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March 2011 - From the Intern

posted Mar 1, 2011, 1:12 PM by Linda Dickinson   [ updated Aug 17, 2011, 1:47 PM ]

Dear Friends in Christ,


It is hard to believe that March is already here!  While I’m glad this means spring is on the horizon, it is sad my time here is drawing to a close.  In this issue, I’d like to bring you up to date on the Natural Church Development (NCD) initiative we began last summer and introduce a couple of upcoming events at Elmwood.


May God richly bless you,

David Fritz




Last summer, both lay leaders and Elmwood staff participated in a NCD survey designed to gauge where our church stood in eight different areas related to a healthy and growing church (e.g. empowering leadership, needs-based evangelism, passionate spirituality). The results, which were presented to the congregation in August, showed our area of greatest strength is loving relationships and the area we needed to focus on was our worship service.

In November, a team of Elmwood members along with Pastor Fred and myself began to meet to go over the results.  Over the course of several meetings, the team became familiar with the NCD program, examined the survey results, brainstormed for suggestions, and prayed for the Lord’s guidance on how to proceed.

As a result of these meetings, the team identified three areas we would like to focus on in the coming months in regard to the worship service:


  • Praying for the Service

We want to be more deliberate about praying for all aspects of the service.  One way we can do this is we will start having a short time of prayer prior to service where anyone is welcome to join Pastor Fred and me to pray for the service and for us.  Each Sunday at 10:20 a.m. you are invited to come to the conference room for a short time of prayer.


Another recommendation is to encourage those with the gift of intercession to be praying during the service.  These people will attend the worship service as usual, but will be intentional about praying for the service as it progresses.  If you are interested in this, please see Pastor Fred or me.


  • Involving More People in the Service

The team felt it was important that we provide as many opportunities as possible for people to be involved in the service.  We are beginning to have members from the congregation read the Scriptures each week.  In the coming months, we will be looking to give families the chance to serve together as ushers.  In addition, we are exploring ideas for involving the children more in our time of worship.


  • Delivering Sermon Series

Throughout the year, Elmwood typically follows a predetermined set of readings for preaching on. The team recommended that we depart from this at times and instead have sermon series which leadership believes to be applicable to Elmwood.  The series will remain biblically based, but will allow the flexibility to present topics over a number of weeks.


  • Enhancing Our Visitor Experience

We want to make sure our visitors feel welcome here at Elmwood, from the time they pull into the parking lot to leaving after the service.  This includes many practical types of things from the type of coffee we serve, to being intentional about greeting them before, during, and after the service.  One recommendation you will see put into place in the next few months is a new “Welcome Center” in the lobby dedicated to introducing guests to Elmwood and providing members with information about what is going on.




·         New Sermon Series to Begin in March
On Sunday, March 6th, we will begin a six part sermon series entitled “Time to Tell.”  The author of the book of Hebrews, in his chapter about the heroes of the faith, did not have the time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David and Samuel (Hebrews 11:32).  So, we are going to take the time to tell about the lives of these men of faith to see how God worked through them —often despite themselves — to accomplish great things.  He can do the same in our lives!


“Time to Tell”

March 6th       Gideon

March 27th     Jephthah

March 13th     Barak

April 3rd        David

March 20th     Samson

April 10th       Samuel



·         Lenten Series: “The Land Between”
During Lent we will do a sermon series based on a book by Pastor Jeff Manion entitled “The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions.”  The Land Between is “where life is not as it once was, where the future is in question.”  Things such as financial hardship, illness or other crises thrust us into The Land Between.  How we respond to The Land Between “will determine whether our journey through the desert will result in deep, lasting growth or prove destructive to the soul.” Whether you are in The Land Between now, or know someone who is, this series will help you and others walk through these times and emerge transformed.


“The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions”

March 9th           “The Land Between”

March 30th     Provision

March 16th     Complaint

April 6th        Discipline

March 23rd     Meltdown

April 13th       Growth