Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations Bishop Robert Schnase
Vision Vibrant, growing congregations changing lives and reshaping futures for Jesus Christ.
Mission Equip congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world to the glory of God.
Radical hospitality Passionate worship Faith-forming relationships Risk-taking mission Extravagant generosity Connectional ministry Fervent prayer and diligent study of scripture Our Core Beliefs
Key Drivers • Spirit-led • Excellence • Fruitfulness • Accountability
Question How do we as United Methodists make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
Acts 2 Key: The life of the congregation.
Core Practices • Radical Hospitality • Passionate Worship • Faith-forming Relationships or Intentional Faith Development • Risk-taking Mission and Service • Extravagant Generosity
Radical Hospitality • Looks outward • Offers embrace of Jesus Christ
Passionate Worship Connects people to God Purpose: deepening our relationship with God and one another.
Faith-Forming Relationships Intentional Faith Development Learning in community in intentional ways
Risk-taking Mission and Service • Making a difference in the world • Pulled outside into risk-taking mission and service
Extravagant Generosity • Teach and preach the tithe • Aren’t afraid to talk about money • Putting God first
Core Practices Fundamental activities so critical to congregational mission that failure to perform them will lead to deterioration and decline.
Key Words • Critical • Excellence • Adjectives • intensify practice • resonate with Wesleyan means of grace • Fruitful
Accountable • God’s expectations • Making public what we do • Requires us to mature in word and deed • Acts 2
Advantages • Effective in conferences, congregations and with pastors • Clear, understandable, doable • Focuses on practices —what congregations can do • Provides common language
How we act shapes • congregations • individuals • groups
Congregation Radical Hospitality Passionate Worship Faith-Forming Relationships Children of God Risk-taking Mission and Service Children of God Disciples of Jesus Extravagant Generosity
Why? • Genuine love for Christ • Genuine love for one another • Desire to help others grow in faith as they become a part of the Body of Christ.
How? • Focus on those outside their congregation with as much passion as they have for those inside congregation. • Apply utmost creativity, energy, effectiveness • Exceed all expectations.
Christian Hospitality • Active desire to invite, welcome, receive care for strangers so that they find a spiritual home and discover unending richness of life in Christ.
Christian Hospitality • Genuine love for those outside congregation • Practices gracious love of Christ • Mark of Christian discipleship • Expression of our commitment to grow into likeness of Christ
Scripture God reminds Israel to welcome strangers. Why? “For you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 10:19
Scripture Jesus: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Matthew 25:35 Jesus: “Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me.” Matthew 18:5
Scripture Jesus: “Go therefore into the streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Matthew 22:8-9
Scripture Paul: “Welcome one another just as Christ has welcomed you for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7
Prevenient Grace • Preceding, preparing grace that draws people to God. • Works through stranger to move closer to God • Works through church to offer inviting love.
Questions • Who invited you? • Where did you become involved? • Why? • What/who made you feel welcome? • What difficulties did you have to overcome?
Radical Hospitality Techniques are important BUT Motivation is the key
Three Questions Every United Methodist Needs to be able to answer clearly • Why do people need Christ? • Why do people need church? • Why do people need this church? Adam Hamilton
A Caution “We’re a warm, friendly, caring church.”
What is RADICAL Hospitality? • Arising from the source • Drastically different from ordinary practice • Exceeds expectations • Goes to extreme joyfully • Excellence is the standard
Churches Practicing Radical Hospitality • Offer surprising and unexpected depth and authenticity in caring for stranger • Surprise newcomers with glimpse of unmerited gracious love of God • Constantly learn how to do better
Radical Hospitality Practicing radical hospitality is everyone’s ministry and every committee’s work.
Radical Hospitality Becoming a vibrant, growing, fruitful congregation requires a change of attitudes, practices, values.
Radical Hospitality Good intentions are not enough.
Questions • How do people hear about your church? • Is there a consistent plan for welcoming visitors who attend any church ministry?
Questions • When and where does your congregation train people? • What is one activity you or your group can do which will foster a culture of Radical Hospitality?
Passionate Worship • Connects people to God and one another • Authentic, alive, creative, comprehensible
Passionate Worship • Experience life-changing presence of God in the presence of others • Extra-ordinary warmth, genuiness, belonging
Worship • Times when we gather deliberately seeking to encounter God in Christ • Times when we cultivate our relationship with God and with one another as people of God
Worship • Fresh vision of God’s reality in Christ so that God can change us • Not just what people do, but what God does
Scripture • Synagogue means “to bring together” • Ekklesia means “called out of the world”