We had a wonderful weekend, November 7-9, as 20 lay persons from Arizona, Utah and California converged on Chino to share their lives and faith with us. It was fantastic to see the enthusiasm of our congregation emerge through the weekend. So many of you have commented to me of how much our “Kindling the Flame” weekend touched you!
But what’s next? After the potluck luncheon, 23 CUMC’ers stayed to share and contemplate that very question. Out of that meeting has come some very exciting ideas and plans for our church family! Jon Burk has compiled these ideas and the Church Council has met to discuss them and make some plans. The most prominent idea was to put our heart and soul into the Thanksgiving Day Dinner that was started last year by ChUMY (Chino United Methodist Youth!). So we are committed to work on making this year’s meal even more meaningful and helpful to our community. Last September, the Church Council decided not to have a CUMC Thanksgiving meal the Sunday before Thanksgiving in order that we can put all of our energy into the Thanksgiving Day event.
Beyond that one event, the most prominent idea to come out of the Lay Witness weekend was to form small groups in the congregation, and to enhance the small groups that already exist so that more CUMC members and friends can experience, in an on-going way, the blessing of small groups. So prominent was this idea, in fact, that the Church Council has encouraged me to get started on this right away! Small groups, like those we experienced on the “Kindling the Flame” weekend are a fabulous way to help each other to grow in our Christian discipleship, both in terms of our devotional life and our missional outreach. Growing our church for the future involves both drawing new members and families to our church, but also for us to continue to grow in our Christian discipleship. People are attracted to churches which are extraordinarily committed to living out the faith they proclaim!
So the first step is to recruit and train small group leaders and homes in which to hold small group meetings. I would like to call these groups “Home Groups.” They will be offering different activities and structures to fit the different needs of different people. Depending on how many we can recruit and train, I can envision groups including such activities as: Bible study, prayer, spiritual accountability, mission outreach, book study, and/or a combination of more than one. The only limit is our imagination! I will also be reaching out to the leadership of our existing small groups (committees, choir, and other groups) to offer ideas to help make them even more meaningful. But if you feel a call to hosting a Home Group in your home, please contact me. And if you feel a call to being trained to be a leader of a Home Group (could be the host, but doesn’t have to be), contact me. We are hoping to get these groups off the ground before the end of the year!
With the re-entry into the sanctuary coming up on December 14th and so many other things happening around the church, it is an exciting time to be here! I hope you join me in looking expectantly to God for what He wants to accomplish in us and through us!