Below is summary of a webinar presented by The Church Network discussing the Project Thrive 7 Thriving Traits found in a congregational study conducted by Belmont in 2019. The webinar is part of a series that focuses on how congregations practice the thriving traits.
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Thriving Trait 7: Missional Fervor
Defined by Project Thrive: born out of a meaningful engagement with the community.
Dr. Matt Cook opens by describing missional fervor as “an energy in dynamism that comes from knowing your identity as a missional people.”
Matt welcomes two pastors – Theresa Cho and Lina Thompson – who exemplify missional fervor in their communities by listening to and learning the needs of their people.
Theresa Cho, an Asian-American and pastor of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in the San Francisco area, tells her church’s story in creating a missional fervor. In carrying out St. John’s original vision for the church to connect with the local Asian American community, the church hired Theresa. The church now runs a food pantry, converts old church property into affordable housing, and transforms the church community into a people for help.
Fervor comes from proximity to the need; Theresa suggests churches to:
– Create a short distance between “them” and “us”
– And, come together with people in celebration and woe.
Lina Thompson is the pastor of Lake Burien Presbytrian church in the Seattle area. Through her efforts, her church is much more diverse and committed to justice. She takes her church on pilgrimages to the deep south to learn about race and justice, which ignites a new passion for justice in her church members.
Linda shares 6 ideas that helps her church actively learn more about racial justice:
- Seek diversity and justice
- Look at all the systems for transformation
- Ignite passion from the pulpit
- Don’t be afraid to use words like “white privilege” or “racism”
- The gospel is centered around God’s heart for the poor and broken
- Commit to a more comprehensive form of the Christian practice of helping the poor without obscuring the power of the gospel
Think about a ministry program in your church and how it relates to the community around you. How can your congregation eliminate the distance between “them” and “us” in your ministry?
If your church is committed to diversity and justice, in what ways is the congregation actively learning about racial justice?
Watch the full Missional Fervor webinar here.