MCMA INTERCOM  2021 - Present

The quarterly newsletter of the association that shares an important editorial on church ministry and the latest about MCMA activities.

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IT’S TIME TO REVIVE THE BLESSING!!!

1st Trimester 2021         Minnesota Church Ministries Association          Vol. 25 – No. 1


It has been 35 years since John Trent and Gary Smalley treated the Christian world to the concepts contained in the book entitled, The Blessing.  These principles of sharing love and grace with others, based on the Old Testament practice of offering a blessing are critically important to us in this season following the pandemic we have just experienced.  To give a cursory review, the 5 elements of The Blessing include:

1.  Meaningful touch.

2.  A spoken message of love and acceptance.

3.  Attaching “high value” to the person being blessed.

4.  Picturing a special future for that person.

5.  An active commitment to fulfill the blessing.

 

Throughout the past year, we have been touch-deprived in the Christian community.  We have been warned not to shake hands and hug.  We have kept our social distance.  We have suffered greatly from not feeling the warmth that brothers and sisters usually extend to one another.  For our own emotional health, we need that touch restored and even intensified!

Communication has been hampered in this past season because of the masks that have muffled our expressions.  Having a meaningful conversation that declares our love and acceptance has become a tougher task.  To clearly convey just how valuable the other person is in your estimation gets muddled by the stifling of your voice and the shrouding of your smile.

The special future we envision for those we would wish to bless has even been called into question by the pronouncements of the experts who paint a dark picture of what to expect in the days ahead.  A very real fear has gripped many that there is no bright future…only one of successive battles against future viruses or variants that arise.

Ongoing commitments to those we wish to bless are somehow dampened because we don’t know what our future opportunities will be to participate to fulfill the blessing.  Enough doubt about the future has been planted in people’s minds that they hesitate in any kind of commitment…even in something as simple as meeting up for breakfast or lunch…let alone any kind of ongoing promise of support and deepening relationship.

From all of these dynamics we need to be delivered.  I am praying now for the lifting of mask mandates, especially in the wake of widespread vaccinations.  I am also encouraging my fellow brothers and sisters to rise up in faith and recognize that the de-personalization of the last year cannot continue.  We need to reach out and physically touch others, graciously communicate our love and belief in them and their futures, and endeavor to be a significant ongoing presence in their lives to be a continual blessing to them as we commit ourselves to walk together.

People of faith must be the ones to lift the entire society out of this state of suspended animation to do what God has called us to do in the season ahead.  May God give us the faith and boldness to pursue lives that pass on The Blessing to others!

Timothy A. Johnson, Executive Director

 


YOU HAVE RELIEF FOR THE DOG DAYS!

 

2nd Trimester 2021         Minnesota Church Ministries Association          Vol. 25 – No. 2


The Dog Days of Summer, according to the experts is described like this…Dog Days traditionally refers to a period of particularly hot and humid weather occurring during the summer months of July and August in the Northern Hemisphere. In ancient Greece and Rome, the Dog Days were believed to be a time of drought, bad luck, and unrest, when dogs and men alike would be driven mad by the extreme heat.

 

I am sure that most of us in Minnesota would agree that we have been passing through the Dog Daysin recent weeks.  This period certainly will pass as such weather phenomena always do.  But it could be argued that right now we are experiencing Dog Daysin a number of ways.

 

Political unrest, international instability, economic unpredictability, rising crime, and even in the church a lack of confidence about the future…all point to uncomfortable realities.  We are living in challenging days which can even take a toll on us spiritually and emotionally.

 

It is in just such an environment that the Church of Jesus Christ can do her best work.  Just think of what we offer to people through these days:

 

1.  THE GOSPEL ITSELF.  The message of grace, forgiveness, and new life in a relationship with Jesus that the Church offers gives hope, confidence, and assurance during times of stress…whether they be personal, corporate, national, or international.  For literally thousands of years, we have heard personal testimonies of how Jesus has made the difference for people spiritually and emotionally.

 

2.  THE WORD.  The perspective that those who are tutored by the truth of Scripture and nourished by the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit sustains them as they move through difficulties.  When the great story of the Bible is unveiled to us, we recognize that what we are facing today is in many ways similar to what faithful people have experienced in the past….and in fact may be less stressful than some things they lived through by the power of God.

 

3.  THE BODY.  The encouragement that comes from the body of believers enables the individual to rise above immediate challenges.  Relationships within the Church at times can be strained and even cruel…yet on balance, having a group of people who are called to be a source of love and grace is a huge benefit.  The relationships one can experience and enjoy over a lifetime become a lifesaver to those who are part of the church.

 

Our Association aims to strengthen these expressions of ministry that are regular features of the local church.  May God make us all more and more effective in our own assemblies in helping people through the Dog Days they encounter!

Timothy A. Johnson, Executive Director

A TIME FOR PATIENCE & PERSISTENCE!

3rd Trimester 2021         Minnesota Church Ministries Association          Vol. 25 – No. 3


As we move further through the pandemic that we have been enduring, many church leaders are posing serious questions about the future of the Church…not just about their individual congregations, but the Body of Christ across the whole country and beyond.

 

Attendance continues to be sluggish in many places, leaders are not sure who is with them or who has fled to another fellowship, or if online streaming will be the permanent choice people will make as opposed to in-person worship.

 

I want to give a word of encouragement and challenge to you that can give perspective:

 

1.  JESUS SAID I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH!  We must take courage in the fact that Christ is the Lord of the Church and he is out in front of us even when we don’t feel it from week to week.  His sovereign leadership is already being seen if you look close!  Open your eyes to what God is already doing!

 

2.  ROME WAS NOT REBUILT IN A DAY!!!  The unsettling nature of the last two years in church life will not be overcome immediately.  The fruit of the Spirit of patience is in order.  God will make all things beautiful in His time.

 

3.  PERSISTENCE IN THE RIGHT THINGS needs to be our daily commitment.  In the long run, people will respond to love, to the gospel, to the word, to personal touches, to consistent character…and we must continue in the things we know are fundamentally necessary in church work.  The words of Calvin Coolidge should be taken to heart:  Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  These words which apply to any human endeavor take on special meaning when we know we are in partnership with an Almighty God who enables our persistence to bear fruit.

 

May God give you a new sense of empowerment and anticipation as you recognize His primary leadership in the Church and your responsibility to remain patient and persistent in the work you have been called to do.

 

Timothy A. Johnson, Executive Director