February 12, 2023 – Scouting Sunday/6th Sunday after the Epiphany

Courtesy photo.
Courtesy photo.

A Moment for Mission

“In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.”- Matthew 5:16, CEB

Scouting ministry has been an integral part of our Methodist heritage. Every week, thousands of children and youth, from kindergarteners to high school seniors, flow into United Methodist churches to learn life skills and build stronger connections. This is the only interaction with church many of these children and teens will have.

Often, Scouting is overlooked as an incredible ministry field. Our call as the church is to connect with our communities and provide opportunities for people to feel included and loved. When we celebrate Scouting Sunday, we actively acknowledge those who make this ministry possible and extend the invitation for others to partake.

Johns Creek United Methodist Church in Georgia is a shining example of the fruitfulness of Scouting ministry. This local church hosts over eight Scout troops, with a combined 400 individual Scouts and 200 adult volunteers. The congregation involves the entire family with child-protection training, days of service, recognition banquets, community events and opportunities to help with worship on Scouting Sunday.

The United Methodist Men’s group at the church raises scholarship funds to support Eagle Scout projects and educational opportunities. The vibrant Scouting program at Johns Creek UMC is successful because it creates wholesome opportunities for fellowship and fun in a safe environment.

With more than 300,000 Scouts across 8,000 troops in United Methodist U.S. congregations, it’s likely that you have at least one troop in your local church. Now is the time to engage with and encourage them. Now is the time to invite young people into a relationship that sparks love and joy.

Jesus was clear when he said, “Let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16). Make your light shine today for the young people in your life. Support the United Methodist Commission on United Methodist Men through the World Service Fund and ensure that Scouting ministries across the denomination continue to thrive.

-Adapted from “Scouting: Another church door,” ResourceUMC and UM News websites. Used by permission.

Children’s Message
Is anyone here a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout? Even if you aren’t in Scouts, you probably know a little about them. One of the best things about Scouting is that it helps you to think in new ways and do more good things for other people.

The Boy Scouts have something called the “Scout Law” that includes 12 things they try to follow every day. Do you know any of them (Allow for answers; “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”)

If you’re a Scout and people know that about you, they expect you to be all those things, right? No matter where you are on your Scouting journey, you must follow certain rules and live up to certain expectations.

As Christians, we have something very similar! In the New Testament, one of Jesus’ followers named Paul said that when we let the Holy Spirit live in our hearts, we’ll start acting differently. Best of all, people will notice it and start to act differently, too! (Read Galatians 5:22.)

What does this mean? When we have Jesus in our hearts, we become more kind and loving. People see that and know we follow Jesus. Sometimes it can be hard, though.

Who has a hard time being patient? Who isn’t always generous? Are you ever mean instead of kind?

When we see we’re not doing the things God has asked us to do, we’re not being lights that show God’s love to others. The next time you get upset or do something unkind, ask God to help you to be more like God and to give us hearts full of love and joy!

Let’s pray: Dear Jesus, thank you for loving us! Holy Spirit, help us to be lights of love and goodness so that other people might come to know you. Amen.

Offertory Prayer
God of love and light, strengthen us to be a people of connection and encouragement, following Jesus with our thoughts, words and actions. May these gifts we present to you be fruitful and multiply so that we might spark love and joy in others. In your name, we pray. Amen.

From Discipleship Ministries
Holy God, as we offer to you gifts from the abundance you have provided us, we recognize that the offering that concerns you is more than what is in our wallets and purses, but in our hearts. You desire from us hearts that are a fit place for you to live and dwell. Help us to clear out long-held anger, resentments, prejudice and hate. Help us to furnish our hearts with love, mercy, justice, compassion and forgiveness so they might be a place where you feel welcome and at home. Help us present this offering as well. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
God created us with unique qualities and skills. Still, we are all called to reflect God’s love, mercy and grace in the world.

One of the best ways the church can do this is through Scouting ministries. Thousands of children and youth flow through the doors of United Methodist churches across the United States to play, learn and grow together. For many, this will be the only church connection they will experience in their lives.

What an opportunity for us! We can learn from others like Johns Creek United Methodist Church in Georgia that hosts eight Scout troops, including 400 Scouts. We may not be at that capacity, but we can reflect the same love and support.

God meets us wherever we are, regardless of our circumstances. It’s time that we do the same for our communities, letting our light shine before others as Jesus asked us to do.

Scouting ministries make a difference in young lives. Let’s support that and make the difference that much more important. Support the United Methodist Commission on United Methodist Men through the World Service Fund. Ensure that children, youth and their families are invited to join in the love that Christ offers us.


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