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Is Unity Necessary?

Is Unity the Win?
For the last two weeks we have been talking about the mission that God has called us to as believers in Christ. We have been looking at the goal and means of that mission in our local context and within the greater United Methodist structure. Part of the value of this discussion is that God’s missional calling gives us a way to engage the evolving cultural context while recapturing relevance. Both Harmony Grove and the global United Methodist Church find themselves in a position of declining impact that effects future sustainability.
This week the United Methodist leadership is gathering to discuss the issue of homosexuality and leadership and propose a way forward that maintains Methodist integrity across the variety of global contexts. This issue stands to do one thing- divide the church. There is not a solution that does not leave some people group feeling left out, neglected or unheard. No matter the outcome someone is going to be ups…
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What is a person of peace?

Rev. Debbie Carlton and Nathan Smith

Building a Missional Enterprise:  The Person of Peace
The idea of being “on mission” for God, seeking to live into what we are called to be and do as Christians is a challenging concept for people to engage. There is a tremendous amount of fear and trepidation about the commitment that is required, skill sets needed, where to go, who to reach and how to do it. As a missiologist my job has been to walk with people through addressing these issues in a manner that is organic to their existing context, faith structure and felt calling. 

So, where do we begin if we are going to help people understand that missions work is not nearly as foreign and time consuming as we have made it out to be? As a matter of fact, if the principles are not easy to appropriate, simple to reproduce and sustainable it will not find great success. The most successful missions work today is grounded in organic context with a “person of peace.”

The “person of peace” is the entry poi…

Means of Mission??
This week’s sermon topic is the means of mission. How are we actually doing mission and what are the tools that we can utilize if our mission efforts are going to be fruitful? While we could spend an entire day talking about the actual actions that we, as Christians, take in an effort to be “on mission” for God, I think that it might be more beneficial to look at the undergirding principles of successful mission. Is the are repeatable, sustainable and easy to appropriate methodology for engaging mission in our community?
For many of us the idea of mission has meant going to another country and living a spartan existence with a native people. We grew up seeing missionaries come to our churches and tell stories of their work in far off places so that we would give money to support them. While this certain represented the missional ideal of a generation past, the entire expression of missions and being “on mission” has evolved dramatically. But, lets not th…

The Goal
We have two children, a 15 year old boy, Miles, and a 5 year old girl, Willow. This last Christmas was the best one that we have ever had. Both kids really caught the Christmas excitement and got involved in making it a fantastic time for our family. They saw the excitement and enthusiasm that my wife, Nicole, and I had and they wanted to be a part of it. By the time Christmas eve rolled around we were all thinking of exciting ways that we could surprise each other and make it special. The point that I am trying to make is that our excitement is contagious. Movements, like Christianity, are built on the excitement of a few that grows into the excitement of many because they were willing to authentically engage and share their excitement about something they believed in.
Monday morning at 11am we had another great group show up to participate in our weekly missional theology discussion. It is so exciting to see people begin to engage a new narrative and tr…

A Four-Letter Word? Well, more than than...

Feel free to enter the discussion! E-mail Nathan Smith at or come on Monday mornings at 11:00 am 

This week we are talking about evangelism. For many this is a four-letter word. It brings up a tremendous amount of negative connotation because of the intrusiveness of those that have historically claimed to be evangelists. But let’s look at what evangelism really is. It is defined by the Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Theology as the proclamation of the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ with a view to bring about the reconciliation of the sinner to God the father through the work of the Holy Spirit.
That is a mouth full. How do we contextualize this for today’s non-Christian audience without loosing the meaning for the Christian that wants to participate in communicating the hope found in God to those struggling? Let’s begin by looking at the basic components.
Proclamation indicates that we are to tell people about something. This means that we are to…

What do your relationships look like?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019
This week the missional theology discussion that Debbie and I have every Monday was attended by a whole group of people that wanted to be a part of the movement committed to the restoration of the individual, family and community at Harmony Grove UMC. We discussed the work that we are doing in the new Family Restoration Center and looked at the core principles of Discipleship, Evangelism and Mission that define Christ’s church. It was a perfect example of how discipleship manifests in a community of people that are willing to look at the need for change and embrace the uncertainty that that brings, trusting God to be our guide. 
Discipleship, evangelism and mission will be the topics of the next three weeks sermons, helping us to ReCapture, as a community, what it means to be the church that Christ called us to be. We will be leading with discipleship and the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20 this week, looking at what makes Christian discipleship un…

ReCapture Blogpost this Week

Monday’s are my favorite day of the week. It is a new beginning to the week and there is limitless potential. It is also the day that Debbie and I get together to wrestle with theology and mission, trying to unpack God’s plan for Harmony Grove and the local community. I love this process. It makes me feel like I am contributing to a solution that is God centered and bigger than myself. Today was particularly exciting, as we really did not end up where we started. We began by looking at how we have historically defined the church, taking our cues from John Wesley and the early Methodist movement and ended up engaging the surveys that the congregation filled out last week during the 9:45 hour.
This led us to, what we feel are, the core components of the church moving forward if it is going to find sustainability and become the thriving, vibrant community that everyone seems to want to be a part of. Most importantly, by beginning with the surveys it gave a voice to the needs and concerns …