United Methodist bishop Robert Schnase of the Missouri Area has written a popular book about strengthening local churches, Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. Many congregations and regional conferences have used this as the basis for rethinking how they do ministry. The local church where I worship is no different. For the past five weeks, we have been going through the book and taking personal time to reflect on our own congregation. I want to share with you some of the ideas that came to my head.
First off, let me mention what these five practices are:
- Radical hospitality
Intentional faith development
Risk-taking mission and service
Schnase says that the point in having these five practices is to “give congregations a common language.” As a Christian communicator, I understand that a common language is important to conveying the message. Five practices are simple enough for church members to get their heads around and still have choice as to what areas they could best focus on.
The bishop further goes on to say that the adjectives used with each of these practices could be interchanged. Yet, the important thing is that we should take a step beyond what is typical. Hospitality, worship, faith development, mission and service and generosity are all important; however, we need to take them to a higher level where the emphases become much more obvious in our lives.
Please join me in the conversation here as I explore each of these practices of fruitful congregations and feel free to check out Bishop Schnase’s own five practices blog. Together we can transform the church and the world as we devote ourselves to the teachings of Christ.