It's happening today, February 1 ... something we've been waiting on for a few years ... something that should radically transform the entire life and atmosphere of Community Presbyterian Church ........ we're getting a new copier! This new one will do everything our current one does (copy 2 or 1 sided, collate, resize, staple, scan) yet also folds and does color scans! It'll even staple something in the middle to help create a booklet like the church directory. We are rapidly approaching the 2nd coming if you haven't already sensed that.
Copy machines have come a long way in the 30 years I've been here at CPC. They have become exponentially faster, make clearer copies, create booklets, can connect to your computer, scan, fax, make coffee, cure diseases, and do all sorts of other tricks ... all this while the copier itself has gotten smaller and much more dependable. It was not an uncommon sight to walk into the church office and find Mike Johnson doing copy repair work with literally 100 parts spread out all over the place. Mike was an excellent repairman but the equipment just wasn't as advanced as it is today. And here's the irony of that whole deal - we probably produced at least twice (maybe more) the paperwork back then as we do now. If you think I'm exaggerating just ask some of those folks who were around with me back in those days. It was truly unreal. We thought about investing church money in purchasing land to plant and harvest pine trees; figured that might be cheaper than buying all the paper we went through.
We'll miss our old copier to be sure. That unit has faithfully reproduced well over 100,000 copies for us. She has served us with everything she has and we wish her well as she moves into retirement.
I clearly jest about the value and significance of CPC getting a new copier but, with an obvious play on words, I pray that this marks an era of CPC members seriously looking at reproducing themselves as disciples of Jesus Christ. Over the years Community has done a fairly good job of being a friendly, welcoming fellowship ... we've done a decent job at proclaiming grace in the midst of a very legalistic culture ... we've sent many of our best folks into works of ministry and mission ... but today I ask the question, "Have we done a good job at preparing and equipping disciples for next generation leadership?"
This is not only a question the church as a whole must ask herself, but it's a question I challenge you to ask yourself ... "Are you intentionally involved in some way in the reproduction of disciples?" This could be something as formal as teaching a kid's class, working with youth, teaching a Sunday School class, leading a discipleship group, doing leadership training, or mentoring one or two younger in their faith. Or it could be as informal as doing personal evangelism, encouraging a brother/sister in Christ to pursue deeper discipleship, attending a group/class with that friend, getting involved in the lives of others, informal mentoring, teaching your kids the catechism, leading family devotions, or any other such thing where you can help others grow in their spiritual lives. Whatever path you choose it's time for all of us to intentionally find a way to pour our lives into others. The days of our Christian consumerism tendencies need to cease ... let's get busy with the task of preparing and equipping others to lead the Lord's church in the way of the Gospel.
In terms of application let me suggest a few things. Consider the many needs we have with children's ministry - we're always in need of people to lead, teach, and serve in this area. Far from just trying to fill slots with warm bodies, we're seeking those who deem it a privilege to help mold and shape young lives (and it truly is a privilege). We have many youth and college age students who need someone to come alongside them as a friend and mentor. There are many adult church members who aren't involved in any sort of small group ... would you identify one or two such folks and prayerfully consider starting to meet with them for some sort of study and prayer? If we're not intentional with this it's not going to happen.