Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
How many of you have made New Year’s Resolutions? I wonder how many of you are sticking with those resolutions and how many have already given them up. It can be very difficult to follow through with those resolutions, especially if you haven’t thought it all the way through, or if you didn’t have a solid action plan. This year, the leadership of PPC has an action plan that we are very excited about. We are committed to being more intentional about making and growing disciples. This is, of course, based on Jesus’ great commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
To help make this happen, this year we have established a Discipleship Team. This team will be participating in extensive training on what it means to be and to make faithful disciples. As I’m sure you already know, discipleship is a life-long process; it’s not something that happens as soon as you commit your life to Christ or when you join the church. Those are basically starting points. Our goal is to meet people where they are in their faith and help them to move forward to a deeper level in their spiritual journey. We already have a few of those “growth opportunities” available: Sunday School, Small Group Ministry, and Accountability Groups.
As we begin Lent on February 14th there will be a Wednesday morning Bible Study entitled Parables and Passion: Jesus’ Stories for the Days of Lent. You can call the church office to sign up for that. Starting that same evening, there will be worship at 7 p.m. in the Gathering Place where we will learn to worship using scripture and art.
One of the things that attracted us to ECO was their requirement for accountability at all levels. This means that we should all be accountable to others for our spiritual growth. The session is in an accountability group, known as a MAG (Mission Affinity Group), with the 5 other ECO churches in our area. They meet the first Saturday in November each year. Every Elder and Deacon is required to be in a monthly accountability group with 4 or 5 other people. This is a very structured time for each person to share how God is working in their lives.
To help facilitate spiritual growth, I will be offering a one-day retreat on Saturday, March 3rd from 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall (lunch will be provided). Participation in this retreat will be required for those who wish to join the church; it will double as a New Member Class. I encourage all officers (Elders and Deacons) to attend, as well as those who might be discerning a call to be an Elder or Deacon in the future. One of the requirements for being in an ordained position is to be involved in a Sunday School Class, Small Group or Bible Study. If you are considering future leadership, this would be a great place to start. After completing this training, you will be asked to make a pledge in 6 different areas. You will pledge to:
1. Be a Functioning Church Member based on 1 Corinthians 12.
2. Be a Unifying Church Member based on Ephesians 4:1-3.
3. Not Let Church be about Your Preferences and Desires based on Philippians 2.
4. Pray for Your Church Leaders based on 1 Timothy.
5. Lead Your Family to be Healthy Church Members based on Matthew 28.
6. Treasure Church Membership as a Gift based on Acts 2:42-47.
The learning part of the retreat will end at 4 p.m., at which time those who are interested in joining the church (becoming covenant partners) will meet with the session. Others are free to leave at 4:00. Please see me if you have any questions. Also, please call the church office to register, and let Kelsey know if you are attending as a member, officer, or new member candidate. I hope you will all consider joining me for this discipleship adventure!