At Central we spent 2017 in a “Year of Rediscovery” seeking to reconnect with God’s call upon our lives and our congregation. We rehearsed our own faith stories and those of the church on Westside Drive. We acknowledged the legacies of the past and asked how God would have us build upon them – not with museums or mausoleums but with missions that matter.
Going forward into 2018, we will continue our discovery by reflecting upon
“Deeper Roots – Wider Branches”.
Our church is surrounded by amazing trees. We recognize that a tree must be healthy above and below ground – in what can be seen and what is less visible to us.
Growth is a central theme to the Christian Faith. It also presents an ongoing tension between reaching out to others with the Good News and reaching up/in to deepen our walk with Christ. Many denominations and streams of Christianity emphasize one aspect and place a lower priority in other areas. In what ways might this challenge be ours?
It is difficult for us to maintain ongoing focus on multiple priorities. Yet this is precisely what our discipleship requires of us.
We lift our eyes in worship and praise to the Good and Gracious God who created all that exists and sustains it in love. We look inward to our own struggle to turn our life and our will over to God when something deep within us demands for us to be our own gods.
We turn our eyes outward to our neighbors who struggle – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. We offer words of hope that we have received from God. AND we put our hands and feet to work restoring God’s justice for which we ask in the Lord’s Prayer – “…Your kingdom come and your will be done…” receiving for this work wisdom and power from the Holy Spirit.
God calls us to grow spiritually as individuals AND to grow the kingdom by building just communities and proclaiming God’s Salvation and Jubilee that are found in Jesus Christ.
How are you wanting or needing to grow in your faith? Do you need deeper understanding of Scripture? Greater theological insight? A firmer grounding in a life of prayer? Do you need to explore and develop your spiritual gifts? Where is God calling you to serve?
Along the way, how will you spread the Good News? Do you have family, friends or neighbors who need to hear about Jesus and what he has done for you? What he can do for them? Are their sufferings of body, mind or spirit that you can alleviate with your time and talent and treasures?
How can you help Central be more welcoming and make it easier for new folks to find their place among us? What barriers to entry exist that need to be pulled down? Where do new folks land to build relationships, make new friends, grow in their faith and find a place of service? What is your part in helping all of that happen?
As new folks come, how do we continue to meet the fellowship, worship, discipleship and pastoral needs of everyone among us – the new and the long-time participants alike? Again, there are so many tasks and responsibilities competing for all of our time and attention. Where is the place that you can engage fruitfully, using your gifts to “build up the body of Christ” (Eph 4)?
Through it all, how can your Elders, Deacons, Board, Ministry Team Leaders, and Staff work to support you? What do you need from us so that you can grow deeper roots and wider branches in 2018?