The local church may be where we gather to worship, fellowship, and learn; but it seems to me that the local church should also be where we practice our gifts. Because being the Church is really done in the world. As a practice ground, the local church is the place where our gifts are enhanced. The local church is not the be-all-end-all of ministry. We as UMs, I believe, put too much stress on what happens in the local church--so much so that too often the reason we are the Church is lost.
I was reminded of this when I read the latest issue of the UM Reporter about the ministry of our chaplains. A Navy chaplain friend told me that where he serves on a carrier, he has the world's largest youth group. He and his family routinely host service men and women, who can't find their way home. There are military chaplains, but also police, hospital, Civil Air Parole, domestic violence, prison, and many others. They and their spouses are making a world of difference; but often we don't pay attention because what they do is considered "beyond the local church."
As a pastor's spouse, I have a ministry too--in the church but also at my job, in the neighborhood, in the local schools. I am a baptised child of God. That's what my baptism means to me. What about you? What does your faith really mean to you? What difference does it make in your everyday life?
Kathy's ministry involves providing resources for laity, pastors, and academics