Where do you see God moving at Mulberry? At onboarding last week, I asked us as a church to prayerfully ask ourselves that question. We want to move forward in the ways God is calling us, to build upon what God is already doing among us. Today at staff meeting, I asked that question for us to discuss. We had a wonderful conversation! I asked the staff if I might share with you, via our newsletter, where we see God moving at Mulberry. They agreed and here is what they noted:
- Prayer: We hear often the desire to pray for the church, to pray more often, to grow in the area of prayer, and to be a praying church. We believe God is calling us to a deeper commitment to prayer. I decided months ago to preach on prayer during late August and early September. Seems the Holy Spirit was guiding that decision as it aligns with what we’re hearing from you about how God is speaking to you.
- Desire to go deeper in relationship with God: Elisa opened the conversation on this topic by noting how she sees a hunger among the youth to grow spiritually. That led to a conversation about how we see that across the board. We see God moving in the ways we encounter the desire to grow.
- Authenticity: This one was a bit hard to nail down, but it started with Hunter pointing out my willingness to be vulnerable. That is not a strength of mine but, rather, something I work at. If you know the Enneagram, I am an 8 which means instinctively I guard against vulnerability. Hunter’s comment led to a conversation about the church valuing authenticity, desiring to have real relationships and real connections with each other and with the community. In a world that can be very full of what I call fakery, this is refreshing and it’s a way we see God moving among us, encouraging us to be vulnerable, real, and to have real, healthy, relationships.
- Worship: Sunday after Sunday, all of us as a staff have heard folks share how beautiful worship was and how they were moved by the service in some way. God moves in power through our worship, inspiring awe and wonder, just as I preached about this past Sunday. Personally, I experience that, too. I am able to be worshipful and present with the Spirit while in worship, finding myself often moved by our worship service.
- Hospitality: This is a very hospitable church! At onboarding, the question was raised of whether I felt warmly welcomed. The answer is YES! Every staff member echoed the same thing. We feel welcomed and I have watched you welcome visitors on Sundays at other times with warmth and authenticity. We see God moving in the way we welcome and love on those who step through our doors.
- Care: Closely related to hospitality is care. We see God moving in how we care for each other, in the ways Sunday School classes look out for each other, in the cards that are written and mailed. Case in point, Bishop Graves told me Saturday about the cards and emails he’s received from you sharing your excitement about the church and gratitude for our staff. I felt very cared for in that moment and am grateful that you would take the time to express your appreciation to our bishop.
- Staff: I shared with our staff that I see God moving through them, binding us together. I see God in their enthusiasm, their hope, their commitment and dedication to this church. And especially, I saw it in how they picked up the ball and ran with it while I was stuck at home with COVID.
These are the ways we discussed seeing God moving at Mulberry during staff meeting this week. I hope that you are seeing some of this as well! As you see me and other staff members, please share with us how you see God moving at Mulberry. In doing so, we’ll continue to labor together for the future God has for Mulberry Street United Methodist Church.