“Vibrant, fruitful, growing congregations practice Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity. . . These Five Practices are interconnected, and all are essential. By repeating, improving, and deepening these practices, congregations fulfill their mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” From the introduction to THE FIVE PRACTICES OF FRUITFUL CONGREGATIONS by Rev. Robert Schnase.
“ . . . you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1.8b
This passage from Acts marks the end of Jesus public ministry and the beginnings of the growth of what was to become the Christian church. This passage calls us into Risk-Taking Mission and Service. Mission and service describe the projects and work we do to make a positive difference in the lives of others, both here and around the world, whether they ever will be members of this church or not. Risk-taking pushes us out of our comfort zone to do new and different things.
“. . . for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me. . . . Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me ” Mt 25:35-36 & 40
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” Lk 4:18a
John Wesley would call mission and service Acts of Mercy. Acts of mercy are ministries of compassion, service, and justice that relieve suffering, feed the hungry, visit the imprisoned, and heal the sick. These we do in obedience to Christ. We serve others for the purposes of Christ. These are the personal and daily acts of service, kindness, and sacrifice that improve the conditions of life for our neighbors. In wider measure, acts of mercy include our social witness and advocacy, our work for justice and peace, and our support of systems that protect the vulnerable and relieve suffering.
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” Lk 6:32
As we increase our practice of Risk-Taking Mission and Service we, as a congregation will become more confident of our role in Christ’s Body. It becomes contagious. People will notice and want to be a part of it.
Please pray daily:
God of Love & Grace, we, the faith family of the First United Methodist Church of Waverly, Illinois humbly seek your guidance. We ask that you fill our hearts with love and our minds with creative thoughts as we seek new ways of reaching out to those in our community who need the presence of Your Love in their lives. Give us courage and wisdom for the days to come. In the name of Christ Jesus we pray, Amen
Grace, Peace, & Love