On this last Sunday together with me as your pastor and you as my congregation, my heart is full of love and thanksgiving. You have had many pastors here since 1839, when a small group of people began meeting, praying and dreaming about becoming a full-fledged church. Smith Chapel became Prospect Methodist that grew into Allen-Lee Memorial United Methodist Church.
Since those early days many pastors and lay people have worked together in the name of Christ to share the Gospel of love here in Lone Oak. Their commitment to minister as a global church was realized as they joined the United church committing to support it with their apportioned giving each year. You have continued to share this legacy as an important part of our identity as United Methodists. Young John Allen and the Lee family must be proud of the many ways you have honored their memories through the years by being faithful disciples of Jesus Christ.
With each stage of your growth as a congregation God has been readying you for the next step. Lives have been transformed, families have found homes here, the hungry have been fed, children have been clothed, the lonely have found companionship and Christ has been honored. These outward signs of God’s grace will continue as you remain faithful. Then, where else is God leading you? Who is “out there” yearning for a place to belong? What gifts do they have that are needed for the building of God’s household? What part of this body will be enhanced by them?
As you all lean into God’s future, remember that your fleeting dreams are not God’s dreams … they’re too small. As you hold on to your faith give away all your love. While you are good stewards of God’s resources (even if you label them as your own) make bold steps forward in trust and hope. God blesses steps that are made to minister to the invisible and voiceless folks of this community. How will God’s land be used to serve the needs of others? What are the dreams of the poorest folks around us?
Don’t forget that God speaks to us through our spiritual imaginations, not in black and white letters on the wall. Dream big for God! Dream God’s dreams for the sake of the world!
Love, Grace and Peace forever more,