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,
NATURAL CHURCH DEVELOPMENT (NCD) UPDATE:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
“Time to Tell”
· Lenten Series: “The Land Between”
“The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions”
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