The topic “assigned” last month to our St. Arbucks’ coffee clutch group was “What are the signs of Health and Hope in your Congregation?” We offer these 10 insightful concepts for you and your “group” to discuss and share, with or without the Starbucks:
- There is a vision for the future. It is God’s vision of faith and hope that we are empowered to articulate. Verbalize it, name it, repeat it, live it!
- There is a celebrative spirit! There is laughter. There are smiles and hugs. And even in the tears, there is love and acceptance.
- There is a “passion” for people! Faith communities know that “God so loved the world” – and that includes everyone, those inside and those outside of our faith communities. There is a passion to tell others of God’s love for them, especially to those who think God has forgotten them.
- There is a sense of Hope! Hope is not a naïve wish that everything will go well. Rather, it is the assurance that in spite of the Good Fridays in our lives, there is always an Easter!
- There is the proclamation of the Gospel, in doing and in telling. The Gospel of Christ is alive because the Spirit is present in our lives.
- There is a global mind-set. We see the Lord alive in all of life throughout all the world with all of His people and we help and encourage others to connect with other cultures, ideologies, and environments.
- There is a sense of “taking care of ourselves” as individuals with gifts and needs, and as people of ALL ages – the younger and the older. This, however, is not an inward look at the expense of looking “outward” to others, but it is a commitment to keep each other healthy and whole in the name of the healing Christ. We need to care for ourselves so that we are equipped to care for others.
- There is a “servant-leadership” style. Our task is to equip those we serve so that they are equipped to serve others. This is the sign of a servant leader in Christ! This is the sign of Christ living in us! Servants come in all ages, colors, and sizes!
- There is a lot of “Resurrection Practicing!” As Wendell Barry puts it: “Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts!” Practice Resurrection daily!
- There is forgiveness ….always! Life is for-giving! And life is forgiving. We live out a life of forgiveness because He first has forgiven us!
And Let all of God’s people – the younger and older – say AMEN and HOORAY!