This past Sunday, we began a new sermon series called “Reconnect: You Belong at Bethany”. We had a great outdoor Reconnect Celebration during the new 10 AM Sunday School hour that was a great step towards reconnecting as a church after this past year. In the coming weeks, it is our hope that many people would take this opportunity to reconnect with the Bethany family and experience the life-giving work of Jesus in the process. I want to share a little in this blog about how essential reconnection is in God’s story, and how YOU can be a part of the reconnection that is happening at Bethany (stick around for the challenge at the end!).
First, we have to acknowledge that this past year has left us disoriented and disconnected in a number of ways. As a church family this meant we did not see each other very often or at all. Many of us lost touch with people we were close to. Some feel disconnected from the church. Some feel disconnected from God. All of us have been affected by this disconnection in different ways, and we all have need for reconnection in the current time that we are in. Thankfully, God does not leave us in this place…
The Gospel of Jesus speaks a word of hope and remedy into this current moment of disconnection. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, her writes:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
These verses are a powerful reminder that the work of Jesus Christ is all about taking broken and disconnected people and making them into new creations. In Jesus we are “reconciled” (reconnected, restored in relationship) to God. This reconnection with God also leads to holistic reconnection in our lives, as God works in us to restore relationships we have with God, other people, ourselves, and all of creation (for more on this, check out When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert). Reconnection is not just a small part of God’s work in the world, but rather is an appropriate way to summarize the entire redemptive story. God is at work through Jesus Christ reconnecting a broken people in a disconnected world and making it all into a beautiful new creation. God is a god who is all about reconnection.
This good news about reconnection does not stop there, however. In the second part of the verse above, we see a clear calling which we have been given: “the ministry of reconciliation”. Put another way, God wants to use his reconnected people to reach out and help others experience God’s work of reconnection in their lives as well. God works in our lives, and then he gives us a part to play in the lives of others.
This is where the challenge comes in. Over the next six weeks, I want to invite you to do the Reconnect Challenge with us. You can look at the details below, but the basics of this challenge is to do two things every week through this series: 1) Do something to personally reconnect. 2) Encourage someone else to reconnect. Being part of this challenge will help more people experience God and be reconnected to the Bethany family in important ways. God may prompt you to reach out to fellow Bethany members, or he might prompt you to reach out to a neighbor, coworker, or even a complete stranger (don’t put limits on God!). If you are on social media, you can help us get the word out by taking a picture when you do the challenge and tagging your posts with #reconnectchallenge and #bethanyatx. I really believe that God wants to be at work in your life AND use you to help others experience God.
I hope you will join us in the coming weeks as we continue to explore this theme of Reconnect. And I hope you will take the Reconnect Challenge below, both to help yourself reconnect and to encourage others to reconnect as well.
Take the Reconnect Challenge
Do something each week to:
- Personally reconnect
- Encourage someone else to reconnect
Reconnect Series Schedule
Week 1 (Aug 14/15) – Reconnect
Week 2 (Aug 21/22) – Reconnect with Who You Are
Week 3 (Aug 28/29) – Reconnect with God
Week 4 (Sept 4/5) – Reconnect with the Church
Week 5 (Sept 11/12) – Reconnect with Spiritual Community
Week 6 (Sept 18/19) – Reconnect with God’s Movement
Take a picture and use the hashtags #reconnectchallenge and #bethanyatx to share how you are reconnecting.