From Pastor Caroline . . .

February 1, 2023

“My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit, proving yourselves to be my disciples.” ~John 15:8

As a church we dedicated considerable time last year to assessing our personal
discipleship through our Daring Discipleship series. We considered our prayer life, the
time we spend in the scriptures, and the way we expend our vast resources.
As we enter a new year, we have been considering our discipleship at a church level as
we look at the foundational practices of our church in our Five Practices of Fruitful
Congregations series. These practices are not new or out of the ordinary, but rather they
are fundamental discipleship practices that we want to do well and that require
intentionality. We can always improve. We can always do better. And we want to do
better, as a church.

The first of these practices is Radical Hospitality. As a church we are striving to exceed
expectations of hospitality. We want to go above and beyond in the way that we love our
neighbor. Our hospitality is to be as inclusive as possible. Jesus sought out those who
were excluded and marginalized, and we are called to nothing less.

The second practice is Passionate Worship. It is through worship that true transformation
occurs. Our desire is to connect with God more deeply and one of the ways that we do
this is through passionate worship that holds nothing back. We prepare ourselves for
worship, we bring our very best, we give it all and we do it with great courage. Passionate
worship is a joy and privilege for the children of God.

The third practice that we will consider is Intentional Faith Development. Our faith
development is just as important as our initial decision to follow Christ. Making the
decision to follow Christ is just the beginning of our journey with Christ. Growing in our
faith through fellowship in our community of faith is a critical part of our journey.

The fourth practice is Risk-Taking Mission and Service. We know the value of mission
and reaching out to others to share the love of Christ. Risk-taking mission is extravagant
mission that goes above and beyond. It is mission that involves the church in efforts to
alleviate suffering and overcome injustice in the name of Jesus Christ.

The last practice that we will consider is Extravagant Generosity. It is through our
extraordinary sharing and sacrifice that our church will thrive. It is the love that we
cultivate through our intentional faith development and our relationships that we develop
through our risk-taking mission that will help us to continue to cultivate extravagant
generosity in our church.

We are called to cultivate and bear fruit. I hope you can join us over these next several
weeks to explore these five practices of fruitful congregations!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Caroline