Summary: How to thrive as a church

Wesley on Thriving

Isaiah 58:6-9

We have had several funerals in our community recently

Today I would like to consider another

What would happen if our church closed?

Do not start worrying

KUMC is healthy and are no where near closing

Or even slowing down

We are just thinking today

What if our doors were locked?

Would we be missed?

Who would miss us?

Yes, we would miss the church

But, who else would miss us?

Is our mission to the members, like a country club?

Scripture, Wesley and our mission statement tell us our mission is to those on the outside

Do we fulfill that mission?

Throughout the Bible, God has told us that we must have Piety, or an inner state of worship

But, it is not acceptable to God without Mercy, or an outer state of worship

During the upcoming Lenten Season, many of us consider fasting

God tells us, through Isaiah, He considers service to the less fortunate a fast

When we serve those less fortunate than ourselves, we become humble

Humility is very high on God’s list of Christian character traits

We are to love God (Piety, inner grace), love our neighbor (Mercy, outer grace) and love ourselves (Piety, inner grace)

But, Micah 6:8 tells us that we must “do justice and love mercy” before we can walk with God

Amos 5:21-24 goes further. He says God will not accept our offerings, sacrifices or praise and worship UNLESS we allow “justice to run down like water and righteousness like a stream.”

Nothing we do to love God is anything to us UNLESS we love our neighbors as we love ourselves

Wesley said that holiness is both vertical (loving God) and horizontal (loving


Jesus’ harshest criticism was aimed at the religious people that ignored the least of His flock

What would he say to KUMC?

Who would miss us if the doors closed?

Many, if not most, churches are shrinking

Every year, some fall by the wayside

Who misses them?

Do the poor? The hurting? The hungry? The unchurched?

Or just the members?

The churches that are thriving, and even growing are the churches that reach out

If we made a list of the people and organizations that would miss us

Who would be on it?

Who would not be that should be?

Would this year’s list be shorter, or longer, than last year’s list?

How would it be different?

What could we do to be more inclusive?

How can we reach more children, youth and adults?

What would bring more families?

If we reach out, we will thrive

The more we do to reach out, the greater we will thrive

The more people and organizations that would miss us, the more certain we will thrive

Think about it

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Rev O K Neal

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