Faithful to a Church and Community
By: Susan Naslund
I don’t know how to tell you this, so I am just going to go ahead and say it. I have been cheating on you.
Off and on for the last year or so, I have been going to other churches on Sunday mornings. It’s nothing serious – mainly spending a little time with other United Methodist congregations. I’m probably not even telling you anything you don’t already know. Surely you have noticed the empty spot in my usual pew.
I’m not going to lie to you. There are churches out there doing tremendous things – providing food to low-income families, offering a place to sleep to the unsheltered, taking care of refugees in crisis. Some have beautiful, peaceful sanctuaries and inspirational leaders. It has been exhilarating to experience all of it. But, when I am gone...
I miss you.
You see, even though I have enjoyed visiting other churches, they don’t know me out there the way you do. Sure, they are enticing, but they aren’t places where I can put down roots. I can’t casually attend another church without remembering the deep commitment of membership I made some 17 years ago to Foothills. I care about our children. (I am so proud of them!) I grieve when one of us is injured, or is ill, or dies. (You are like members of my family.) I crave your genuine affection and care. (It always warms my heart to see you!)
I love you.
I am happy to call Foothills my church home at a time when statistics show that nearly 50% of Americans have no church home. I learn here. I grow here. I serve here. Some people think they can worship and serve God better on their own, and on their own time. I don’t.
At Foothills, our service is a heartfelt response to the work God is doing in us through what we learn in Sunday morning sermons and in small group classes. Now, more than ever, we need to lead Foothills to do what we have been called to do here. It will take commitment and it will take courage to listen to and act upon that call.
I believe the call is already here. Recently, we have been given an opportunity to expand our ministries in East County in partnership with First United Methodist Church of El Cajon. An exploratory committee is looking at the option of merging with the congregation in El Cajon. In the process, the Foothills campus would continue to be the center of nurture and spiritual growth it always has been, while the El Cajon campus (with our help) would become a center of outreach to the community. It it exhilarating to think of the possibilities.
I trust you.
So, I invite you to cheat on Foothills some Sunday morning soon. Go to the First United Methodist Church in El Cajon and visit that congregation. You will hear an inspirational sermon from Rev. Lori Doyle. You will meet Dora Mae, who is a welcoming spirit there, as well as Gwen, who has a heart for missional outreach. You will see first hand the neighborhood into which our love and care could extend beyond the walls of our two churches.
Foothills always welcomes me home without fail. Please pray and ask God if the possible merger in El Cajon would be the right opportunity for us to welcome others home to the Foothills family. Share with Pastor Eric what you discern as we consider this important family decision.