"If I'm a slave to the Creator then nothing in the creation can enslave me!" Pastor Dennis 8/21/16

From Pastor Dennis in the May, June, July  Newsletter 2017

     1 Corinthians 12:27 reads: “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” Here, as in several other places in the New Testament, the Church is described as a body. Simpson Church has been looking at itself through the eyes of a process known as Natural Church Development. NCD as it is called as done research all over the world to discover what makes a local church healthy in any culture. NCD is convinced that churches should focus on becoming healthy. A healthy baby will grow naturally. The focus is on promoting health, knowing that growth will follow.

     What can we learn from the functioning of a healthy body? In the last few decades, we have made tremendous progress in understanding genetics and DNA. What is the church’s DNA? Robert Norton and Richard Southern in their book, Cracking Your Congregation’s Code, propose that a church’s vision and mission statements are the DNA of the church. Our NCD team has prepared a revised Mission statement, and has begun the discussion of a vision statement. This will help every committee, board and ministry team in the church to live out their function in the body.

Some of you are aware that of the eight characteristics of a healthy church (empowering leadership, gift-oriented ministry, passionate spirituality, functional structures, inspiring worship service, holistic small groups, need-oriented evangelism, and loving relationships) our lowest area is functional structures. Norton and Southern believe that the church as a body has a set of systems. Our physical bodies have a number of systems, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, skeletal, nervous, and endocrine to name some of them. So the church has systems that enable it to function. They made up the word “WelNES” to help us remember them.

“Wel” refers to our “welcoming system.”

Welcoming is an ongoing attitude. New visitors need to find welcome with us, but so do people who’ve been here for decades. Some of the ministry teams and committees that are part of this system are Congregational Care and Prayer Ministries, Hospitality Team, Fellowship Ministries, and Church life.

“N” is “nurture.” This includes worship and education (Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Adult study groups).

“E” speaks of the “equipping system.” This is how we resource ministry. Human resources include paid staff (The Staff-Parish Relations Committee) and volunteers (Lay Leadership, formerly Nominations and Personnel). Our NCD team believes that a greater emphasis on spiritual gifts will empower and equip our people for ministry. Resourcing ministry includes our physical plant as well. Our trustees oversee care of our buildings and property. The Parsonage Committee provides additional attention to the pastor’s home. As much as we dislike talking about money, financial resources are also needed in the life of the church. This is where the Finance Committee is part of this “equipping system.”

“S” is the “serving system.” The House of the Carpenter II and the Feeding Body and Soul

Community Kitchen are serving ministries. Opening our facilities to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, other substance abuse support, and scouting fall into this category. United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men are also serving ministries. Christmas with Santa is another service to our community.

Are there always clear lines between these systems? Could some of these ministries be placed as part of another system? The answer the first question is “no”, and the answer to the second is “yes.” This is true of our physical bodies as well. In the lungs an exchange is made between the respiratory and the circulatory systems. Oxygen from the air is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood stream. In the colon, nutrients pass from the digestive system to the blood stream. The circulatory system carries oxygen and nutrients to all the body systems and carries away waste and carbon dioxide.

As the Apostle Paul wrote “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” When the body is healthy “we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love (Ephesians 4:15-16).” This is the “natural” church development that God seeks for us. Pray that we will allow Him to make us healthy indeed. Share whatever insights, dreams, and ideas that God may give you with the church leadership and the NCD team. God will use each and every one of us in the Body of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-26).

 

 

"The Christian life is not trying to follow the teachings and example of a dead martyr, but an encounter and a walk with a living Savior!"

          Pastor D. Mehaffie