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January 06, 2019

Dear Sisters, Brothers and Friends in Christ,

I invite us to spend the next year focusing on church growth. Church growth is a ministry of the whole congregation. As we focus on growth I will be sharing some of my Doctor of Ministry project and my research on church growth in smaller congregations.

Traditional understandings of church growth focus primarily on increasing the number of members. I propose another way to look at church growth which focuses not on numerical growth but on an increase in spiritual energy that deepens the congregation’s connection with God and responds to the needs of the people in its community. This definition redefines the goal of church growth as an increase in spiritual energy in the church that enlivens the congregation and the ministry they do together. Spiritual energy is the movement of God’s Spirit that is obvious in the lives of individuals and in the congregation. When members experience spiritual energy in their church, they care about both the people in the congregation and the people in the wider community. The members of the faith community are excited about how they are growing as disciples and serving their neighbors. They are eager to share their faith stories and to invite people to be a part of what they are doing. They are living their faith in their daily lives and seeking ways to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Christ in their community.

I invite us to begin by focusing on one aspect of church growth-hospitality. Here is a FAST way to help guests feel welcome at Lynnhurst.

A FAST Way to Help GUESTS Feel Welcome

F - Friendly

· Stop what you are doing and focus on them

· Smile, smile, smile

· Make steady eye contact

· Introduce yourself, ask their name and then use their name as often as possible

A - Accurate

· Be prepared to receive them

· Know how to help them find their way quickly and easily

· Know where to take them - always walk with them instead of pointing

· Know information about ministries in the church - if they ask something you don’t know, find out for them.

S - Sympathetic

· Be sensitive to guest’s emotions

· Put yourself in their shoes - remember what it is like to walk in the doors for the first time

· Listen, really listen to their questions and concerns

· Go the second mile to meet their needs

T - Thankful

· Give them a welcome gift

· Thank them for being your guest

· Show them by your actions and attitude that it is an honor to welcome them

Blessings on the journey,

Pastor Monica

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