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Pastor column: Announcing the death of 'someone else'

John Lestock

By Pastor John Lestock, Bethel Lutheran Church

I received notice this past week that "someone else" died! You know "someone else," don't you? "Someone else" is that unnamed, nebulous and mythical person we often find ourselves referring to when we say, "Let someone else do it! Give that responsibility to someone else! Let someone else pay for it!"

We've heard about "someone else" our whole lives, especially when it comes to the church, even if you haven't met him face to face. But now it's official: "Someone else" is dead and gone and he won't be around anymore for us to depend on!

So now the question is, WHO WILL STEP UP TO TAKE SOMEONE ELSE'S PLACE? In serving as an usher? In feeding hungry people at the Dorothy Day Center? In running the projection screens on a Sunday morning? In giving their financial support to the mission and ministry of the church? Who will work with our Sunday school kids? And who will serve on a committee?

We're so used to delegating these kinds of things to "someone else" but "someone else" is gone now and if you and I don't step up to the plate, important things won't get done! Are you and I ready to rise to this challenge?

President John F. Kennedy once challenged Americans to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country!" Not many of us would question this type of logic when it comes to our patriotism. We know a nation can only be as strong as the level of commitment its people are willing to give.

But the same is true for a church! A congregation can only be as strong as the people making a commitment to it! That's why I'm hoping you and I will be ready and willing to rise to the challenge to keep our churches vital, healthy, growing and focused on their missions and ministries.

Jesus never talked about calling "members," but he did talk about calling "disciples." And there is a marked difference! Members ask questions like, "What's in it for me?" Or "What will you do for me?" because membership is all about "me."

But disciples ask questions of a different nature. They ask questions like: "What can I do to help you?" and, "How can I best serve with what has been entrusted to me?" This is the language of discipleship! These are the question you'll hear in New Testament Christianity. This is the attitude and mindset that makes for a strong, Godly congregation!

I hope these discipleship questions are the kind of questions you're asking! I hope this is your mindset and attitude towards your church. Once again, "someone else" is no longer with us.

Now it's up to you and me to do God's work both inside and outside the walls of our churches. Let's give God our very best as we work and serve him, and all his people! We need people like you to "step up" and be the disciples we were meant to be!