Understanding and recognizing the seasons of service help grow a healthy community that is focused on achieving its mission. Some communities focus on only one or two of the seasons, neglecting the others. The goal is to grow in each area and to see and celebrate how they work together to move you toward healthy growth.
LIVE: It is possible to become too busy to enjoy life or the people God has brought into your life. In a world focused on deadlines, constant improvement and continual growth we must learn what it means to simply live. When Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life to the full” he was talking about our being, not amassing a great fortune or growing some great ministry to gain the praise of men.
LEARN: Learning is a lifelong challenge and we must strive to be continually growing in our understanding and experience of God, ourselves, and others. Even as we take great steps forward in our knowledge of God we have only begun to “scratch the surface” of who the Alpha and Omega truly is. As we continue to grow and mature deeper truths about ourselves, our relationships and the world around us are revealed. As we open ourselves to experiencing life with those who are “not like us” we see God’s handiwork revealed in magnificent ways.
LABOR: Working toward a common goal builds community. It gives people the opportunity to exercise the gifts and talents given them by God to help the community grow and reach others. Coming together and uniting to accomplish a common task as simple as cleaning a yard or as complex as starting a homeless shelter demands teamwork. As we work together we see a picture of what it must be as Father, Son and Spirit work together to redeem and restore creation.
LAUNCH: New programs that grow out of living, learning, listening and laboring together are launched. Every launch should be viewed as temporary. After a trial period the launch will be reviewed to see if it remains consistent with our MVV, is meeting the stated goals, and continues to be a wise use of resources. Clear and measurable standards for review will be set before the launch and we should expect adjustments to be made after the evaluation.
LISTEN: Listening is key. Learning to listen for the still small voice of God in our own lives and learning to discern God’s leading, guiding and directing for individuals, and our community. Listening to ourselves sounds easy but is no simple task. Honestly acknowledging the feelings and emotions we are having is the first step to sharing openly and honestly with those in our community. We must listen to each other, truly hearing what the other is saying. Only as we truly hear the heartbeat of those around us can we begin to serve them well. Listening to others as we evaluate the effectiveness of ministries and programs we have launched in FBC Kennett Square and the surrounding community will allow our reach to grow and we will begin to see our role in growing the Kingdom expand.
©Rev. Daniel J. Nicewonger, March 2014