A Note from Pastor Dave…
April 1, 2012 by Pastor Dave Scifres
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
(John 15:8 – NRSV)
This snippet of Scripture comes from a longer passage in John 15 where Jesus develops the metaphor of the vine, its root, and the branches. God is the root, Jesus is the vine, and we as the people of God are the branches, created metaphorically speaking, to bear much fruit that glorifies God.
Several years ago Missouri Bishop, Robert Schnase wrote a book called Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations that outlined the critical practices of congregations that bear much fruit. These practices are: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Faith Development, Risk-Taking Mission and Service, and Extravagant Generosity
I believe the influence of these five practices can be seen within the goals we set in our Vital Congregations goal-setting process. I also hope that you see their influence in the initial actions we’ve taken as a church as we attempt to meet these goals.
Sometime ago, the Missouri conference began a related program called The Fruitful Congregations Journey, which is a team-based, leadership development discovery process to help churches to more effectively fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The process first helps develop a church’s leadership base so as to provide it with greater strength. Then the process helps a church discern what next steps it needs to take in order to be more fruitful and effective. In healthy, growing churches the process helps churches move to even greater effectiveness. In plateaued or declining churches, it helps provide them with a strategy and coach to move forward. In the process, leaders customize the directions and outcomes to fit their church’s particular ministry context.
The effectiveness of this program has been proven in many congregations in Missouri, and is beginning to yield results in congregations in Indiana. I am pleased that the conference has chosen our church to be one of only 50 churches to begin this journey next year, and that our Church Vitality Task Force and the Administrative Council have voted to support this effort.
There is much to discuss as we prepare to move forward with this journey that we believe will be a significant help to us in meeting our goals as a church. Information is posted on the bulletin board outside my office, and this will be the topic of our TNT program for several weeks after Easter. I hope you will choose to engage in this dialog!
Sincerely in Christ,
From UMC Northwest District Office
April 1, 2012 by Pastor Dave Scifres
Operation Classroom plans to hold its annual In-Gathering during Conference Briefings
Instead of holding its annual In-Gathering of supplies during the annual conference session in June, Operation Classroom, an Indiana Conference-related mission to UM-related schools in Liberia and Sierra Leone, will hold its In-Gathering at the Conference Briefing locations. Here are supplies OC will be gathering to meet the requests of its related schools and hospitals:
- Health Kits*
- Children’s Tylenol
- Children’s multi-vitamins (not gummy)
- First aid supplies
- Softsoap Antibacterial liquid hand soap
- Back packs for kids
- Reems of copy machine paper
- NIV or RSV Bibles
- Soccer balls, basketballs and kick balls
You may bring any of these items, as well as YES and ET kits, powered milk and other school and medical supplies, to the conference briefings. Please bring all items in unsealed boxes. To help with the shipping costs, please include a donation in an envelope and place it inside the box. For more information, check the webpage www.operationclassroom.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org or call OC at 765-436-2805 or 765-650-0231.
*Health Kits include:
- 1 bath towel (average size)
- 1 washcloth
- 1 tube toothpaste (4.5 oz. or larger), and 1 toothbrush (both in original wrapping)
- 1 bar soap (bath-size) (in original wrapping)
- 1 can talc powder or bottle of body lotion (put into small Ziploc bag)
- 1 bottle multi-vitamins (expiration date no earlier than March 2013)
- 1 bottle Tylenol (expiration date no earlier than March 2013)
- 1 small bottle hand-sanitizer, such as Purell
Place contents into a small Ziploc bag.
INSTRUCTIONS: To pack the kit, place all other items onto the bath towel. Fold up so that everything will be secure inside. Then place the bundle inside a 2-gallon Ziploc, other plastic bag secured with tape, or a plastic storage container. Please box them and indicate what is inside the box, and specify how many kits. (You may include any additional items in a separate plastic bag.)