I often find myself smiling as I experience the Holy Spirit bringing people and ideas together. As one of the co-pastors of Scarborough Congregation, I’ve been trying to help give some focus or direction to our membership. To that end, I’ve spent a great deal of this church school year talking about how we can grow in comfort with the ministry of invitation. Invitation is often overlooked, but I have come to appreciate of late, just how vitally important it is, along with two other concepts.
About once every month or so, I participate in a meeting of all the pastors of the GTA. And I’ve noticed that the pastor of GTA West keeps talking about communities. Church communities. Building sacred communities.
I’ve also noticed that one of the co-pastors of Barrie keeps talking about relationships. The importance of, and basic need to form real, meaningful relationships with people.
Now, as I heard both of them talk about these things, which occurred on different occasions, and not at the same time, I heard them, as is so often the case, in isolation.
However, one day, I was thinking about the thing I’ve been talking about in Scarborough: the ministry and blessing of invitation. And then the Holy Spirit brought it all together. I suddenly recalled what my fellow pastors had mentioned, often just in passing, so many times at our meetings. And I realized that the three things that we have each been talking about separately form a three fold model. They go together.
Invitation will of course result in relationships being formed. Relationships, as they develop and multiply, will ensure that community building takes place. And as the community grows, the more potential there will be to have things to invite people to.
Which means of course, that there will be opportunities for new relationships to be formed; new connections between people being forged, in common desire to understand God; which then results in the community growing even larger (or new communities forming), as we grow in our shared desire to be united together on our spiritual journeys. Which means more opportunities for invitation… which means….which means… which means.
It is my belief that if we keep this three fold model in mind, and give it some focus in our congregations, we can truly become dynamic in what we offer our members, friends, seekers, and visitors. This I hope will also enable our congregations to be more sustainable.
Feb. 27th, 2013