To attack laryngitis in your congregation head on, talk with your congregation’s lay and clergy leaders about how to start conversations about faith when you gather for worship. For help with this intentional practice, try the “10 ways to practice faith-sharing.”
• How can sermons become the first word rather than the last?
• How can you shape fellowship time so it becomes a training ground for the faithful to grow, rather than simply a social time to see old friends?
Over the next six months, we’d like to hear your answers and stories. Send them to elizabeth.hunter
@ thelutheran.org. The results will find their way into a future issue of The Lutheran.
Some Christians feel comfortable telling every stranger they meet the intimate details of their faith life with Jesus. Lutherans tend to go the other extreme. But with practice, vision and boldness, it’s possible Lutherans can find the middle ground.
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First Lutheran Church, Inglewood, Calif., started talking among themselves about what God is up to and what they’re to be about.
They had a retreat in January in which three groups read Scripture, prayed and talked for four hours. Each group came up with five to six core value statements that came from their work together. Then a leadership team edited those statements into six combined statements that served as a draft of their emerging guiding principles.
Four follow-up village meetings were held in homes to get as many parishioners involved in the conversation as possible.
The result was a set of guiding principles that the congregation had discussed and discerned together. Although still a work in progress, this small urban congregation has doubled worship attendance, going from 30 to 70 in the last year and a half.
The South Carolina Synod started “Growing God’s Mission” and hosted synodwide conversations last fall where leaders from many congregations—pastors and laity—gathered for focused prayer, Bible study and conversation about mission.
This meant that hundreds of people began to intentionally speak about God again: “What is God doing and how are we to participate?” Their answers continue to percolate with surprising results and the conversation continues to expand as Christians find themselves being cured of laryngitis and encouraged to reclaim their voices.
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers