Do you remember the feeling of going back to school at the end of the summer? There was always a rush of excitement as you thought about seeing friends all summer. Parents go shopping for supplies, new clothes, and new shoes. Everyone gets haircuts for the first day of school pictures, and then we’re off. But do you remember what came after the first day of school? The SECOND day of school. Then the THIRD day of school. And it continues for ten long months.
Everyone gets excited about starting something new, but we need good habits and self-discipline in order to develop the endurance to make it to the end. This principle applies to school, our careers, our families, and our spiritual formation. As a new school year begins, I want to encourage you to spend some time reflecting on your spiritual formation and think about the habits that you need to develop in order to take the next step in your faith journey.
Paul writes to the Philippians, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 3:12-14). Paul describes our spiritual journey in these passages as he urges the Philippians to “press on” in their spiritual formation.
What do you need to do to press on? As we begin a new school year, I believe this is an excellent time for all of us to assess where we are and where we are going. Maybe you have been looking for a Sunday School class or small group community. Or maybe it’s time to step up and begin volunteering in a ministry area within the church. Or maybe your next step is prioritizing your weekend worship experience so that you begin your week with God. Where is God calling you to take the next step?
On August 25, we will have our Next Step Sunday where we will ask EVERYONE to pray about their next step in faith. Throughout the month, you will be hearing more about some of the offerings available to you through Royston First United Methodist Church. Faith is not about programs; faith is about our journey to know God, to love God, and to love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves. Our ministries and programs are designed to help you along that journey. If there is anything I can do to assist you in your faith journey, please let me know by sending me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to growing with you as we take our next steps this coming year. May God bless you as you seek God with all your heart.
Grace and Peace,