Pastor’s Column – Winter 2021
Some weeks ago, I listened to a pod-cast hosted by Rev Dr Leah Hidde-Gregory of the Wesleyan Covenant Association Revitalization Task Force. The panel emphasized that good church practices are not new or magical. The chief characteristic of the new Church in Jerusalem was that it was formed by the work of the Holy Spirit. That fellowship continually grew and there were adult baptisms regularly.
We have experienced a shrinking of worship attendance in the COVID-19 pandemic. The loss of life in our community and worldwide has had a dampening effect upon the peoples’ enthusiasm. There is a sense of urgency to keep serving the many who need spiritual encouragement and growth.
It is up to us to put and end to negative thinking. Christ is at the center of all that we are and all that we do. Much else has been stripped away by the hardships of our times. This is an opportunity, not a set back.
The WCA leadership group has offered a simple blueprint for moving into the future as the body of Christ. Here are some practices and guiding questions that form a measuring tool for the health of the community of Jesus followers:
1. Be firmly and exclusively Christ-centered. Strip away all else.
2. Offer Christian Education that is useful for spiritual formation and growth.
3. Practice actively sharing your faith, corporately and individually.
4. Create a clear Discipleship Process for each one who comes to us.
5. Actively seek renewal with an annual revival event or series.
6. Learn and practice the historical Wesleyan Faith
Are there small groups in your fellowship?
Are you actively making disciples?
Is the church out in mission in the unity of the Holy Spirit?
Is there ministry going on out in the community with every small group?
Is the church telling the Gospel Story?
7. Active care of one another in the fellowship.
8. Growth in understanding the social and cultural context of the church.
9. Building the kingdom of Christ in that mission and ministry context.
Prayer groups gathering for regular prayer for the church, the community and the lost.
Brokenness and wounds need prayer and forgiveness.
Practice times of true, honest corporate and individual self-examination.
Develop a strong desire to create as welcoming atmosphere as possible for making disciples of Jesus.
Form as many Bible Study groups as you have teachers and facilitators.
Simplify the administration of the church.
Preach and teach the Gospel — offer a time of welcome at the altar and prayer rail after Holy Communion.
Yours in Christ,