We, the congregation of Webster Groves Baptist Church,
are the body of Christ.
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
God has called each of us to this particular place at this particular time. God has plans for each of us. God has called us to work together to build his kingdom. God has gifted us to do his work. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 describes the gifts of the spirit.
4 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
Do you hear an interwoven theme of the God-created differences among individuals and the unity of God’s Spirit? God created each of us for a purpose, he has created us as unique individuals and he has uniquely gifted us to fulfill his purpose. God uses his people. Imperfect people saved by his grace. People just like you and I. God has work for us to do!
Our congregation is a unique group of individuals created and gifted by God. Many of us have been together for several decades, some of us have been around for a couple of decades and still others of us for only a few years. Our length of time together is unimportant. We are just one group of people among many in the 100 years of history of God’s work in this community. Our community and our world has changed over the last 100 years, but our God is the same and his love for humanity remains the same. God has called us to work together at this time for his purpose. God wants the world to know of his love. God will use this unique group of people, if we will look for his guidance. God’s guidance is the perfect guidance. His guidance is suited for the world that we live in. We can’t look to the past for how to do the work of God, we can’t look at what others do, we can’t always be looking for the next best thing or the easiest thing. We have to look for the guidance of God.
We are faced with a time of change. Change is a time wrought with anxiety and excitement. We, as humans, are often the most comfortable when we know what to expect. We tend to cuddle into routines that keep us safe and cozy. We feel anxious when our world changes. However, change shakes us up and gets our blood moving. Change keeps us alive. When change comes knocking at our door we must really notice the world around us and find a new way to live. We have to determine what is really important. We must determine how to invest our energies, our passion and our time. God calls us to invest in his kingdom. God will guide us in the days ahead. He has a plan for us. He is placing individuals in our path to help us along the journey.
What is God’s specific purpose for this congregation? How does God want us to minister to those around us? How does he want us to grow? These are the questions that we face in the coming months. We will find the answers along our journey when we are willing to be guided by God.
I urge us to ask the big questions. I ask us to invest our energy in the important things. Be wary of insignificant things that might distract us from seeing the greatness that God has planned for us. Be quiet and listen to God’s voice. Dare to dream and dream big!
I urge you to ask God what plans he has for you during this time in the life of our congregation. I challenge you to ask God to revive you and to show you the gifts that he has given you. I urge you to leave your comfort zone and take risks. Participate in the life of this congregation in new and different ways! God has gifted you to make a difference in the world in his name.