Praise the Lord everyone!!
The bible says in Psalms Chapter 34 Verse 3 “ Come let us tell of the Lords greatness; let us exalt his name together”.
My name is Elder Jerome Bishop Lane Jr., and I bring you greetings from my Senior Pastor Rev. Maria N. Crompton and the Elmwood United Presbyterian Church family.
I want to extend my thanks to Rev. Migliore and you the congregation of the United Presbyterian Church of West Orange for giving me the opportunity to share a word with you this morning.
As some of you may already know, I am the Community Ministry Organizer for the Newark Presbytery. I was brought on board in March of this year. A huge portion of my job is to find ways for our churches to engage with their congregation and the surrounding community in ministry.
The majority of my time has been focused around supporting our food pantries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve been blessed by being able to develop partnerships with other organizations like the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen who have assisted us in providing produce and non-perishable items for hundreds of families every week. We have been able to re-purpose some of our available space to partner with other organizations for ministry.
For example at Wolff Memorial Church in Newark we partnered with the United Community Corporation to open a LIHEAP office for the church and surrounding community. LIHEAP stands for Low Income Heat and Energy Assistance Program. We know that many individuals have lost employment and have to make tough decisions. There will also be a food pantry and clothing closet on site for families in need. Part of the renovation that has taken place will provide space for workshops and trainings as well. This is just one of the models that we would like to duplicate across the presbytery in the future. We want to develop ways to make the best use of our space to the congregation and the surrounding community seven days a week.
We developed a virtual work shop around mental health with Circles for Healing a non-profit out of Essex County that provides services centered around mindfulness, healing, self-love, community and inspiration. We’ve worked with the East Orange City Council and the Deacons Bd out of Elmwood to distribute over 500 book bags filled with school supplies to students before the start of the school year.
I remember from the ages of 5 to about 18, my mother Lorrine Lane who passed away about 7 years ago and my Dad, Deacon Lane used to take us church all of the time. I mean we was in church allll of the time. Monday night prayer, Tuesday night adult choir rehearsal, Wednesday night Bible study, Friday night youth service, Saturday youth choir rehearsal, my mother was the choir director and sometimes the choir was just me and my three brothers. Yes, and then of course Sunday service and then sometimes Sunday afternoon service. So quite naturally I tried to make the most of my time. I ushered, played drums, did the video camera and even ran the water for baptisms and mopped after.
So when I started working in the entertainment industry and tried to be the biggest party promoter in NYC. My Dad didn’t judge me. He used to say one day your going to be doing this for the Lord. I can’t lie, I used to be like OK Dad. I’m trying to be like Diddy not TD Jakes!! They didn’t worry, they were prayer warriors like my God parents Mother Diana Winningham and the late Bishop Emmolo Winningham. They believed in Gods word to be the truth, Proverbs chapter 22 verse 6 says what?…..”Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it”.
So to make a long story short, I didn’t exactly wait until I got old but I came back. God allowed me to sharpen the tools he gave me so that I could use them to serve his people.
When I thought about how to approach speaking with you today. I thought to myself that community ministry only works by the grace of God and a willingness to “Just Do It!”, just being ready to get in position and contribute however you can. Just Do It!
1st Peter chapter 4 verse 10-11 says “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
We all have be given gifts from God, lets allow those gifts to flow through us for the benefit of our churches and our community!! Just Do It!! God will get the glory and you will be blessed.
If you like to talk on the phone, call one of the seasoned members of your congregation. Check in on them. Just Do it! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!!
If your a home body and you like to chill at home and be on social media because that’s the only place you can be without a mask!! Hit the share button when your church is live streaming, it don’t cost nothing to hit the like button when Rev throws out a scripture and some words of encouragement!! Just Do It! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!
If you’ve been blessed with a green thumb!! The church grounds might look a little neglected, go pull a weed or two and replace it with a flower. Or one of the seasoned members is afraid to come outside because of pre existing conditions, run the lawn mower over their grass real quick!!! Just Do It!! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!!
If you’ve been blessed with some free time, some of our pantries could use an extra hand, one hour or two a week. Just Do It!! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!
If you got a couple of extra dollars because the movie theaters have been closed or you haven’t been eating out because you don’t want to be at a table on the side walk with your mask off!! According to 2 Corinthians 9 and 7, the Lord still loves a cheerful giver!!! Just Do It! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!
To all my prayer warriors!!! A virtual prayer service sounds like a good idea!!! Rev’s been praying for you to step up!! Just Do It!! God will get the glory and you will be blessed!!!
Colossians chapter 3 verse 23 says “And whatsoever you do , do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men”.
Let's continue to be a blessing to our churches and the surrounding communities. My Sr Pastor, Rev. Crompton says the church is still the church. A lot of our buildings may be closed but we still have ministry to do. Some of our churches and communities don’t have the luxury of waiting for the next person to step up. Just Do It!! God will get the glory and you will be blessed.
I’d like to thank you Rev Migliore and United Presbyterian Church of West Orange for allowing me to share with you what the Lord has put on my heart.
God bless you.