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Seeking Transformation

Updated: Sep 5, 2019

Photo by Suzanne D. Williams on Unsplash

"Be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2

We are on a journey of renewal, of redevelopment and transformation as a congregation. In his latest blog , ELCA Pastor Dave Daubert writes about the role of the individual in churches seeking transformation. He begins with Article 7 of the Augsburg Confession, on the nature of the church. The point is simply this: the church is the “assembly of believers.” That means that no matter what your denominational polity and structure that your national church, your regional church and your local church are all derived through the assembling of believers. The basic unit for building the life of the church is an individual believer. The church will NEVER be stronger than the faith and faithfulness of the people. Design the same house plan and then build it twice – once out of stone and once out of straw and the two identical designs will not fare equally well. You can’t make anything out of weak materials and have it turn out as well as if you use strong ones. Study after study about the faith life and discipleship of mainline participants shows underdeveloped faith, lack of growth and maturation that is connected to congregational life, and in many cases a majority who either don’t believe it at all or have no idea what it has to do with the rest of their lives. This is the raw material out of which we then build congregations and the rest of the church. So here is the bottom line: As long as we don’t do more to help people develop as Christian disciples who see their lives claimed by God’s grace and then continuing the work of Jesus, anything we do to make their congregations stronger is working uphill. If we don’t rethink this, the work of renewal is built on sand. If we want to help congregations renew and become vital places for ministry again, way more attention needs to be given to growing the discipleship of the people there as the foundation. While these may seem like hard words, when we recognize that our church is a collection of individuals, we know that we each have an important role in our congregation's transformation. So how have you been growing in discipleship? Looking back at our journey during Lent, you will remember that one of our guiding principles is that we nurture our faith and grow our discipleship in God’s word . While we know that God’s love for us is not dependent on how much time we spend in study and prayer, I know that we are all invited into a deeper relationship with God, learning to swim in the currents of God’s grace. To become proficient in something requires regular practice. To grow in faith and discipleship, we need to spend more time with God in God’s word and prayer than just the time we are at church. As a congregation, we offer ways to help kickstart your life of discipleship like our three weekly Bible studies or our Lenten Journey. This summer, in late July and August, we will dive into a sermon series about ways we are invited into deeper lives of faith. For many of us, summer brings different rhythms to our lives. I invite you to consider how you might seek to grow in faith over the summer. It could be to join a Bible study group that you don’t normally attend. It could be committing to read Scripture daily through an app like Read Scripture . What are ways you have found to connect your faith to daily life? How do you like to spend time in God’s presence? Are there ways the congregation can support you or teach you? Feel free to share or ask questions! In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord, Pastor Lecia


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