By Pastor Bill Crabtree
The great turn out for our Lay School, which focused on empowering us to share our faith story, displays great ownership in SLC’s current “Connect More to Christ” emphasis. How exciting to see! Thanks be to God! Our evaluations revealed the most helpful aspect of the event was the practice in conversing about matters of faith. Part of that practice, and for me, the most helpful learning, was the first exercise we did regarding our “why” when it comes to sharing our faith. I’ve since asked that question of each of our staff members. Interestingly, most answers are different but with the common conviction of wanting others to receive the blessings we’ve received from our relationship to Christ and his church. My “why” boiled down to wanting people to know and experience the same freedom and joy I’ve received from being in Christ. Specifically, I’m thinking of freedom from having to establish one’s self-worth and identity. The fancy word for this is “self-justification.” I believe all people live under this self-justifying oppressive weight and work. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Justification by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus, sets people free from the turned inward enterprise of self-justification enabling us to focus outward on others, our community, and world. Moreover, I could go on to talk about freedom from the fear of death. Nevertheless, what I realized is that asking this simple “why” question, opens up our understanding of the significance of the Gospel. So whether you were at Lay School or not, I hope you will ponder your “why” and motivation for sharing your faith in Christ Jesus. Our “why” both individually and as a congregation, is the starting point for “connecting more people to Christ.”
I also enjoyed the Sunday conversation regarding “branding” and “inviting.” We are currently working on an introduction video for our website that will greatly enhance our “brand” as well as thinking about a new logo for SLC. Moreover, we will continue to work on our skills and comfort level when it comes to inviting people to worship or other SLC events. A couple of specific points around “inviting” remain in my thoughts. The first one is how helpful it can be in extending an invitation to have a special event or “guest Sunday” worship service. In other words, something specific for guests increases our ability to extend an invitation. Our ALPHA program is an example. Another possibility the Council is tossing around is having a back-to-school BQ with free school supplies for our immediate neighborhood. Another point is the more enthusiastic we are about our church, the more likely we are to invite others to participate. Therefore, not only do we want to ponder our “why,” we also want to ponder our level of engagement and excitement about SLC’s ministry. What could we do together that would get you more fired up about SLC which in turn will make you and all of us more ready to extend an invitation to others? Three one-hour sessions can only do so much but our time with Pastor Melanie I believe got us moving in some positive directions!