On Saturday, March 8, 2014, six ladies from Zion attended Called Together in Mission: Everyday Evangelists, a one day conference in Cedar Rapids hosted by our Southeastern Iowa Synod. Here are some of the things that we learned:
Keynote: Peggy Hahn, lay leader of LEAD: Living Every Day as Disciples. Peggy spoke of congregations that fit into four categories: New, Growing, Stalled, and Out of Breath. The goal is for each congregation to find ways to move into the growing category. Some examples include finding a rhythm, deepening our view of God, and listening to the neighborhood.
Websites Open Doors: Our website tells a story about who we are as a people of God. I am inspired to update our website - or better yet - start from scratch.
Bringing Social Change: Quad Cities Interfaith is a local organization that prepares congregations to go out into their communities and talk one-to-one about the needs found there.
ELCA Malaria Campaign: Especially in Africa, malaria and hunger/poverty are in a vicious cycle. The ELCA is helping the Lutheran synods in Africa to provide education (for women in particular), prevention (nets and removing standing water), and diagnosis and treatment (open/traveling clinics with diagnosis kits and the malaria pill).
Keynote Speaker, Peggy Hahn, spoke about being passionate, developing leaders with a deep and bold faith in Jesus Christ. “Mind over matter, Matters” Think about what you are doing! Are you out of breath with your faith? Pray and catch your breath. Think about what you are doing. Change from being out of breath and be POSITIVE AND HAVE PURPOSE. Take one step at a time. Let’s Grow Leaders. What do we need to do? Make a plan as we put Jesus Christ first in our lives. Share our stories of faith through Jesus Christ.
Worship, Evangelism, and Conversation: It was a real privilege to sit and chat with Bishop Michael Burk. Worship at its best is the good news of Jesus Christ. Jesus is there with us. Jesus in us is “Evangelism.” When we take communion, Jesus is with us and change will take place in us.
Unbinding the Gospel: Pr. Gloria Dovre spoke on “Unbinding the Gospel” from Martha Reece’s best seller. It translates Evangelism as a community of faith, that is hopeful, powerful, prayerful and joy filled when it comes to sharing our faith.
Telling the Good News Through Numbers: When we describe our budget using words and not just numbers, then we can get people excited to fulfill our mission.
Evangelism through Actions: I left feeling energized and empowered to put a dynamic program together, through the Evangelism Committee, for our church membership, the community, and the world by first understanding the needs of each.
Evangelism through Words: This session helped us to discover our fears in sharing our story in out faith journey and taking steps to overcome that fear so that we might bring others to know God and his plan for them.
Going Outside the Box: Cowboy Worship: This was an enlightening session by a retired pastor who received a call from God to start a “cowboy church” in his community and how he grew that congregation from six worshipers the first week to between 200 and 400 worshipers each week today, along with a totally volunteer pot luck prior to the service held on Thursday evenings.
Feeding the Hungry as a Faith Practice (3 sessions): This work of Faith is shaped by Christ’s call to “give hope to the world”. It is rooted in God’s abundance, in love for our neighbors, and hope in God’s promised future. By Grace, God gives us freedom and motivates us to aid the brokenness of the world.
46 million people are food insecure. This means they do not have enough resources to have adequate and nutritious food for a month. 842 million face chronic hunger – 1 in 8 people.
Simply stated, we in the pew can: Learn, Pray, Lead, Advocate, and Support.
Simulation activity: $45 a month for man, wife, and children ages 3 and 5 months needing about 6000 calories per day. They did not qualify for food stamps. Some things learned from this activity: SNSP forms (food stamps) are quite complicated; calories were obtained from non-nutritious foods and do not have long term benefit; very little variety; many families do not have food security even in this country.
Sharing Faith Through Art: Creating and sharing art as as church, no matter the medium, can express our faith with our heart, mind and body.
Reaching Our Youth: When working with our youth, we can be: Relevant, Authentic, Organized, and Viral. Faith is Caught, Not Taught.
Sharing God in the Garden: We can create a community garden: “Growing Friends First, Vegetables Second.” We can donate the food to the food bank, people in need, and use in recipes at the church. We can get the community involved, which will help to bring people into the church and feed people. We can do this!
I enjoyed these workshops and I wish to thank the church for making this possible.
HM: Phrases to Ponder
Keynote: Everyday Evangelists - deepen your faith, share your story. Get your rhythm - walk, breathe, get in God’s stream. Engage the heart, words will follow.
The Power of Listening: Listening campaigns, “Listen Strong.” The Holy Spirit’s power is activated when listening is unleashed. God enters when you reach for the other.
The Disciple Frame: Liminal space is between what we have been and what we need to be. Free to be blessings to the world.
Sharing Faith Through Art: Get energized in a spiritual prayer practice.
Here are some potential ministries that we are excited about:
Intergenerational creative/artistic events
Adult forum using Following the Way - finding your spiritual type
Planned prayer pilgrimage around our sacred neighborhood
A listening campaign to hear the needs of our church and our community
Renewing our website
If you would like to hear more about any of these workshops and new ministry ideas, please do not hesitate to talk to any of us!