The promise of our church is great! Newcomers note our warm hospitality in the manner of Jesus and the commitment to serve the community with a vision toward transformation. We also have a community of diverse backgrounds, expectations and spiritual journeys. This is enshrined in our mission statement to nurture our diverse spiritual journeys by joining together as a servant community. When I first read this statement I saw both its promise and its challenge.
The promise is that we pay attention to the reality of our own church community and its dynamic and emerging journey. The challenge is to develop ways and methods of nurturing those diverse paths. One way or method or program will not nurture all. So, the need inherent in our mission is to have the capacity to listen to the life of the spirit across our congregation and the community we seek to reach. Then we must develop ways to nurture this spirit and join together as servants.
Nurturing our diverse spiritual journeys is a focus of my pastoral leadership, a growing focus and alignment of the staff and my collaborative invitation to the lay leadership of our church. Increased financial commitments in response to our Leaping Forward fund appeal will allow us to invest in staff to help develop this capacity.
It is my conviction that congregational engagement in the fulfillment of our mission is a key to our vitality. It is the message I received from so many of you that there is an earnest desire to be engaged, but there is uncertainty about how and where to become involved. My certain hope is that as we practice this way of engagement together this will be so much a part of the culture of our congregation throughout its leadership and participation that we will not be dependent on our staff, but it will be our way of life.