Hello, nonbelievers. That’s what they say about us, right? That we are a club. That we can believe whatever we want. That we don’t have any faith. It is exhausting to listen to others make jokes about our religion, and it is demoralizing when we begin to believe what they say about us. But I think we are people of great faith.
Sermon theme for August 27 and the month of September:
Loving the Hell Out of this World
According to Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, we are in the midst of an “epidemic of loneliness and isolation” with Millennials and Gen Z representing the loneliest generations. The consequences of this epidemic of loneliness range from depression and addiction to social alienation where people begin to perceive social interactions more negatively and respond more defensively.
Simultaneously, membership organizations, like churches, have watched their numbers fall (and, in some cases, collapse) leaving fewer options for people hoping to create meaning and purpose in their lives.
Many churches have responded by diluting their mission in hopes of attracting new people but often end up trying to be too many things for too many people and no one feels like their needs are met. But some churches are thriving. These communities are embracing a counter-cultural journey that helps them transcend the self by seeking to serve the world around them. They are rejecting the transactional consumerism and individualism they see in the culture and are embracing a collective vision.
Instead of building a community to meet their self-interests, they position themselves as people who gift the world, unconditionally, in the hope that they can offer healing. For the month of September (and August 27th), we will explore the vision and mission of a church that wants to love the hell out of this world. This theme will build on ideas introduced in Ian’s second candidating sermon “Are you ready to risk loving the hell out of this world?“