As part of the process of considering what God is calling St. Timothy’s to do in our Vision 2020 process, I’ve been thinking about what are the factors that drive our faith journey. It seems obvious that the call is different for each person and when the call occurs also varies, but once we get it the process changes to choosing a place to witness and practice our spirituality and belief and then ways to live into that faith.
I believe that St. Timothy’s is called to be part of an unbroken chain of faith that comes from God’s motivation to Bishop Shires to write that letter to Rev. Hodgkin and his actions to start a new mission down the road in Danville.
In turn, we are bound to live into that unbroken chain of faith by living into our faith. The question is how, what, when and where.
CALL TO FAITH
The first part of our faith journey is our personal call to faith. What drives us to respond to God’s call?
- Personal call to faith. Sometimes the Holy Spirit comes to us when we need it most calling us to a faith relationship that renews us, heals us, centers us and saves us. Every one of the baptized has a personal reason for their faith journey. The job of the church is to celebrate that faith journey and to enable us to love God and seek Christ through corporate worship.
- Instilling Faith in our Kids. Every parent feels the duty to raise kids in a healthy, wholesome, loving environment and instilling a belief in God and a start of their own faith journey is part of parenting. The job of the church is to enable and support parents in this start.
- Renewing Faith’s Call to Grace. Sometimes things throw us off course and we doubt our faith. God is patient and always waiting for the prodigal son to return. The Eucharist is our call to renewal, rebirth, recovery, and restoration into our faith journey. The job of the church is to be there when we need it most to hold us up and welcome us home.
- To Be Part of a Faith Family. A family is a team and home is that place we go where we are always welcome. And so it is with the church. One of God’s greatest gifts to St. Timothy’s has been instilling in us a welcoming spirit that makes all who cross our threshold feel at home.
- Crisis of Faith. Sometimes bad things happen and we are afraid and lose our way. God is always with us but we sometimes do not feel his warm embrace. The job of the church is to love us and help us especially in times of crisis and flock to us with support like families everywhere.
SUPPORTING OUR FAITH JOURNEY
When we answer the call and pursue our faith journey we need a support system to teach us, love us, and give us opportunities to practice our faith together with other believers. The job of the church is to create a place where we can witness our love of God and seek Christ together. What kind of place will St. Timothy’s be in 2020 is the question we are asking ourselves. My list includes:
- Welcoming Place Open to All (Feels like Home)
- Spiritual Place (Opens my eyes and my heart to inform my faith journey)
- Nurturing Place (Feels whole and purposeful)
- Growing Place (Feels like the place we learn to know Jesus)
- Healing Place (Feels safe and helps me open my heart to God’s grace to renew me)
- Accepting Place (Feels like a place we are loved and accepted for who we are).
DEFINING OUR LINK IN THE UNBROKEN CHAIN OF FAITH
If God is calling St. Timothy’s to add a new link in that unbroken chain of faith, what shall we do? By living into our faith and values we enable the members of the parish community to spread the Good News in ministry actions, in outreach, in work with kids, in pastoral care support for the sick, aged or those in need and in thousands of other ways. But these additions to that unbroken chain of faith are only possible when we live into our faith through the work of the church.
- Our corporate worship experience points true north and grounds us in faith.
- My Pledge is part of my faith journey toward the tithe and support for the work of the church
- I live into my baptismal vows through my faith journey, my priorities in life, and my actions
- Our ministry programs give voice to our faith priorities and opportunities for each of us to give.
- Outreach adds links to our unbroken chain of faith helping others less fortunate.
- Our leadership in the wider church proclaims our faith renewing our institutional communion.
The Vision 2020 process is designed to give voice to our collective faith journey and by imagining the future for our parish we can defining the actions, investments, policies and goals that add links to our unbroken chain of faith. By listening for the Holy Spirit in each of us and talking to each other about our shared values, views and vision for St. timothy’s over the next ten years we live into our faith and hopefully add a few more links to that unbroken chain.