Someone asked me this week if I could explain the context to the ‘Call to Prayer’ for our community during Lent. Let me do so briefly in this ‘Update’.
In 2016, our Leadership Council took eight months to prayerfully discern a ‘Renewed Vision’ for our community—‘renewed’ in the sense that while the original vision remained true, our present circumstances cried out for clarification. Here is that vision:
“We believe that we are called to
Let me clarify some aspects of the vision:
First, by ‘intentionally’, we mean ”to prayerfully discern, and begin to cooperate with, the directing of the Spirit.’ We have no desire to ‘think’ our way into strategy; we desire to ‘pray’ our way into it. Thus, the major impetus for the ‘Call to Prayer’.
Second, we intend to grow both in ‘depth’ (that is, maturity) and in ‘breadth’ (in numbers). The focal point of ‘Discipleship’ will continue to dominate our strategies.
Third, in terms of the ‘Norfolk-centricity’ of the ‘Mother-to- be’, a few things need to be mentioned:
First, ‘Regional’ churches do not plant churches; ‘Local’ churches do! We have been blessed by growth from all over the Southside of Hampton Roads; and we pray that it will continue. However, for the vision of church-planting to become a reality, while we need to double our attendance from Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and Virginia Beach, we need to triple it in Norfolk! Thus, one aspect of ‘Norfolk-centric’;
Furthermore, when we think about the development of ‘local mission’, it makes sense to center that ‘mission’ around the center of our life; that is, the place where we worship. Yet another aspect of ‘Norfolk-centric’.
If the task of 2016 was to ‘Craft the Vision’; then the task for 2017 is to ‘Cast the Vision’—that is, to SPEAK it, to EMBRACE it, to LIVE INTO it, and to ALIGN our common life with it.
That is what our ‘Call to Prayer’ is all about this Lent.
As the Leadership of the Church continues to ‘speak’ the vision, will you commit to pray about and within the vision? Will you allow the Spirit to affirm it within you, and enable you to embrace it? Will you ask the Spirit to direct you in ‘living into’ the vision?
The Council has crafted a number of ways for you to do so this Lent: the Bookmark and Prayer Insert suggesting specific ways to pray during the weeks of Lent; the Saturday Evening Prayer Service (5:00 – 6:00 pm); specific ways in which our home groups can encourage prayer and discernment. Our hope is to craft times in Eastertide to gather together to begin to hear what God has been saying during our Lenten prayers. I, for one, look eagerly forward to those gatherings.
Looking forward to worshiping with you on Sunday.
Continue to live into God’s Holy Lent.