COME, SHARE, REJOICE AT ST. JOHN’S!
Giving Hope and
Exciting News about Church Growth Process!
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2016
9:00am Adult Christian Education
Bill Easum DVD on Church Growth:
Is is Time to Flip Your Church?
Sunday School for Youth
First Sunday in Lent
Christian Download for Children
SERMON TALK BACK
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15
President’s Day Holiday
Church Office Closed
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 17
12 noon Wednesday Worship followed by
The Largest Table Community Meal
6:00pm Body & Soul Planning Team
7:30pm Under the Stars Ministry
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 18
5:30 pm Worship Planning Team
Dear Members and Friends of St. John’s,
We experienced a remarkable Ash Wednesday this week, as we provided not one, but three, different opportunities for holy worship and the imposition of ashes to literally mark the beginning of our Lenten season. On Wednesday we heard once again the words of the Psalmist:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12
These historic words mark the start our 40 day Lenten journey at St. John’s, a time when it is the custom of the church to prepare for Easter by a season of penitence, fasting, and prayer. It is a time to confess our brokenness to God, a time to become reconciled to our faith community, and a time to renew our baptismal faith. It is a time for turning around, a time to make a right beginning, and as a mark of our mortality, a time to receive the sign of the cross to remind the world that we are God’s.
Lent is usually a time of “giving up” in the Christian tradition – “giving up” things like meat or chocolate or bad habits. Yet Lent is also a time for living into the hope that with God, all things are truly possible. Nothing is impossible for God!
So instead of “giving up” this Lenten season, we instead have chosen to “give” to our city to light the way to a brighter future, as we seek to be a beacon of hope in the heart of the city of Columbus.
We invite our church members and friends to “GIVE” (rather than “give up”!) HOPE to each other and to our wider community for Lent, to live into the new possibilities God is providing for us, especially as we prepare for our ground-breaking work with our church growth consultant, Dr. Easum.
So as you reflect upon the tremendous opportunities God is providing for us at St. John’s, this Lenten season you are invited to find some way to GIVE HOPE to someone else – recognize someone’s effort, share a kind word of encouragement, offer a compliment, post an inspiring photo on Facebook, pledge a tithe to the church to support our ministries, make a donation to The Open Shelter.
Be creative! During the process of offering hope to another, we hope you will be blessed with an increased sense of optimism in your own life and in our church.
In addition, you are invited during Lent to participate with our church membership in preparing for Dr. Easum’s work with our church.
There are FIVE WAYS you are invited to prepare for Dr. Easum’s work with St. John’s during the Lenten season:
Attend the Sunday 9am Adult Christian Education Class about Dr. Easum’s processWe are hosting a a DVD based program from Dr. Easum called Easum’s Arsenal for Church Growth, along with a study of Dr. Easum’s book (below).
Participate in the Easum leadership book study: Unfreezing Moves – Following Jesus into the Mission Field.Our church leaders will be studying this book by one of the most widely sought advisors on congregational health and vitality in North America. From Consistory to committees to the congregation, ALL are invited to pick up a copy of this book from the church office.
This work will help our congregation become more: 1) faithful, 2) permission-giving, 3) servant-empowering, and 4) constantly innovating –
so we can fulfill our basis reason for existence as a church: to be with Jesus on the mission field, making disciples who make a difference in the world.
Attend a Lenten Sermon “Talk-Back” following worship Starting THIS SUNDAY, February 14, I will be hosting Sermon Talk-Backs following worship each Sunday during Lent, with our (re)New Christians Group. Over lunch at a local restaurant, we will discuss the Easum study book and the sermon, listening for God’s leading during our lively conversation and warm Christian fellowship.
Participate in our Four Week Worship Survey and reserve the weekend of April 8-10During worship, we are currently conducting a short, written Worship Survey for four weeks in a row, to provide concrete data to Dr. Easum in advance of his consultation with us. Don’t miss this opportunity to participate!
Then on April 8-10, Dr. Easum will travel from Texas to be with us on site to conduct clergy, staff, and leadership interviews, teach workshops, and observe our worship experience. After the observation and interviews, Dr. Easum will prepare detailed recommendations for our church growth plan, which he will present to the congregation during a Sunday evening presentation on April 10th.
Following the onsite consultation, Dr. Easum will enter into a year-long coaching relationship with St John’s clergy and lay leaders to help us implement the church growth recommendations. This coaching relationship is a wonderful, positive way to keep our leaders engaged, motivated, and inspired to continue to move forward!
PRAY positively each week for St. John’s Transformation Steering Committee, your Senior Pastor and church staff, and Dr. Easum
Each week you are invited to set aside special prayer time that God might bless this intentional effort to lead and grow our church. We are living into what church consultants call “The Basic Law of Congregational Life” – Churches are healthiest, and are able to grow, when they reach out to others.
So please join us in celebrating this good news in our next steps forward at St. John’s! Please also join me in fervent prayer during our 40 days of Lent for the hope-filled future of our church, and our people, as we move even more deliberately into a new age of mission and ministry in Columbus, as a Beacon of Hope in the Heart of the City!
With abundant hope for our future,