News and Views

The word is ... Do Good

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...well said

Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.

Do Good

By Mandy Sayers
Lead Pastor, Glen Mar UMC, Ellicott City

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a young adult attending my Charge Conference under the leadership of the district superintendent, the Rev. David Argo. We had just finished doing skits to demonstrate all the fruit of our ministry that year at Glen Mar UMC. (It was before the current, streamlined model.)

As Argo settled us down into the business of the meeting, he said he often asked a specific question at Charge Conferences: “If this church were to close tomorrow, would anyone in the community notice?”

He said in some churches, that question was met with silence so deafening you could hear a pin drop. That hasn’t been the case at any church I’ve ever been a member of or been a pastor of, but the question has stayed with me.

Wesley’s admonition to “Do Good” feels like Argo’s question. It is the firm belief that if there are United Methodists in the neighborhood, the neighborhood should certainly “notice.” Doing good also means that they should do more than notice. It means that the neighbors should be blessed because of it. Poverty should be less, and hope should be more present.

I think Wesley’s exhortation to do good is in line with Dr. Martin Luther King’s observation that the church should be a thermostat, not a thermometer. A thermostat changes the room, alters the environment, makes things different. A thermometer merely reports the way things are.

To “do good” is to be a thermostat. It is to ask where God is moving in the neighborhood, or where God needs to move, and putting on some work gloves and getting to work.

It’s easy to get a sort of paralysis these days — perhaps we are paralyzed by denominational stalemates or the bad press the church received after General Conference in St. Louis. Perhaps the craziness of the current political climate has us paralyzed, feeling helpless. If we’re not sure what to do, then let us be about doing good.

In Galatians 6:9, Paul puts it this way, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all …”

This month, get “noticed,” church. Do good.


By Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill

I spend a decent amount of time these days serving as my son’s taxi service. It amazes me how many places we have to go, appointments to attend, and events to appear at that one toddler can have in a month. Because we are always going somewhere, we spend a lot of time in the car.

When we travel, my son puts on a headset to watch Elmo, which gives me plenty of time to listen to sports radio. The joy of sports radio is that everyone has an opinion or a hot take on sports. They all know what the team should do, should have done, or could be doing, and they are perfectly willing to discuss it for hours on end. The funny thing is: all of the people with opinions and comments didn’t play in the game; they just watched it.

Listening to the radio, it occurred to me that we, as the church, are often like sports radio hosts. We watch the world going on around us and we make comments on it. We see things and we talk about how someone could do something about it, or someone should do something about it, but we don’t get in the game. We look for someone else to get involved and make the changes that we know should be happening while we just talk about them, waiting for change to show up on our doorstep.

It does not have to be that way. Instead of talking, we could do some good.

Friends, as believers and as United Methodists, we should do some good. We all know the problems, we all know the issues, but we can all do some good. We can all roll up our sleeves, get to work, and start creating the world that we so often talk about.

Every Lenten season we talk about what we are going to “give up” for the next little while. Instead of doing that, how about this Lent, we stop talking and start doing?

Take a weekend to volunteer at a shelter. Take an evening to read to kids at the local school. Take a week off from buying coffee and donate that money to one of the very worthy United Methodist relief agencies.

No matter what you choose to do, stop talking, and choose to do some good.