Since the early weeks of March, we have been slowly regathering at Providence—first for worship together, then for indoor group meetings, Vacation Bible School, a church conference, and other opportunities for people to get reacquainted after being separated for so long.  It’s been fun to reconnect with friends and be reminded of how life-giving it is for us to spend time with one another—not only as friends, but as brothers and sisters in Christ.    

As we head into August, it’s time for us to take the next step forward, from regathering to re-engaging.

What do I mean by that?  Well, if regathering was about coming together again, then this next step of re-engaging will be about growing together again—as learners, teachers, servants, leaders, caregivers, and active members of this body of Christ that we call Providence.  Simply showing up is the vital first step, but as the apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians, it’s not the only step.  For the body to build itself up in love as the Lord intends, each part must be working properly.  That’s how healthy spiritual growth happens.

And the truth is, it’s been a while since we last had the chance to step up and work together, using our gifts and talents to promote the body’s growth and build it up in love.  It’s been a while since we’ve had nursery babies to rock, eager children to teach, energetic students to chaperone, meals to serve, choirs to join, faith formation classes to attend, and mission projects to support.  It’s been a while since we were last given opportunities to invest ourselves in the holy work of blessing others and being blessed by others—giving and receiving in the name of Jesus—so that we might grow together in love.

In some ways, the break from all the busyness and routine was nice.  At the same time, though, it was also hard.  We discovered just how vital it is for our spiritual health that we be engaged with an active community of faith.    

Some of us have taken advantage of this time apart to re-evaluate how best to put our gifts to work for God’s glory at Providence.  Instead of being stretched too thin by making too many commitments, we’ve decided to focus more of our time and effort making a bigger impact in fewer places.  That’s healthy.

Others of us have realized during this time that we’ve been punching well below our weight and not making the most of the gifts we’ve been given.  Instead of remaining on the sidelines, we’ve decided—maybe for the first time—to step forward when our talents are needed, to volunteer when our abilities can make a difference, and accept invitations to serve when they come our way.  Again, that’s healthy.        

The bottom line is: We’re all a bit rusty.  We’ve been on the shelf for more than a year, and now it’s time for us to re-engage as members of Christ’s body, each one of us working properly to build up this church in love.  I’ve been encouraged—but not surprised—at how faithful our financial giving has been over the last year and a half.  We’ve been generous with our treasure.  Now, let’s be generous with our talent and our time as well.

An engaged church is a growing church, and I trust that Paul is right when he tells us that the Lord has already equipped us with what we need in this season of re-engagement.  It will take some time to shake the rust off—but we’ll begin by showing up to connect with one another, and then stepping up to serve with one another.  With God’s help, I am confident that we can do this.  I look forward to seeing you often and seeing you re-engaged!

May the peace of Christ be with you!