Transforming Lives

by Bill Clark

A Review of “Remember the Future – Praying For the Church and Change” by Bishop Robert Schnase

The following is an excerpt from the chapter entitled, “Changing Lives.”

“What do we really hope happens because someone belongs to a United Methodist congregation? What’s the end and purpose we pray for? What does the church exist to do?”

“Belonging to the body of Christ, with time, mysteriously causes us to become a different person, with more depth, peace, and courage. We become more hopeful, more thankful, less reactive, gentler, more patient, more resilient, less angry, better able to relate. We attend to others with greater compassion. We more readily offer ourselves in service to God and neighbor. We care for those whom we may formerly have overlooked. We grow in grace, and in knowledge and love of God. God uses our belonging to the body of Christ to change us from the inside out.”

Bishop Schnase continues, “God uses congregations to change people’s lives, and through changed lives, God changes the world. That’s a purpose worth preserving, even if we have to change our strategies.”

Bishop Schnase closes the chapter by asking this question, “Which ministries of your conference (or congregation) lead people to active faith in Christ?”

“Help me, O God, to offer my gifts and talents to your service in such a way that our congregation may be a place where people of all ages grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of your word. Help us open the doors of our hearts to you as we open the doors of our church to others.” – Romans 12:1-3 The Message

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