ITLOTC 8-26-16


(In The Life Of The Church) 


Singular Pronouns

Let’s talk about pronouns.  Probably about half of the readers of this blog just scrolled down to the announcements section to get on with their day.  So it’s just us now.  

Anyway, you may have noticed that many of the songs we sing together in our liturgy on Sunday mornings use first-person singular pronouns. Has it ever struck you as odd that we have a bunch of people gathered together singing about their personal experiences with God?  

If it hasn’t, don’t beat yourself up.  But know that this is something that really gets under some people’s skin.  The concern is that this language pushes us further into a hyper-individualized engagement of faith, something that our culture already tips us toward.  And this is a problem because the Kingdom is about community.  We aren’t meant to do this alone.

I think this concern is legitimate.  And yet I embrace first-person singular pronouns in songs.  Why? Because they acknowledge our individuality (the healthy part of it), and have the potential to foster a more robust sense of community than first-person plural pronouns (but, to be clear, first-person plural pronouns are great too).

The first part of that statement (“they acknowledge our individuality…”) isn’t hard to grasp: singing “I” evokes a sense of self by which one can acknowledge and reflect upon one’s personal experience.  This connection to personal experience in our singing allows us to carry these songs with us to critique, encourage, reorient us in our daily lives.  

The second part (“potential to foster a more robust…”) is a little more abstract.  As a part of the Church, our community represents one body.  Like our own bodies, it is made up of many unique parts that have their own functions, stories, experiences, etc.  And yet they are one. This isn’t a new idea—it’s in the Bible. 

When a community of individuals sings “I,” the many “I’s” unite together into a single “I”—the voices of individuals join into the singular voice of the community.  This mirrors what it is for people being formed in the way of Christ to join together as a church community.  Each one brings his or her own “I” to the table, yet the individual “I’s” get so entangled, one does stand out from another.

So we make a double-statement when we sing with first person singular pronouns—we claim something about our individual experience with God and the world, while also adding our voice to those around us as a proclamation of the unity of our communal body.  This proclamation of unity carries with it a celebration of the particularity of the individuals who are gathered, knowing that this communal “I” would not be the same if any of the individual “I’s” were taken away.

Think about that the next time we sing a song with I’s or me’s (we’ll do that in about half of the songs we sing this Sunday).  And think about what it means for you to join your “I” to the people who are in the room around you.  People with whom you likely disagree deeply on any number of issues.  People who you may struggle deeply to understand.  People who, by the very virtue of being people, share your deepest existential fears and have been given the same kind of ruthless grace as you.  I have a feeling that if we make a point to do this, it will have a deep impact on the way we love God and love others.


Welcome Back Lunch (Sunday)

This Sunday, after church, is our annual welcome back lunch.  We want you to stick around after the service for a free meal on us.  We are bringing in mexican food from the best hole in the wall place in town, and if you don’t agree with me, you get your money back.  This lunch is open to everyone (students, families, babies, grandparents, etc…)  If you are reading this, you are invited.  In fact, bring your friends, the more the merrier.  There is no need to bring anything, we have everything covered (including some vegan options).  If you have any questions, please email

Jesus Said Love Help

One of our ministry partners here in Waco is Jesus Said Love.  This last year they were able to purchase a building to move their offices into and they are looking for help. 

Where: 1500 Columbus

When: Tomorrow, August 27th (9am-3pm)


Kindergarten Commissioning

Please be in prayer for our kindergartners who will be commissioned for their academic journey as part of the liturgy this Sunday.  If you have a child entering kindergarten and have not been in contact with pastor emily please email  

Work is Worship

Greeters: Blaylocks 

Coffee Makers: Emmy and Steveweiser 

Mug Cleaners:  KT & Yacob 

Money Counter: Josh M.


  • Sunday Sermon: Luke 14:1, 7-14 "power from below"
  • New Volunteer Training: Sept. 11 
  • Mi Casa Leader Training: Sept 18
  • Family Weekend Breakfast: Sept 18
  • Town Hall: Sept 18
  • New UBCer Luncheon: Sept 25
  • Backside Event: Sept 23rd 
  • St. Francis Feast Day: Blessing of the Animals: Oct 4th 
  • Fall Retreat for Juniors and Seniors: October 20-23
  • Made in Waco: Nov 5th 
  • Thanksgiving Love Feast: Nov 20th 
  • Backside Event: Dec 2nd 
  • Study Hall: Dec 7th 
  • We are gearing up for another school year which means we will resume our work with Cesar Chavez middle school.  If you would like to mentor a student or serve the middle school in another capacity email 

Do you have an emergency and need to talk to a pastor? 

254 413 2611

Leadership Team

If you have a concern or an idea for UBC that you’d like to share with someone that is not on staff, feel free to contact one of our leadership team members. 

Chair- Jon Davis:

Joy Wineman:

Stan Denman:

David Wilhite:

Bridget Heins:

Sharyl Loeung:

Emma Wood:

UBC Finance Team

Do you have a question about UBC’s financial affairs? Please feel free to contact any of your finance team members.

Josh McCormick:

Hannah Kuhl:  

Justin Pond:

Anna Tilson:

Doug McNamee:


If you have concerns about staff and would like contact our human resources team, please feel free to email any of the following members.

Maxcey Blaylock:

Mathew Crawford:

Rob Engblom:

Ross Van Dyke:

Jared Gould: