When I think of July I usually think of hot weather, ice cream, and fireworks!  We kick off the month with a celebration of our country’s independence.  We like to think we are independent people.  Outside of our families, and for some of us good friends, we don’t really feel like we are accountable to anyone.  Ask most Christians who they are accountable to in their faith, and their answer will be, God.  Just God.  Not you, not anybody, it’s just me and Jesus.

  As a pastor in the United Methodist Church I am accountable to the SPRC, the District Superintendent, my colleagues, and the Bishop.  Are you accountable to anyone as a person who attends a United Methodist Church?  Do you owe anything to anyone?  I believe you are accountable to each other.  And you owe a great deal to each other.  Not because you have to by nature, but because you willingly took vows to do so.  I believe those vows mean something.  

When you joined a United Methodist Church for the first time you took certain vows.  Every person who becomes a member is asked to make these vows…….“As members of Christ’s universal Church, will you be loyal to Christ through The United Methodist Church, and do all in your power to strengthen its ministries?  As members of this congregation, will you faithfully participate in its ministries by your prayers, your presence, your gifts, your service and your witness?”

But that’s not all…. the congregation also takes the same vow again and adds these vows…….Pastor:  Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and life and include these persons now before you in your care?  People:  With God’s help we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ.  We will surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their trust of God, and be found faithful in their service to others.  We will pray for them, that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.  Yes, ultimately for our faith, we are accountable to God.  But when we join together as the church, we are also accountable to each other.  Jesus tells us in Mark 38:34-35 that we should be willing to lose our life for the sake of the gospel.   Where do we practice that?  Here, with each other, and then together, unified in the world. On the journey with you, Pastor Chris Dodson