Sunday, January 8, 2012

Being bold: Anglican Journal poses seven questions every church should ask

We will soon embark upon a season of intentional listening to what the Holy Spirit is calling us to do at St. Paul's.

The Vestry spent much of 2011 laying the ground work for this process, and you will hear more about it today from Lloyd Snook, our junior warden.

In the weeks ahead, there will be many opportunities for people in our parish to get together to talk, listen and pray together, and to dream about what we strengthen and renew in our ministry. Two years ago, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came to St. Paul's to help us celebrate our centennial, and she challenged us to "be bold." Her words resonated with our Vestry and parish leaders and laid the groundwork for what we hope to do now in this listening process. I will have much more to say about this process in this space and in the pulpit.

We are not alone in this discernment process -- other churches are engaged in very similar listening projects. I came across this item the Saturday in the Anglican Journal: an article by the Rev. Dr. Gary Nicolosi entitled "Seven questions every church should ask." These are great questions, and to read the full article, click HERE. The seven questions are:

1: What would be lost, and how would the world be worse off, if our church ceased to exist? 
2: How does our church add value to people’s lives that they cannot live without–whether they know it or not? 

3: What challenges in the fulfillment of mission does our church face and what can we do to bring about that new thing God wants our church to be? 
4: What are the barriers to seeing reality that our church needs to move beyond? 
5: What issues does our church need to face within the next year so that five years from now, we won’t have to say, “We wish we had…” 
6: If money were not an issue, where would you like your church to be five years from now? 
7: In what ways can we affirm “Jesus is Lord” without appearing to be bigots?

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