The whole FUMC team is now onboard here at the Leadership Institute (Allison arrived late last night), and we’ve spent a very rich day in plenary sessions, worship, and workshops. Phyllis reported several great ideas she gleaned from her morning workshop on “Local Missions”, while Allison learned about “Keys to Revitalizing Churches”, Dan heard about Church of the Resurrection’s “Communications and Marketing Strategies” and I explored “Intentional Small Group Curriculum”.
We have been challenged time and again to think about the FOCUS of our ministry, and the importance of getting us all on the same page in terms of our purpose. We all know the power of synergy in nature and in human life, how we can do more, and go farther when we are truly “in sync” with each other…. to say nothing of being in sync with God!
Among the things that has captured my imagination here at Church of the Resurrection is their stated membership expectations. Their Senior Pastor, Adam Hamilton, suggests that membership needs to mean something, and that “something” is not necessarily the kind of perk that American Express, or Hilton Hotels, or even the MAC club might offer. So when people join this church, they are asked to make four commitments:
- To be in church every Sunday – EVERY SUNDAY – unless they are sick or out of town
(One thing that helps with this is that the church provides numerous worship services every week, at 7:45 am, 9 am, 10:45 am and 7 pm on Sundays, along with a Saturday night worship, and an internet service)
- To participate in a small group outside of weekly worship, in order to grow spiritually.
(Right now COR has a little over 200 small groups for their 18,000 members, led by trained leaders using a wide variety of resources.)
- To be in service to God in the church and in the world at least once a year.
(Spiritual gifts are honored and specific missional interests are lifted up as people find themselves in ministry together)
- To give a proportionate amount of their income to the ministry, moving toward a tithe (10% of one’s income) annually.
Now don’t panic! I am not suggesting that we jump into this kind of membership expectation overnight. But I am suggesting we consider what membership means for us at FUMC, and that we explore ways to deepen our own spirituality by challenging ourselves in some new ways.
Allison, Dan, Phyllis and I will be reflecting on our experiences at this year’s Leadership Institute for some time. And we will be sharing together – and with you – what makes sense for our congregation in our setting in this time. Stay tuned…. we are living in exciting times for Portland’s First (and I would say “best”) Church!