A Salty, Shining Church
Posted on Jan 13, 2017 in Faith Updates
Last Sunday morning we made some very important steps in clarifying our course for 2017! Our time was so important I believe a quick recap of the message is important.
Our text for the morning was Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Here Jesus gives His followers a clear identity—salt and light. Salt and light preserves and shines.
In Jesus’ day salt was used as a preservative to prevent decay. Why does the world need a preservative? Because anything left to its own devices moves from order to disorder. Jesus formed the Church because He knew the world needed kingdom people who would stand in front of the moving train of decay and say, “Stop. There’s a better way! The way of our King!
Jesus also says His Church is light—like a “city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” In Jesus’ day, a city glowing with its light on a mountain meant all the travelers wandering in the dark knew where to go for food, lodging and comfort. Jesus here entrusts His disciples with light for those wandering in the darkness.
How will Faith Covenant Church increase its capacity to preserve and shine in 2017? First we have to be clear about our calling: Faith Covenant Church is a family of grace making disciples of Jesus who make disciples of Jesus. This is what we do. A disciple is an apprentice. We exist to help people become apprentices of Jesus who will then help other people become apprentices of Jesus.
What are the pathways we will take to fulfill this calling? We call the pathways—Gather, Grow, and Go.
For the past 2000 years, the Church has been gathering weekly in local church communities to focus on worship, God’s word, and fellowship. If we want a salty, bright, shining church, we have to make the gathering of the body of Christ a weekly top priority in our schedules.
How did Jesus grow disciples? He began with a small group of 12 dedicated followers. And then among those 12 he developed even deeper relationships with 3—Peter, James, and John. We will seek to grow Jesus-followers the same way—small groups and peer-to-peer relationships. Seems so insignificant right? But it wasn’t long before Roman officials were complaining these disciples were turning the world upside down!
Salt cannot preserve if it doesn’t make contact. Light cannot shine if it is hidden under basket. So Jesus-followers go and serve locally and globally sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through word and deed.
Finally, I challenged all of us to imagine God’s preferred vision for our future. Imagine us getting really salty! Imagine the flavor of Christ permeating the passions of our remarkable community. Imagine the light of Christ moving from a candle, to a bonfire, to a forest fire! Imagine Faith Covenant Church a city on a hill where people who’ve been walking in the darkness find a new home in God’s family of grace.
If you weren’t able to be with us Sunday, I ask you to listen to the message online. We have a great 2017 in store for us. I challenge all of us boldly step into God’s future for Faith Covenant Church!
Here’s What’s Happening at Faith
Men’s Ministry Kick-Off
Men’s Ministry will kick-off Wednesday, January 18 at 6:15pm with special guest Sgt. Grant Snyder, a detective with the Minneapolis Police Department. He will speak on human trafficking. The following week we will begin our Resolute study. This a new men’s ministry at Faith seeking to help men become disciples and leaders who lead with conviction and integrity. For more information or questions, contact Chase Lenz at email@example.com.
As we hunker down in the midst of winter, plan to kick off the winter/spring Bible study season with a night of food and fellowship January 18, 6:15pm! Bring a friend! Suggested donation-$5 for dinner. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org so we know how much food to prepare. Our 7-week winter study of Hosea will begin on Tuesday, January 24 & Wednesday, January 25. Tuesday is 9:30-11:15am and offers childcare to those who preregister, Wednesday is 6:15-7:45pm and offers programs for children through Faith Kids. Contact Deb for more information at 952.432.2289 or email@example.com.
Small Group Leader Orientation
If you’ve been blessed by a small group and would like to extend that blessing to others, consider attending this small group leader orientation! You will be reminded of the value of small groups and learn some tips about creating a safe place for others to grow closer to God and one another. Two identical sessions are offered: Tuesday, January 24 (6-9pm) or Saturday, January 28 (9am-noon). To register, contact Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions? Contact Dave (email@example.com) or Hal (firstname.lastname@example.org). New small groups will launch February 12.
Wednesday Night Grow Classes – beginning January 25, 6:15pm
Two classes will be offered for adults this winter on Wednesday nights: Identified By Love, and Prayer: a Two-Way Conversation. Each is a 5-session class, starting on January 25. The Identified journey is a exploration of our identity according to God, and is taught by Pastor Brad. Prayer will be taught by Pastor Char.
Weekend to Remember
Every marriage requires intentional effort and attention and we are pleased to partner with FamilyLife MN to promote this retreat, March 3-5. Bob & Jaymie McNamara, longtime FCC members, recently attended one of these retreats and have agreed to serve as “hosts” for anyone at Faith who would like to attend. Bob & Jaymie will be in the lobby beginning January 29, with details and to answer any questions you might have. Registration will be offered Sundays, February 5 – 26.
Are you new to Faith Covenant or looking for a deeper connection with our family of grace? If so, plan to join pastors Brad and Char for lunch and an informal (yet informative) discussion on Sunday, January 29th, 11:45am-1:30pm (Classroom B). Childcare provided by request. Contact Ellen at email@example.com to save your spot!
Faith’s Connect ministry is preparing for a new season of intentional “inreach,” involving our deacons and each attendee at FCC. Our deacons look forward to actively engaging with you by way of a phone call or email mid-January. We look forward to growing deeper roots as the family of God! Questions? Contact Pastor Char at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feed My Starving Children Mobile Pack
FMSC is hosting a weeklong meal packing event, with the goal of packing 4 million meals to improve the lives of malnourished children throughout the world! This is a wonderful way to serve alongside others from our church family (minimum age: 5). To register click HERE. To join the packing group going on February 6, choose the 7:30-9:30pm group, Contact Char for questions at email@example.com.
The church council is seeking potential candidates for election to the council board. Positions that will be open are financial secretary, vice president (requires prior experience on a church board) and at large positions. If you have questions or would be interested in being a candidate, please contact Mark Heimkes at firstname.lastname@example.org.