A Pastoral Word
Lenten Theme: Fruits of the Spirit - Cultivating the Five Practices of a Fruitful Congregation
"What happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely…Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives." - Galatians 5: 22-23, 25 (MSG)
So how do we as people of faith work out the "fruits of the Spirit" and their implications in every detail of our lives? Through: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, Extravagant Generosity.
These are the Five Practices of vital, fruitful congregations. These ideas aren't secret or new, but they are the practices that can lead to excellence and growth in the life of our church. And they are the practices we will be focusing on during Lent.
Just imagine what can happen if everyone in our congregation will spend six weeks—just forty days— reading, praying, discussing, and focusing on these Five Practices. God can change individuals, entire families, and our whole church—thus changing the difference we can make in and beyond our surrounding community.
Everyone is invited to participate in this exciting emphasis in a variety of ways, including Sunday morning worship, at-home devotional readings, and conversations during Sunday school.
Our focus on practices of vibrant, growing congregations is not just a sermon theme, a book study, or even a Bible study; it's a commitment for all of us to think, pray, and learn together about the purpose and ministry of our congregation. It's a time to make plans and dream about the best we can be as a congregation.