Pastor's Reflection 2023-07-13

Dear Wesley UMC Family,
One of the great things about life is that it is constantly changing. When I have been at a low point in my life, I have always been comforted by knowing that things change and I would not be in the valley forever. One of my spiritual teachers used to always tell me that emotions are like the weather, they always change.
When we talk about change in the church, often some person will quote 2 Corinthians 5: 17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” It is a wonderful reminder that when Christ did his ministry here on earth, he was all about change! Christ’s ministry operated amidst the Roman occupation and in a time where the Jewish religious leaders held much of the power underneath that Roman occupation. So Jesus advocated and preached change and care for those who did not have power.
As a church, the spirit of the message can stay the same but the way we deliver that message always needs to be adapting and changing to the world around us. There used to be this idea that the church was immune to the changes and the advancements in society. There was an erroneous belief that the way that the church did “church” did not need to change. Churches believed that all they needed to do was to open the doors of the church and people would pour in. That was probably true in the 1950’s but since the mid-1960’s, Protestant church attendance has been in decline. If we were a regular business and we were losing money, we would quickly adapt and change lest we go out of business. The church, as a whole, has not adapted or changed. Here at Wesley we are doing our best to adapt and utilize new technology to deliver the eternal message of love of Jesus Christ. To this end, we have developed a new app for the church. (See the article on page 5). It should be launched next month. Our goal is to reach out to the new person, the person who might be interested in checking out Wesley. Also in the Fall of 2023, we will embark on a process of “rebranding” the church. We will be working with the Cal-Nevada Communications Office on this process. This will also probably involve a redesign of the church logo. More details to follow!
“…in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” At Wesley, change continues to unfold and we are happily growing with the changes!

Peace of Christ!
Rev. John Oda