clouds mixed. Slight chance of a rain shower. High near 75F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph..
Showers this evening, becoming a steady rain overnight. Low near 55F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
Updated: September 10, 2023 @ 3:46 am
Pastor Schunk
Pastor Schunk
Friends in the Community,
Greetings to each and every one of you from God our loving heavenly Father and our living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that this note finds all of you well during this first part of September!
When I became a pastor almost 20 years ago, I thought church was about being in a certain building at a certain time during the week. The members of the church were the people whose names we saw when we went through the congregation’s database. If their names were not on our database, then they were not people about whom we should be concerned.
Those people had their own pastors.
Since I had this view of the Church, I also thought it was my job to build the biggest congregation I possibly could. I had to be that pastor with the largest number of people in the database. This would prove that I was a great pastor and had the biggest church in the area.
I can tell you I was good at pew packing. I am a natural salesperson and could sell Jesus to people like no one else. There are not too many congregations in towns of 600 that add 85 members to their membership databases in three years!
When I look back at those days now, I cringe at what I was doing in that community and what I had done to that family of faith.
I know God loves me, and I am forgiven. I missed many opportunities to share God’s love with others because I was too focused on trying to be the pastor who could cause a church to grow so quickly. The people around me, at that time, were great at boosting my ego, too. I would tell them that what was happening was because of Jesus, and they would tell me I had something to do with it. That felt great!
Over time, my view of the Church has changed drastically. I no longer see the Church as being defined by a building, a time, a specific activity or a space. The Church is the body of Christ. It is made up of every one of God’s beloved children.
The Church is not about doing something special. The Church is about being something special. Its identity comes from Jesus who brought it together through His life, suffering, death and resurrection. The people who are members of this body are those who know that their lives have been deeply transformed by what God has done for them through Jesus.
When we have this view of the Church, we are able to place value on the people God has placed in our lives at just the right times. When we needed a friend to listen to us weep and mourn, God placed someone with us to listen to us and to comfort us. When we needed someone with whom we could celebrate, God placed someone in our lives to be excited with us and to smile with us.
This view of the Church also enables us to see the Church as always growing and changing.
When the Church is seen as a living being, we look for ways to bring more people into the body of Christ. We know that when more people are invited into a living relationship with Jesus, the Church grows. It becomes something very special.
As we grow the body of Christ, we need to remember this growth is not about a specific congregation or denomination. It is about growing together as the body of Christ.
This growing body of Christ is called to be a presence in this community. As the presence of the body of Christ, we are invited to show people, through our actions, what it means to be members of the Church. We do this because of the new identity we have through Christ who empowers us to feed the hungry, provide for those in poverty and to find ways to share God’s love with people of all ages! We do these things because of who we are and whose we are.
Just a thought…
Pastor Josh
Pastor Schunk
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Sunshine and clouds mixed. Slight chance of a rain shower. High near 75F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Showers this evening, becoming a steady rain overnight. Low near 55F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall near a quarter of an inch.
Rain showers early with some sunshine later in the day. High 68F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
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