The Heart of Hanscom: Impactful Ministry – Sunday April 28, 2024

What is the church?


A part of the process of becoming clergy is writing a 30 page document answering all sorts of questions about faith. One question was to describe the nature and mission of the church. In preparation for today, I went back and looked at what I wrote and I was like, ooh five years ago me was so insightful. It was beautiful, it was poetic, but what it wasn’t was simple. People have written books upon books about what it means to be the church but a sermon is not an academic paper or a lecture. Hopefully.


So, what is the church?


It’s that. The church is Christ’s body on earth. It is a community of hope and grace, where we can feel comforted and challenged. It is God’s presence of justice in the world, transforming individual lives and worldly systems. The church helps fulfill the greatest commandment, to love God and to love our neighbor. The vertical part of the cross, to love the lord our God with all our heart, with all our being, and with all our strength. It is our personal relationship, us and Christ, us and God. And it is the horizontal part, love outstretched. It is living love, teaching it and modeling it to our children. It is feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, visiting and caring for others. God pours out grace, forgiveness, comfort, courage, strength, and love. The church is a community that helps us understand, experience, feel, what God pours out. The church is a community that continues pouring, it lives God’s outpouring in word and deed, in action and with intention.


It looks like things you have done and done well.

Last year, your ministries impacted more than 4,600 people last year. Humane society, Together, Community Garden, back to school backpacks, meals on wheels, Norris Clothing closet, block party, All People’s Pantry and coat drive. 186 people volunteered in missions or service projects through your ministries. And for faith growth and fellowship, 80 adults, 23 youth and young adults, 32 kiddos. That is you living as the church through your mission to embrace people as they are, share God’s love in word and deed, and grow in faith together.


It looks like things we have in the works.

In our denomination at General Conference.

Tornado support and recovery efforts.

Soon be hard at work planning VBS.

And even our remodeling project. Expanding the Heart of Hanscom is about accessibility, the goals is for people to be able to safely get into the building, use our restrooms, and access all main levels of our church, and it is more than that. This project honors the image of God in every person. It recognizes that how we welcome people is how we welcome Christ. It is an opportunity, taking from our Deuteronomy passage, to literally write love. To write it in our parking spaces, in brick and glass and in our doorframes and in our walls.


And the church, well, it looks like things we have yet to dream, you have yet to dream.

New avenues of justice and transformation.

New ways to connect with children and youth.

New ways to embrace people’s as they are, share God’s love, and grow together.


What is the church? It is you, it is me, it is active and alive. It is God’s love in action, within us and around us. How can you be the church this week?

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