Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Secret Ingredient

Years ago we had a member of our church who would occasionally cook a spaghetti dinner for everyone in the church.  It was just his way of sharing a talent with others, and everyone agreed that he made great spaghetti.  It was delicious, best in town.  He ended up giving me a spaghetti-making lesson, and that was when I discovered his secret ingredient.  He always added this to his sauce, and it made it something special.  This is your lucky day, because now I’m going to share that secret ingredient with you! 

The secret ingredient?  Bacon.  He’d chop it up in small pieces, and add it to the hamburger.  Of course, bacon makes anything taste better, and I can testify that spaghetti sauce is no exception.

Life is full of “secret ingredients,” things that are often unnoticed and unappreciated, but still make the world better.  And in some ways, I believe that Maple Avenue United Methodist Church is a “secret ingredient” in Terre Haute.

I am a fan of our congregation!  I say that because I believe the fellowship we have here is something special.  We have a very dedicated, hard-working group of people who enrich our community and congregation in numerous ways, and I’m continually being blessed by the things they do.  We make our neighborhood and our town better.  But I’m afraid we are still something of an unnoticed and unappreciated part life. 

For example, I think we do an amazing job with anything musical, including our cantatas.  We have orchestras, beautiful voices, and exciting productions; and every year when we do our Easter and Christmas cantatas I think “This is so good, why isn’t this worship service standing room only?”  We draw good crowds, but if people knew how great our cantatas were, we’d be overflowing.

So I’d like to encourage you to do what we usually get in trouble for doing.  I invite you to share a secret with everyone!  And here are some ideas to get us started. 

1. Support our ministry in whatever way you can.  Some can support it with generous gifts, some can’t.  Some can give time and energy, some can’t.  But regardless of what you can or cannot do, you can always keep us lifted up in prayer. We are all blessed in different ways. Share the gifts and graces God has given you.

2.  Use the telephone to stay connected.  We have people in our congregation who make numerous phone calls during the week, checking in with others, wishing people “happy birthday,” letting people know they were missed on Sunday and making sure everything is alright.  I have come to appreciate this as an unnoticed and valuable ministry.  So I thank those phone friends, and encourage others to help keep us connected in similar ways. 

3.  Visit us on line.  If you’re not on line, don’t worry about it.  But for many many people the internet is a good way to spread information.  Start by visiting our web page and our facebook page to keep up with what’s going on.  You can only share with others the things you know about.  (And a special thanks to James Muncie for maintaining our web and facebook pages.)  You also might want to check out my blog.  That’s right, I’m blogging now.  I’m a blogger.  Just saying the word “blog” makes me feel young, modern and cool.  It’s only my Newsletter Column, but it’s better than nothing.  I think. 

4.  “Like” us on Facebook, and then check back to “Like” and “Share” the events we have posted.  This helps us get word out to an even bigger audience when anything’s going on.    

5.  Pick up extra copies of our Newsletter, and share them with friends and neighbors.  We always keep extras in the office, and we can make more if we run out.

6.  Personally invite friends and family to come to church with you.  Sit with them.  Introduce them to me!  We have some special services coming up.  The Daycare Kids will be joining us on Palm Sunday (March 29) and they’re always fun.  This is also the Sunday of our Easter Egg Hunt for young people (bring your kids and grandkids) and our Choir’s Salad Luncheon Fundraiser (Daycare Families eat free, courtesy of the Daycare).  Then the Cantata will be on Easter (April 5th).  In other words, there are plenty of good reasons coming up to invite people to join you at church.

7.  Use your own creativity and come up with new ideas.  I’m sure there are plenty of things I haven’t thought of that you know about.  I don’t have all the answers, but when we work together, pooling our ideas, trying different things, good things happen.  Share your ideas.

I don’t want Maple Avenue United Methodist Church to be the best kept secret in Terre Haute.  We have something to offer even better than bacon. Help us get the word out.

Yours in Christ;