Category Archives: Rethink Church

11.3.09 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

While on maternity leave, I had the opportunity to visit some other churches on Sunday mornings.  One Sunday, at another United Methodist Church, I was walking towards the sanctuary with Joy, who was 4 weeks old at the time.  A woman looked at us and made that “awww…” face that lots of people make at babies and then said, “you better hurry and get her in the nursery, they are getting ready to start their fun songs.”  I responded, “oh, she’s not going to the nursery, I am taking her to worship with me.”  This was met with an “oh…” that had a tone of disdain, and as I walked away I heard the woman say to her friends, “uh, another one of those.” 

I was a bit shocked.  I assume that the woman’s disapproval was because she doesn’t like the people who take their infants (and perhaps other children??) into the worship service.  Perhaps she finds them disruptive.  I noticed that there were lots of other parents with young children in the worship service.  As I went into service, my shock and disapproval continued to grow.  How could someone be so inhospitable?  Is that how visitors, or worse yet, non-Christians encounter the church?  Are our children only welcome to worship the God who created them if they can keep their mouths shut in the pews? 

We all need a good dose of Paul’s instructions on how to be the church.  In Romans 12:9-21, he is trying to teach us how to be the church, how to live as the body of Jesus Christ in this world.  As I look through what he says, many of the individual directives seem fairly attainable, at least in short segments of time.  When I read the verses together, however, and consider the whole passage, I’m a bit overwhelmed with the gap between who I am and who God calls me to be.  Be patient in affliction, really?  I wonder how our church is doing in being faithful to these directions–all of us together as a community.  Are we ever conceited?  Isn’t it good enough just to be nice?? 

The truth is… to be the church is to be the physical presence of Jesus in our world, and that’s a pretty tall order.   And for me, this whole “being like Jesus” thing really does make me RETHINK CHURCH.

Molly is the Campus Pastor of Resurrection’s West Campus in Olathe and can be reached at



10.27.09 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Scott Chrostek

One of the questions posed in today’s GPS guide really hit home for me today.  “When, if ever, have you had a sense of being so caught up in God’s mission that you almost hated to stop and eat?”  Eating is something I love to do – I have lots of favorite foods, some that are good for me and others that, well, aren’t that nutritious.  In fact, I enjoy going out for dinner, or for a cup of coffee, but sometimes there feels like there truly is too much to do to take time to eat.  When we begin our day, we do so with the best intentions – we pack our lunch, bring it to the office, drop it in the fridge, but by the time 3 o’clock rolls around we’re so entrenched in something that we can’t pull ourselves away and truth be told, we’ve completely lost our appetite. But the reality is, we can only go for so long before suddenly before things slow down just for a bit, and  our adrenaline wears off and hunger sets in.

The times when I forget about eating are usually the times when I’m so focused on someone other than myself that my own needs are put aside.  And I believe that giving is usually more rewarding than receiving, because there is something amazing about pouring yourself out so that others can reap the benefits.  And the energy that you get, the fuel for continuing on, flows.  But, ultimately, there comes a time when we have given so much that we have to take time to care for ourselves.  We can only pour ourselves out for so long before we need to replenish what has been depleted.  It’s always a balance – finding things that we are so passionate about that we can push ourselves to the limits so that we can live into them, but at the same time stepping back and looking at all that God has done through us, giving thanks, and taking time to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  So, as you continue on through the day – be aware that there will be times when you toil in the ground and don’t see anything come to fruition, there are other days when you are so overcome with experiencing the blessings and witnessing the fruit of your labor that time flies by, and still other times when it is simply just good to take a step back and enjoy the view.  Whatever state you find ourself in this day – know that in all of them there is glory, for each step is necessary.

10.26.09 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

Jesus does not expect anything of Zacchaeus before he comes to visit his house. Jesus sees Zacchaeus in the tree and tells him that he is coming to stay at his house. This is not a question or an option for Zacchaeus. Jesus is coming to his home.

Zacchaeus welcomes Jesus into his home. In response to the people or perhaps just in response to Jesus presence in his life, Zacchaeus exhibits change in his life by radically adjusting the way that he practices his every day work. He gives half of his possessions to the poor and will pay back all that he has cheated and more.


Jesus presence brings change in Zacchaeus’ life and Zacchaeus begins to transform the community through his actions.

I believe that this story continues to be told today. Jesus presence changes lives – yours and mine. Together we rethink what it means to be the church and are sent out in service to the world.

10.21.09 Wednesday Insights by Pastor Nicole Conard

As you may know, our church defines for us that we are on a faith journey. In the narthex of the West Building, we read  20- inch letters stating: “Our Journey: Knowing, Loving and Serving God.”  On our journey of faith, each day we grow in knowledge, love and service to God.  We pray that our hearts will be transformed, our minds renewed so that we can be in service to the world.  We commit to this journey when we become members of the church (like at last night’s Coffee with the Pastor) or when we are baptized (like 37 people were this weekend) and each and every day  in our walk of faith. Today’s Scripture reminds of us of this journey. 

Paul begins Romans 12 with two verses I would highly recommend memorizing.  Romans 12:1-2″ Therefore, I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is true worship. Do not conform to the patter of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Paul reminds us that our response to God is to offer ourselves to God.  We give God who we are and pray that God will use us throughout each day.  We do this through a morning prayer and/or this time right now, as you are reading your GPS.  This is an act of worship and loving God.     

Paul encourages us to be tranformed by the renewing of our mind.  This is part of what you are doing now as you make a habit of reading the GPS.  You are renewing your mind with Scriptures. You may also be doing this as you are reading the gospel of Mark, along with our 3rd graders,  who received Bibles this past weekend in worship.  Reminding yourself of who God is and the life God desires for us to live is knowing God.

Finally, we serve God. Paul shares that we are one body but have many members.  We have different gifts that we can serve.  Gifts are attributes, qualities and interests that we have that we enjoy doing. When we use our gifts, we find great joy and a sense of purpose.  God gives us gifts -things that we are good at – so that we can use them to make a difference in this world.  Sometimes we can claim these gifts as things we are good at and forget that it is God who gave these natural abilities to us. Or  we can think we don’t have much to offer or do not know our gifts. Know that you do indeed have gifts.

You can also take a few moments today and print out a 4-page inventory to find out your spiritual gifts here.   My small group is getting ready to start a study discovering our spiritual gifts entitled “Serving from the Heart” from Resurrection’s bookstore, the Well.  You can encourage your small group to start this study as well.  If you do not have a small group and want to participate in this study, there are resources online to find out more about your spiritual gifts here.   

Each day may we grow in our journey to know, love and serve God each day.

10.20.09 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

Funny how our culture is always telling us to change–change the car we drive, the restaurants we eat at, the tv shows we watch, the job, the bank, the trash bags, the mattress, the computer, the shoe insoles, etc. etc.–yet our churches have become places where people carry the banner “this is the way we’ve always done it.”  Have you ever been to one of those churches?  Where the sacred cows have become, well, sacred?

There are also the kind of churches that may not be averse to institutional change but rarely suggest that individuals have any changing to do–you know, the “come as you are,” you are accepted for who you are, Jesus loves us just like we are so let’s stay this way kind of churches that ask and expect nothing from people professing to follow Jesus.

The reality is, the church is all about change–we are called to be changed as people following Jesus and we are expected and empowered to change the world.  To me, that’s what Paul is writing about in Ephesians 3 and 4.  He knows that he has been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit at work, and he is enabled to do any good that he does through the grace and power of God.  Because of Jesus, we change; we become different by his grace.

And if the church is not a building, a denomination, or a worship service, but the church is the people of God… then as we are changed and transformed into these people in whom “Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith” and are “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” then surely the world around us begins to change.

What if church was a verb?  If we are being transformed, changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, how can church not be a verb?  The whole world is changing one person at a time, and it begins with you and me.  So let’s stop listening to the “you need to change the toothpaste you use” and begin allowing God to change us so that we really might be able to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”  That’s the kind of church I’m interested in.

Rev. Molly Simpson is the Campus Pastor of Resurrection’s West Campus in Olathe and can be reached at

10.19.09 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

God’s promise to Abram is one of the passages of scripture that help shape my life as a Christian. God’s promise to Abram includes promised blessings, but more importantly includes a promise that all people will be blessed through him. I understand my call to a life of faith in which I am called to offer myself in service to others. I am called to know, love and serve God and grow toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

God’s promise to Abram does not promise any particular benefit for Abram other than the promise to be blessed. There is no promise for great wealth, wisdom or a comfortable life. My natural instinct is to wish for a few of those things for myself. However, this is not what God promises for us.

To be blessed by God is more than enough for me.