We are blessed to have many different personalities in our congregation and on our staff at KPUMC, mostly just garden variety Christians. I recently read about the Tater family and am amazed at how much they resemble our church family. Let me introduce them to you:
Dick Tater He’s the self-appointed potentate who feels everything should be done his way. He never serves or works; he just bosses others.
Emmy Tater She’s the member of the family who follows all the latest fads. She’s never really discovered her own identity because she’s always busy trying to be like someone else.
Hezy Tater When Hezy is asked to help at church, he knows he should, but he always puts it off. He’s sure he’ll get around to serving God someday.
Carmen Tater Carmen has an opinion about everything, and you never need to ask what she thinks because she’s the first one to tell you.
Speck Tater Speck’s favorite phrase is: "I love work; I can watch others do it for hours." He doesn’t get involved, but he’s a great observer.
Agi Tater When Agi was in school, she got poor marks on "plays well with others." Agi is continually in conflict with others, and always seems to be involved in strife and division. No matter what the Pastor or church does, it’s never good enough in Agi’s eyes.
Sweet Tater This is the only cordial and cooperative member of the Tater family. Sweet Tater is the ideal member of the church. She has a great attitude, is faithful, committed, supportive, and involved. She doesn’t dictate, imitate, hesitate, commentate, spectate, or agitate!
Every member of the Tater family is a minister; as Christians we’re all in ministry. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church puts it this way:
“This ministry of all Christians in Christ’s name and spirit is both a gift and a task. The gift is God’s unmerited grace; the task is unstinting service”…. “There is but one ministry in Christ, but there are diverse gifts and evidences of God’s grace in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4-16). The ministry of all Christians is complementary. No ministry is subservient to another. All United Methodists are summoned and sent by Christ to live and work together in mutual interdependence and to be guided by the Spirit into the truth that frees and the love that reconciles.”
As ministers, we’re always in search of facilitators who are looking for rehabilitators to find resuscitators to breathe new life into our church. As Christians, we know where new life originates. Are we a (com)passionate, Christ centered, congregation or just mashed taters, bland and leaving others searching for something more substantial?
Where do you fit as a minister to God’s people? What gifts do you have to share with God’s children?
I’ll close with excerpts from 2 prayers written by Carol Penner, a Mennoite Pastor and member of the faculty at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, teaching Practical Theology.
“Help our churches to be communities where we live in peace,
not the peace of differences pushed under the rug,
but the peace of discussion and dialogue and mutual respect.
Shape us into people of prayer, whose first thought in the morning is praise,
whose watchword is kindness, and whose last thought at night is peace,
the deep peace of God.”
“Help our congregation to be an incubator of hope,
a blessing in our community, and in our city.
We want to join with you in your kingdom work,
as your hope grows,
pregnant with possibility,
ripe with promise.
In the name of the resurrected Jesus we pray,