June 10, 2021
Dear Saints of Trinity,
In last week’s message, I introduced some of the findings of a five-year study. It was a personal study that sought to initially explore what places Mainline churches at risk for losing vibrancy and ultimately dying. About halfway through I added the second element: that of exploring key essentials that, when present, will create a vibrant and healthy church. I presented the first five of those this past Sunday. This coming Sunday you’ll hear the others. The first is related to the bread of communion, the bread that fills and allows us to focus on our hearts and souls. The second set is the juice that moves us outward as we seek to share the fruit of Christ with the church and others beyond the doors.
The Ten Essentials for a Vibrant and Healthy Church
These represent the bread that feeds us:
1. A Firm Conviction to Have God Moving In and Through All Aspects of the Church. It includes covering every aspect of the church in prayer, and holding the conviction that Jesus is the Way to follow in all things we seek to do.
2. Simple Guiding Statements regarding Mission and Vision. The combination of these two is the additional glue that holds us together and moves us toward the future.
3. Active, Engaging, Relevant, and Inspirational Worship. Pretty much says it all.
4. Sequential Opportunities for Discipleship – Growth in Faith. Think of college and classes that were offered at every level from the 101 to 400 level. We offer something similar here.
5. Opportunities to Build Loving and Trusting Relationships. These can be small covenant groups, neighborhood groups, Bible studies, focus groups, and other places where trust is built and risks are taken with each other.
These represent the grapes that allow us to share the fruit with others:
6. A Process for Welcoming and Engaging New People. Radical hospitality is something that needs to be a priority for every participant in the church. But then, it can’t stop there. There have to be obvious opportunities for deeper engagement and involvement for those coming in.
7. Servant-Oriented Leadership Including Staff. This is the inverted triangle of leadership. Leaders are at the bottom of the triangle seeking to support everything above.
8. Multiple Opportunities for Mission Outside of the Church Doors. There have to be multiple opportunities that can potentially engage a wide swath of the church; places for differing ages, abilities, interests, and passions.
9. Simple, Easy to Follow, Nimble Administrative Structure. I can’t stress this one enough. Our administrative structure doesn’t need to be complex. It does need to have opportunities for every voice to be heard. I believe both are possible and will be sharing more this fall.
10. Biblically Based Opportunities for All Kinds of Stewardship. Stewardship is often focused solely on money. Biblical stewardship is a lot more than money. For us, it involves covering each other with our prayers. It involves our presence and involvement in various aspects of the church. It involves the sharing of our gifts – only one part of that is financial. The final two are the sharing of service to others and bearing witness to our faith.
So, there you have it. We’ll be working on these throughout the summer and in the coming year. Let’s cover all of it with prayer as we continue to come together again, finally.
Some Concerns that we have:
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; for essential workers; and for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.
- For peace in our country.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.