MCMA INTERCOM 2021 - Present
The quarterly newsletter of the association that shares an important editorial on church ministry and the latest about MCMA activities.
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
1. Meaningful touch.
2. A spoken message of love and acceptance.
3. Attaching “high value” to the person being
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
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
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,
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.
A. Johnson, Executive Director