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This picture (taken by Quigg, of course!) is our staff spending a planning day together this week. We were seeking God for the answer to one question:

What does God want us to build together at Church of the Holy Spirit in 2016?

When we went into the day, we had no set agenda or obvious anticipated answer.  We just came with an open heart to what God wanted to say to us. After setting some goals based on our mission “Healthy Disciples growing Healthy Disciples” through Growing, Gathering, Gifts, Generosity, and Groups, we put our hand to the plow and our ear to heaven. I’m excited to report to you the top 3 things we believe God wants us to build in 2016:

  1. We want to become a Church that more fully understands and lives out the Gospel. What does this mean exactly? When we understand the Gospel, FULLY, it isn’t just a “ticket to heaven” or an invitation to be moral. You can’t add anything to the completed work of Christ on the cross for our sin. When we fully understand the Gospel, it spills into every aspect of our lives:
  • We forgive others more fully because we have been completely forgiven by Jesus. (Matt 6:12)
  • We want to be in relationship with others because Jesus is in relationship with us. (I John 4:19)
  • We serve and love the poor because Jesus serves and loves us who were poor. (Is 61:1)
  • We read, study, and obey His Word because we understand His immense love for us. We trust He wants to give us good things, not oppress us with rules. (Prov 3:5-6)

In 2016, we want to be a church that is continually reminded that our righteousness isn’t from our own efforts, but from Christ’s. Look for this reminder throughout the year in many different forms. Our prayer is that it will sink more deeply into our hearts and permeate our actions.

  1. We want to become a Church that prays. You may say, “Don’t we do prayers of the people each week?” Yes, and this will continue, but we want prayer to fill our days and nights as well.

I Thessalonians 5:17 says “Pray without ceasing.”

This verse has always amazed and challenged me. We want to have a “culture of prayer” where we stop, drop, and pray for each other throughout the day. We want to learn and practice all different types of prayers: adoration, thanksgiving, confession, listening prayer, prayers that engage in spiritual warfare, prayers with fasting, prayers for healing, and the list goes on. What does a culture of prayer look like?

  • People who are eager to be prayed for during the service
  • People who will feel comfortable praying for each other throughout the week and seek it out
  • Prayer meetings popping up spontaneously throughout the week
  • Life Groups filled with prayer
  • Alarm clocks waking us to prayer (and sometimes no alarm needed!)

A culture of prayer isn’t really something we can plan precisely or contrive, but we can “just do it.” Look for more opportunities to pray together in 2016 (and before) and then let’s see how God works.

  1. We want to become a church body that regularly shares our hope in Jesus with others. If we REALLY have the key to life, purpose, salvation, and an eternal relationship with God Himself, why aren’t we sharing it? For most of us, we are more likely to promote a good movie we have seen or a sports team. In 2016, we want to challenge you in evangelism, not through guilt, but through training and a more complete understanding of who YOU are in Christ.

Don’t worry, we aren’t going to be starting a door to door campaign, but we do want to train each other in the important work of sharing our faith. We want to give opportunities, both on Sunday mornings and during the week, for special events to which you can bring your spiritually seeking friends. We want you to be comfortable sharing your faith naturally and faithfully while on a hike with a friend, over dinner with family, or around the water cooler at work. We believe God is calling us to see many more un-churched and over-churched people walk through our doors and meet Jesus! We want to live out the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

Please pray for the leaders of the church as we think through the more specific “How” in these three challenges. We are looking forward to great things in the year to come because we serve a great God!