God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. – 1 Peter 4:10-11
Wow! Welcome to today’s edition of, “Start the church year with a bang!” Talk about affirmation and encouragement and life and promise!
When I walked into Wake Forest Presbyterian Church just before 9:00 contemporary worship, the place was alive with electricity; I could feel the crackle of it in the air. Both services full, over forty children down front for the “time with young disciples”, the praise band rocking, the chancel choir (11:15) choiring their hearts out.
Between services, we met downstairs for the “Discipleship/Sunday-school kickoff.” Good grief that was a lot of people! The best part was introducing the teams who are committed to teaching. What an amazing group of Presbyterians. Not one, not two, but four adults working with each class. Then our youth are divided into three groups: middle-school, confirmation, and high-school – that’s 20 teachers/advisors for youth Sunday-school alone.
If that wasn’t enough, Sunday evening was the big launch for youth fellowship – our middle and high-school young people. Close to 150 youth showed up! Plus parents and all the youth ministry team folk. We’ve been in Wake Forest six years now and have never seen it like this before!
What’s the buzz?
Other than the mega-wattage levels of excitement generated this weekend, why is this such a big deal? Or, as expressed so well in Jesus Christ Superstar, “What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s a-happening…”
What’s happening is life. Raw, contagious, authentic, fresh, unfiltered, vital, abundant, spilling over, dynamic.
These are all important faith words if we want to engage the kind of ministry that God is calling us to live into as a church. Not a showy spiritualized mosh-pit where doing church is all noise and very little discipleship… but a community of Christ-followers where life and love and light flow through us in such a way that people feel invited into a deeper relationship with God because it is all so obviously real and life-charged.
A Christian-Life-Center full of enthusiastic teens is pretty-much an impossible dream absent authentic life pulsating through the entire church.
So it’s Monday morning, I can see God at work at WFPC in so many powerful ways, and I am pumped up!
In love, and because of love – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.