Thursday, May 9
Older Adult Week
The Presbytery of Mackinac
Nestled among cherry orchards and between pristine turquoise blue waters of Lake Michigan and Elk Lake is a lovely little region of northern lower Michigan known as the “cherry capital of the world.” Here, bees are a healthy part of the cherry economy, and fields are full of blossoms during the growing season. But the pews of First Presbyterian Church of Elk Rapids were not so full. Sunday worship was dwindling—turning what might have been an abundant bouquet of churchgoing “flowers” of all ages into mostly a bed of distinguished gray instead.
Then a miracle began to happen. The new pastor introduced the concept of creating a healthy “beehive” in the congregation—a community that hums because it is in sync with Jesus’ mission. Just as bees go out of the hive and find flowers, people in the congregation should go out into the community and touch the lives of others. People started buzzing with mission ideas and initiatives!
They figured out how to touch the lives of neighbors one by one, the way bees touch flowers. They sought out single-parent families to visit. They looked at starting weekly contemporary worship services to attract younger families. They supported the food pantry outreach. They added small groups, including some special-interest groups such as Family Fellowship, Fellowship Friday and Divorce Care. They formed an ad hoc team to investigate their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and to determine how to demonstrate Christ’s love by serving others, especially those 25–45 years old. They invested in youth programming (ages 0–18) so that kids would bring their parents to church. They added a staff position of family life coordinator. They found ways to work together to produce “honey,” all because congregations that focus on others thrive, just as bees working together produce honey.
First Presbyterian Church of Elk Rapids is one of 41 congregations, with a total membership of 5,913, in the Presbytery of Mackinac.
Let us join in prayer for:
Let us pray
Dear Lord, please show our bee eyes the flowers in our communities we can go to and touch, just as your touch builds us up and encourages and consoles us. Help us love our neighbors, so that our hives will thrive as we use our spiritual gifts to carry out your mission.