This is what it is all about. All the way through the gospel accounts, Jesus is issuing the active command to follow him (Matt 4:19, 4:22, 9:9. Mark 1:17, 2:14, 3:14. Luke 5:10,5:27, 6:13. John 1:43, 4:28, Acts 9:6) When Jesus says, “Follow me” there is never any sense that he desires or expects a passive response. When Jesus invites people to follow him and they choose to do so, there is an expectation that they will actively respond to his call in that moment AND that they will keep on actively responding to his call to come follow him. This is what we see evidence of in Scripture – whether it was the disciples who were called by Jesus himself or the new Christians we read of in the Acts of the Apostles who responded to hearing the word preached by offering themselves to go and minister to the world around them.
At St. Andrew UMC, we want to be a church that is marked by the desire of it’s people collectively and individually to follow Jesus Christ. We want to be a church where Christ’s invitation to follow is boldly proclaimed in each sermon that is preached, lesson that is taught, song that is sung, prayer that is prayed, action that is undertaken. In all things, we want the invitation of Christ to be embodied in this place.
But more than simply proclaiming and extending the invitation to come follow Christ, at St. Andrew we want to be a church that is known as a place which is filled with people who are doing their best every day to actually follow Christ in their work places, their schools, their college classes, their homes, their neighborhoods, when they shop in the community, when they eat in the community and even when they go to the beach or socialize in the community. We want to be people who, in every aspect of our lives, are always asking and responding to the simple question: ‘What is Christ doing in this place and how can I best follow Him in this situation?’ By doing so, we are not only proclaiming the gracious invitation of Jesus Christ to come follow him, but we are also embodying a little of what it might mean to get up from whatever it is we are doing in life and follow him.
When Jesus invited people to follow him, he invited them to get up from what they were doing (fishing, tending sheep, collecting taxes, walking the road to Damascus) and to do something different. Zaccheus accepted the invitation to follow Jesus and the actions of his life very quickly changed. Instead of robbing people of money, he was giving it back and finding ways to support the poor around him. The invitation to follow Christ is an invitation to a new life of new actions that are rooted and grounded in the radical love of God.
St. Andrew UMC desires to be a place where people are invited to follow Jesus as well as being a place where people are given the opportunity to truly follow him by experiencing transformation and living changed lives.