Sunday, April 14
The Lord’s Day
Minute for Mission: Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
We Presbyterians often throw up our hands when we look at the graying of our congregations, fearing that in two decades or so the church will have shrunk by half . But there is an extraordinary opportunity for the transformation of these very congregations by persons around the globe who follow Jesus Christ. These Christians, often from the global South, have much to teach us if we are willing to learn and are willing to join with them. But there has to be a true partnership, in which we really do listen and join with them, one in which we don’t assume that we have the right to determine how they must change in order to join with us. We must find ways to collaborate on our shared commitments to spreading the good news of the gospel and working for justice, peace, and reconciliation.
Our number one job is to seek out for ministerial leadership the kind of people who see opportunities amid the apparently dismal news, who want to grow new churches and revitalize established ones, who respect all persons and are willing to learn from them. We need to seek them out, provide a theological education that supports them in ministry, and send them out in a position to take risks and perhaps fail—but hopefully succeed—for the sake of the gospel. These are the kinds of individuals we seek at Louisville Seminary.
But we must be aware that the sorts of people who make great leaders are often the least compliant to rigid institutional norms and standards. They are not like us. This is good news for the future of the church. The challenges we face today are huge. But the opportunities are just as great. The Spirit of God is working amid the startling shifts of society, culture, and demography to create new hearings for the liberating power of the gospel. By God’s grace, these challenges may yet call forth the best in us all.
Let us pray
Open our eyes, O God, to the world around us, to the liberating power of the gospel and your abundant expressions of reconciling love. Amen.
Sunday Lectionary and Hymns
Acts 9:1–6 (7–20)
Yee Jun Ae Joo Nim Eul Nae Ka Mol La (When I Had Not Yet Learned of Jesus)
Hark! Hark, My Soul!
This Is the Feast of Victory
Down to Earth, as a Dove