As we move forward together one of our goals is to create more and more alignment around three critical environments:
I use the word environment very intentionally. According to Webster, an environment is the "surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates." Rather than building programs, we are cultivating conditions in which we can all grow in love for God and others.
Why are these three environments so foundational?
Gatherings, what we do on Sunday mornings when we gather (see what I did there), cultivate worship, celebration, teaching, service, and togetherness. They remind us we are part of a larger body. Some of Jesus’ foundational teaching and culture-building took place in larger gatherings (Matthew 5:1-2, 9:35-38), and the gathering environment gives us a taste of what heaven will be like (Revelation 7:9-12).
Groups, what we do when we gather in more intimate settings throughout the week, cultivate deeper conversation, dialogue, and relationship. This is the environment where we can be known well, and where we can hash out what it looks like for us to follow Jesus and be formed into his ways of life. Jesus is our model here as well, as he selected a smaller group of people to invest the majority of his time in (Luke 5:1-11, 8:1-3, 9:1-6).
Generosity, using our gifts and resources to point toward God’s kingdom, cultivates environments to live out Jesus’ command to love our neighbors (Mark 12:29-31). This includes serving on Sundays, getting to know our neighbors, and meeting tangible needs.
I believe that in the next two months we have a unique opportunity to do this in how we love our neighbors in Paradise who have been impacted by the Camp Fire. While we are still sorting out the fullness of our response, a first step will be dedicating our Care and Compassion offering for November to the relief efforts. Come ready to give this Sunday so that together we can be a blessing! You may also give now by donating online and writing "Paradise" in the memo.
Speaking of generosity, one of the ways we model this corporately is through giving away 10% of what we bring in as a church to people and causes that are making disciples around the world. For the foreseeable future, I will be including a quick update from our Missions Team about someone we support each month. Please take a few moments to read and pray and stay up to speed on the work God is doing through you around the world.
Thank you all!
Grace and Peace,