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ENVISION 2021: A Different Look for Leadership
Last month, my focus was on worship and setting up a series of conversations we’ve now begun. (And they’re ongoing – you can still join in!) This month, let’s shift gears and think about congregational leadership. Like my Lincoln Logs from the last Newsette column, I’m wondering if we’re using our building blocks in a way that works best for us – First Christian in Bremerton in 2021 – or if we’re holding onto an old structure simplyBecause it’s the one we have. Like my childhood toys, the blessing of being Disciples of Christ is that we control worship life, our organizational structure, and how we minister. Basically, we have the option to break things down to their individual parts and put them back in order to help us do our best ministry for today.
Now, I know this will seem like a bit of a tease because I’m going to cut the conversation short on the details for now. Honestly, it’s a much bigger conversation than what I can fit into a column and it needs to be an actual conversation – not a one-way communique from pastor to congregant throwing out a bunch of new ideas. So, I want to begin by introducing one of them – reimagining lay leadership and bringing the voice of the whole church more fully into our worship life. This could involve a lot of things, but one of them is to create space to hear from each other – and not solely your pastor. I like the idea of reclaiming the practice of testimony or witness, and am grateful to Jason Chuma for sharing a written testimony of his own that both demonstrates my point while arguing for it at the same time! It’s time to think about re-birth for the church, and Jason offers some wonderful insights on our call to be renewed as a Pentecost people. So I’m going to sign off a little early and offer my space to Jason to help us explore a different look for leadership in the church.
Yours on our shared Pentecost journey, Clint
By Jason Chuma
I write this as a bit of a testament from a lifelong Disciple. First Christian Church of Bremerton is now the 5th Disciples of Christ church that I have attended regularly, and to be totally honest, I think our denomination isn’t all that great at talking about the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge all three parts of the Holy Trinity, but we tend to be very Jesus centric in our teachings and discussions. I didn’t realize this until I was dating Sallie. She was raised a Methodist, so at one point I asker her what the fire was behind the cross that you see in front of every Methodist church. She was a little surprised that I didn’t know it was the Holy Spirit that came to the Disciples at Pentecost in the 2nd chapter of Acts. This motivated me to dig a little deeper into my understanding of the Holy Spirit.
In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit came to Christ’s followers in the form of fire and filled them with the power to spread the gospel. As it says in verse 4, “4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” God wanted them to spread the gospel of Jesus, so he gave them the additional skills necessary and removed the barrier of foreign language from them. He gave them the power to preach the good news, that power came from the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit led them to many nations of the world to preach the gospel.
This power from the Holy Spirit was not limited to the select few apostles who received it on that day. The Holy Spirit is within all of us and can and should empower us. As Peter said in Acts 2:38-39, “repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.” We have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. It gives us the strength to do God’s work, and through us, the Holy Spirit is shown to others where God’s work is done with enthusiasm.
Many Disciples give a lot of attention to Christmas (where we received Christ), and to Easter (where we received Salvation), but not as much to Pentecost (where we received the Holy Spirit). Emmanuel means God WITH Us. Calvary means God FOR Us. But Pentecost means God IN Us. Many have been to Calvary for salvation and feel that their journey stops there. Calvary gives you pardon, but Pentecost gives you power; the power of the Holy Spirit to go forth and do as he has commanded. The Holy Spirit which resides in us gives us the power to have an alive and active faith.
Pentecost is the coming of the Spirit into your heart, and manifesting the power of God in your life. The Holy Spirit is our helper, our comforter, and our guide. Let it fill you and let it transform you as it transformed the apostles during Pentecost in Acts 2. The Spirit moves. Let it move in you. Amen.
Christian Church of Bremerton is a diverse group of people seeking to
respond to the vision of God's purpose revealed through Jesus the
We believe this vision calls us to be an intentional community, which engages persons in Christian practices. These practices include the Lord's Supper, joyful worship, Bible Study, prayer, service, and inclusive hospitality. We anticipate being open to all people, discerning how we can respond to needs within and beyond our congregation. As a community we will listen to and bear one another's burdens, and work on behalf of justice for all God's people.
To embrace and manifest Christ-like relationships in our community, we desire to communicate Jesus' death on the cross and bear witness to His resurrection as a sign of hope in this world. We seek to realize this hope by finding ways to overcome the forces that degrade, enslave and oppress God's creation.
In this vision we seek to know, to discern, and to act on the Holy Spirit's guidance to become an expression of God's new creation through our personal gifts and resources. In our actions we strive "to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with [our] God." (Micah 6:8c)