Worship, Fellowship & Service in the Congregational Tradition
New Beginnings Program
New Beginnings Sundaywas celebrated on September 20 with the installation of the Council Members, a presentation of the newly published New Beginnings Summary...and of course, cake and a fantastic fellowship spread.
There are more copies of the Summary document available in the Parish Hall.
"I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:18)
Little Home Church is at a critical juncture in its life; we are about to revision the direction of the church for the years ahead. For nearly a year we have been involved in a New Beginnings assessment process guided by prayer, congregational input and a leadership team. Now we are ready to move to next steps of compiling data, selecting a direction, reaching a congregational consensus, all guided by our new Long Range Planning Team.
We know this process is critical because we see a world that is different. The largest church "denomination" in our country are the unchurched! Some say that small churches will be gone in 30 years, except for the small percentage of those that are vitally alive in spirit and mission. We can't afford to utter the "seven last words" of the church: "We've always done it this way before." We can no longer expect that everything we know and like to do as church will be what will meet the needs of those not here yet.
It is a major paradigm shift that we are being asked to make, i.e. to focus our church outward toward the community and world around us and not exclusively centered on our own needs. Yes, we do give to others, but is our orientation and reputation about others? Caring for our own needs is absolutely necessary but equally important is reaching out and being identified in the community as a church that serves others. It's the difference between being exclusively caretakers of the aquarium VS going fishing.
The New Beginnings report says it this way. The Missional Church is:
--The shift from making good church members to making disciples of Christ
--The shift from church growth to community transformation
--The shift from preserving the institution to sending local missionaries.
Becoming a re-visioned church that is missional in nature begins with building and strengthening our spiritual community right here. We can't go out and tell the "Good News" unless we experience the good news right here at LHC. Frederic Buechner says it this way: "The place God calls you to serve is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's deep hunger." When our 'gifts' and talents match the needs of the community we will know deep joy...and God's smile.
With God's strength and guidance, we can do this!
As the earth comes alive again, we at LHC move to the next phase of the New Beginnings program. It is at this juncture that your input is required. Each congregation member is invited to participate in Phase III by attending one of the congregational discussion series. The team is offering a day-long Saturday gathering; a series of three two-hour sessions Sunday after Worship; and a series of three two-hour Thursday evening sessions. Look for posted information on dates, times and sign-up sheets in the Parish Hall. Or email the church office to let us know which 'Path to Participation' you would like to choose: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the first session, attendees will receive a copy of the comprehensive report compiled by Doug Pfeiffer from Hope Partnership. The reports will be reviewed and discussed in depth in small groups facilitated by a team member. Topics for conversation will include the life/mission/ministry of LHC in the community; current energy levels and member participation; available resources; challenges for growth; and our readiness to embrace change.
All your thoughts and ideas shared in the various sessions will be collated and brought to the congregation. Then, after prayerful consideration of all the discussions, the goal is to come to a congregational consensus on the future mission/direction for LHC, what God has called us to do. Once LHC has made a thoughtful, realistic decision about the future we can move forward and our work shall begin in earnest.
New Beginnings is not a problem-solving program for LHC or any Church. It is a path to guide us into looking at ourselves with clear vision and an open mind to unknown possibilities. To move forward we must stop doing the same things over and over again expecting different results each time.
Dialogue and open lines of communication are vital to the success of this process. Please feel free to bring any comments or question to a member of the team: Pastor David; Kathy Haben; Kathleen and Bob Kaska; Nancy Schatzeder; Peg Schramuk; Susi and Jim Winquist.