Offertory Prayer

Each month's Offertory Prayers includes an "Invitation to the Offering" (see below) along with a digital image for those who might want to use it. We hope you will find this a helpful way to remind the people in your pews that their offering travels to many places to make a powerful difference in the lives of people they may never meet. You can find great stories of the difference our giving makes at http://umcgiving.org.

nvitation to the Offering
The offering you made last week empowered ministry within our congregation and in response to the needs of our community. It also helped support the work of ministries beyond the local church, such as Camp and Retreat Ministries that not only touch and shape the lives of children and youth, but adults of all ages as well. While these ministries happen within the boundaries of our annual conferences, resources and training come through a variety of networks, coordinated through the office of Camp and Retreat Ministries at Discipleship Ministries. This office is working to make leaders better prepared and helping those committed to these ministries see the challenges the future might hold. This ministry happens, thanks to the way the people of The United Methodist Church live and give connectionally. I invite you to give generously as we worship God through sharing our gifts, tithes, and offerings.

May 24, 2015 – Day of Pentecost
Living God, you are the Lord of all! Only you can send your Spirit to bring us new life. You graciously speak your word of hope in times of struggle and uncertainty and in times of joy and peace. We are grateful that you are continually at work in our lives and the world to fulfill your promises. May our giving today show our trust in you. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Ezekiel 37:1-14)

Learn more about the Camping and Retreat Ministries at: www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources/camp-retreat-ministries.

May Offertory Prayers were written by the Rev. Rosanna Anderson, Associate Director of Stewardship Ministries at Discipleship Ministries, The United Methodist Church.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beginning with a Seed, a Reflection on Mark 4:26-34

Baby boomers fueled the growth in American church membership and attendance, but they are dying off.  Lovett Weems has termed this the Death Tsunami. He suggests that we focus on what is important:
To talk of survival does not mean that survival is an end in itself. The survival sought is not for an institution and certainly not for institutional forms or entities. Church leadership is a response to God’s love and action in the world revealed most clearly in Jesus Christ. Christian leadership is a channel of God’s grace as it seeks the fulfillment of God’s vision, and such leadership emerges out of the history, beliefs, and traditions of faith communities.
What is the future going to look like? Will leadership emerge? I think about those early Christians, the first hearers of Mark's gospel. What discouragements were they facing? What did the future of the church look like to them?

Their gatherings were as small as mustard seeds. Yet, they did become as great shrubs providing protection.

So, I would like to draw from this parable a parallel--size now does not limit potential.

But, I'm also drawn to the lesson embedded in this passage--that Jesus spoke in parables because his hearers were not ready to learn his meaning. To his disciples, and in private, he explained everything.

Yet, even without understanding, the other hearers became part of the growth of the church. I'm looking back at verses 26-27. The sower of the seed doesn't have to know how the sprouting part works in order for it to work.

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