When I invite people to join us for worship, I’m often asked the preferred attire of our congregation. That’s a complex question. On any given Sunday, you’ll see dresses and hats, rodeo belt buckles, jeans, and shirts and ties. A more important question is what shoes we wear at church on our path of discipleship. You can show up at Bois D’Arc UMC in any shoes you own (or borrow). From pumps to sneakers, from work boots to dress boots, we have it all. What really matters, though, is not the kind of shows we wear on Sunday mornings, but the kind of shoes we choose to as we grow in relationship with Christ within the congregation.
The first shoes you’ll wear will probably be dress shoes. We can always tell who the first-time guests are because they’re a little dressier than all but a few of our members. Makes us feel special, actually, like we’re worth dressing up. As you get to know us, though, you might start dressing more like your everyday self, and you might find yourself changing your shoes. Let’s play with this metaphor of shoes a little bit.
As you come to know us, you’ll find a welcome that will make you want to put on your slippers. You can get really comfortable at Bois D’Arc UMC. So many people say, “We walked in the doors and knew we were home.” We’re friendly, but it’s more than that. We’re open. We take the United Methodist Church’s slogan <i>Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Doors</i> very seriously. There will probably be someone there who either looks like you, works like you, talks like you, thinks like you, cooks like you, or has faith like you. We don’t all come from the same place, live in the same town, work at the same place, or go to school in the same system. Our congregation comes from lots of towns and lots of backgrounds. Some of us have worshipped here our whole life; most of us haven’t. There’s some kingdom of God in that. We’re different from each other, but tied together through the love of the same God. The members are at the church because they feel welcome. You will find yourself welcome here, too.
Then you will notice all the children’s shoes and the importance we put on babies, toddlers, children, and youth. We don’t treat children like they are the future of the church; we treat them like they are the present. We have a staffed nursery for babies and toddlers during both Sunday morning services, Children’s moments during both services, kids’ Sunday school between services, and youth activities and special events. Children are welcome here.
When you start to feel comfortable in the congregation, you’ll probably want to attend one of our special church events like a Pig Roast, Fish Fry, or Chili Cook-off, and that’s when you’ll start to notice cowboy boots and sneakers everywhere! We like to spend time together in fellowship and recreation. It’s not just about showing up on Sunday morning; it’s about connecting with each other on a personal level. We break bread together often, just like the early church. We play games (and practical jokes), and fun is a big part of our life together as we model the joy of Christian living.
The next step of discipleship in this church involves a major change of shoes. When you get to be a part of this church, it’s not about your Sunday morning worship shoes or Saturday night Pig Roast shoes. It’s about taking off those slippers of comfort and exchanging them for a pair of work boots. That doesn’t mean we’re going to put you on one of the infamous Methodist committees! It means we’re going to offer you ways to get involved in service to our community. Pick vegetables in the Garden of Feedin’. Raise a cow for the Holy Cows project. Stock food at Crosslines. Volunteer at a Shelter. Work with the BAUM Squad on a local service project, Help us get involved with service or mission projects that impassion you.
From the beginning of life and through all the stages thereafter, we are a church that lives in the reality of God’s amazing grace and call on us to be the body of Christ for this community. Whatever shoes you like to wear, we think you’ll find that they fit at Bois D’Arc UMC.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://boisdarcumc.org/wp-content/uploads/pastor.png[/author_image] [author_info]Rev. Kim Polchow favors dress boots and sandals, but has purchased and dirtied two pairs of cowgirl-style work boots since she came to Bois D’Arc UMC in 2006.[/author_info] [/author]