You know how I love organization. Which fits so well with my Word for 2014: “plan”.
EDIT: this turned out a bit longer than I intended, so if you’re rushed, skip down to the bolded part–an important revelation!
Pastor Tim has a great way of organizing the sermon notes that get copied for everyone. It’s always one folded sheet:
- On the front page a summary of theme and the main scripture passage (and he always insists that people open their Bibles vs using overheads–being a missionary & having worked where overheads were not usually available; which is fine for my family, the majority of whom can’t read overheads anyway!)
- Open to the next page, where there is a list of the main sermon points with lots of room for you to make notes. This is always called “Engaging the Passage”.
- Opposite page is blank, except for the suggestive title “Personal Reflections”, in case you didn’t have room for notes on the previous page.
- The back page always has more personal questions about the passage for you to answer later, “Weaving the Passage into Our Lives”.
The “Evening of Prayer” I went to last night was also well-organized. It was the first of monthly meetings they hope to have, specifically for praying for missionaries. Apparently when Pastor Tim first came to know this church (last year), and saw how many missionaries they support, he knew they really needed to spend time praying for them!
So last night they had workers from 4 different areas (Bangladesh, Cambodia, First Nations and Mozambique) share what was happening & what to pray for, and there were summary sheets for people to make notes on (with a couple of appropriate scriptures included). It was testimony, pray, testimony, pray, etc. The lounge we were in was set up with small tables, so people were naturally divided into small groups to pray with.
At the end, the leader asked if anyone had anything to share, that God had brought to their minds during the evening. Someone mentioned the fact that missionaries often feel lonely, and that people should respond to the newsletter-emails that they receive from the missionaries.
I didn’t think of it til afterwards, but that was definitely illustrated to me recently: friends who are missionaries sent a newsy-email about their work (to several people), and at the end mentioned that it would be nice for people to respond. (So I did of course.) Usually, I just assume that these days they get all kinds of email/response from people. Perhaps that is what everyone thinks! Or that it’s not possible for people to feel lonely in this age of social media. :S
It comes to my mind so clearly, how we used to stress the importance of writing letters to missionaries to encourage them. We’d get the kids in Sunday School writing them, etc. Looks like we need to get back to that frame of mind! However, if you’re not the type to write a “long letter”, I’m quite certain that a simple “I’m praying for you” means a LOT! And that is an advantage to this day & age of the “reply” or “comment” button…