Catching the Vision

Christ the King Sunday - Matt 25:31-46

Today is Christ the King Sunday. It is a victorious Sunday. It's the last Sunday of the church calendar year. Next week we begin the season of Advent, preparing for the season that celebrates the birth of Christ. Advent is both a time of preparation remembering the first time Christ came to earth as well as preparation for the second coming of Christ.

The Gospel lesson today is like a vision of the future. It shows us that Christ expects us to be compassionate, to care for one another, not just those in our church or other Christian churches, but to have compassion for and care for all people.

Since its organization 255 years ago, Trinity has been a presence in the community of Taneytown. Trinity is beyond a point of crossroads now. We have stepped out in faith, trusting in God, and we have called an associate pastor, recognizing that to fulfill our vision and mission here in this place at this time, we need a second pastor.

In the past few years we have thought about the future and set goals for one, three and five years. But we have not really looked at the vision for the future. We haven't looked ahead as to how we will fulfill our very reason for forming as a congregation. We are here not to just please ourselves and to have worship services to meet our own needs, or have classes and Bible studies just for our own edification. We are not here just to perpetuate these buildings or even the existence of Trinity. If we are not focusing on our vision and mission, and making THAT our priority, we take away the very reason for existing as a congregation.

The church, this congregation and the world wide Christian church, is the presence of the body of Christ on earth. The church is not OUR church; the church belongs to God. This is GOD'S church, not ours, and everything we do here should reflect that. As members and friends of Trinity, everything we have should focus on the vision and mission of this congregation, God's church.

I am inaugurating an exciting new Vision for the Future focus for Trinity, called "Catch The Vision." All present leaders in the congregation will need to take a leadership workshop at some point in the next year. Some already took it a week ago. All council people, present and future must take a leadership workshop. If you haven't taken a leadership workshop within a year, you will not be able to serve in leadership positions in the congregation. What we need in leaders is an ability to CATCH THE VISION…to be a positive voice and leader in directing and guiding Trinity in its exciting vision and mission.

We have already begun stepping out in faith. We can't go backwards. We can't be drawn away from our forward vision. We have to build on the past, but not drag it along with us in outdated ideas and outdated ways of dealing with the church in this day and age. And we must always be looking ahead to what is needed to fulfill our vision and mission in this community of Taneytown where we are located for specific purposes of sharing the Gospel and caring about and for God's people.

In April of 2004 we voted, unanimously, to seek a second pastor. In April of this year, at the Annual Meeting, I gave you an initial picture of the forward progress of this congregation. You agreed, both in 2004 and 2005 to support the idea of a second pastor. This meant making yourself available for increased volunteerism, increased study of Scripture, increased prayer life, increased use of your gifts and talents and abilities. And it meant increasing your financial support of Trinity. We all have reasons why we don't give ten percent back to God, but until we DO reach that in our individual responses to God's blessings in our life, there isn't anyone here, unless they are at 10 percent in their offerings, who should not give more to the support of God's church, the body of Christ, the presence of Christ in this world, and the loving outreach of the Gospel of Jesus the Christ.

Very specifically the committee who worked on proposing the matter of a second pastor showed just how much it would take in an increase of members' offerings to God, to support a second pastor. If you haven't increased your offerings, by $2-5 dollars a week, now is the time to do it. I believe that as we get excited about the vision for Trinity and what it already has, and the use of the gifts we all have to bring to the vision in our abilities, our time, our talent, our treasure, this church will be an even more vital, alive and exciting presence in our community.

Here, now, is my vision for the future. This will be printed in the upcoming copy of our newsletter, the Herald. Those who attended the Leadership workshop a week ago were really excited about "Catching the Vision." We, as a gathered people, have incredible gifts already, and have an incredible potential. It's very exciting.

Here's my vision for the next 5, 10 and fifteen years. Copies of the Vision are on the table in the Narthex, on the windowsill in the Chapel and on the table that is in the hallway after the 10:15am worship.

5 years


very involved in Prayer Life
whose members are excited, active and involved in the life of
the congregation with a vision for the future that is alive and trusts God
that trusts and believes that God will provide
very involved in Bible Study
whose members understand the spiritual principles of Stewardship
whose members understand the spiritual principles of Tithing and trusting God
whose members make a commitment to tithing, trusting God to provide
where members are committed to support of the church, its programs & outreach
that reaches out to all in the community and is totally handicap accessible
whose members are excited about and involved in Evangelism
whose members fill the sanctuary each week in attending worship services
whose 8am worship has to move from the Chapel because of overflow attendance
that has a contemporary service as one of its worship services
offering classes and courses on various pertinent topics & issues
whose members are very involved in family ministry & youth & children ministry
that has many lay adult sponsors for youth and children
whose members are very involved in young adult ministry
whose members are very involved in ministry to senior adults
where members readily and happily volunteer to fill various leadership positions
whose facility is active and alive with people and meets the needs of members of Trinity and the community
open to all people regardless of race, creed, gender or sexual orientation
that meets the needs of the Taneytown area in fulfilling its vision and mission
that has a church bus
that has a renovated Fellowship Hall

10 years


that continues to grows in all of the above
whose worship continues to change and be alive and relevant to all ages
that is a community hub of activity and planning
with a huge volunteer corps and lay leadership is strong and vital
that has a full-time Youth Minister
that owns a house that is for youth ministry and meetings
that has a building addition that is a gathering place and meeting space

15 years


that continues to grow in all the above
whose members are involved not only in the life of the congregation but on Synod
and national boards and committees of the ELCA
whose members continue to grow in Evangelism skills

Read more sermons by Pastor Brie