“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
Tonight was eye-opening, sobering, and enlightening all at the same time. I think this will be one of several posts where I reveal more of myself than I would normally. I am an incredibly private person. I don’t necessarily post my personal political views or anything of that sort on any of my social media profiles. I have to admit that I am both heavy-hearted and a little alarmed by some things I learned tonight at the community forum. I personally believe that it’s not about where we’ve been but where we’re going. In that, it’s also about knowing where we’ve been so we know where we’re going. I was listening to the various pastors and community members that spoke. The one thing I kept hearing over and over and over:: We need more people to get out and vote. We need more people to be willing to step up and get involved. When I say “More people”, I’m also talking to myself.
I feel that I had a bit of a unique perspective. I was viewing tonight’s meeting from the lens of a millennial in the church but also as a young woman who is concerned about a community not far from where I live. Since I’ve been attending FBC Summit and been involved in the church through the women’s ministry, Sunday worship, the praise team, and now as part of this newer collegiate social media outreach/support ministry, I have developed a strong heart for the Muskogee community.
Being a millennial in the church, I’m part of a dying breed. Recent statistics have shown that 50 years ago, 80% of America went to church. Today, 80% of people are out of the church. Personally speaking—this is not okay!! I feel that as a millennial, the best way for me to learn to serve in my community and get involved has to start with first serving in the church. I spent some time decompressing from all of this tonight and as I was meditating on what all was said, the main thing I kept hearing in my head was “Stewardship.”
I admit, I am so incredibly guilty about being apathetic about my community—both Wagoner, where I live, and Muskogee. God convicted me of that. Something that was said tonight was “If you’re going to complain without igniting or inspiring change, you have no agenda at all”. It resonated with me. Back in high school, I took AP Honors History where we had to attend so many city council meetings and a few school board meetings. I used to love stuff like that so tonight was definitely a blessing to get to experience that again. The sense of unity and community among the clergy that were represented tonight was beautiful!
I am active in a collegiate ministry on both the Bacone and Connors campuses called BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries). At the BCM building in Warner, there’s a small plaque that hangs by the main door of the building that says, “You are now entering your mission field”. Muskogee is our mission field. It was a sobering wakeup call to my heart. I have a huge fire for missions. I’m a Christian counseling major and want to ultimately do postmodern Christian counseling on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota. Tonight’s event showed me that if I can’t adequately serve in my own community, I have no business serving on the mission field anywhere else. I am including myself in this—the apathy need to stop. The division needs to stop. It’s past time for us to become more united.
Going along with “Unity in the Community”, both as members of this community but also as the Body of Christ, we need to be better stewards of our community. I want to take this time to challenge everyone to go to forum discussions like the one that was held tonight. Go to a school board meeting. Meet with your city council. Talk to your state representatives about an issue you feel strongly about. Get involved! The only way we can become more unified is to band together, take initiative, and be the change we wish to see.
No man is an island unto themselves and iron sharpens iron. No one can do this on their own. We need each other not to just survive, but to thrive.
In closing, I want to leave you a chance for application. Try to think of different ways you can get involved in bettering your community. Let’s discuss ideas in the comments section!
Love and light,