May 25, 2014

Pastoral Letter

At the center of our mission is the challenge to make “disciples”, who are those who seek to follow Jesus’ way. If we are to foster the growth of disciples, then it may be helpful to know what one looks like. For example, if we are a baseball-producing factory, we need to have a pretty clear idea of what a baseball is and what goes into making one. One task our community of faith has is to identify the marks of a disciple.

Your Vision Team, in pursuing its role of scouting the pathway ahead and building our strategic plan for the future, has been reading, listening and reflecting. The team:

  • Listened to members of the church family, assessed how we were living our Core Values and fulfilling our mission of sharing the Good News, worshipping joyfully, growing in Christ, and manifesting the love of God,
  • Read “Deepening Your Effectiveness” to ground our understanding of the disciples journey,
  • Spent time in retreat to reflect on how we can best resource the Los Altos UMC family in responding to God’s call.
  • We even came up with a first run at naming what a disciple looks like:

                  A vital disciple is: rooted in the "Word," nurtured by relationships,
                  grounded in the spirit and uses their gifts in loving thy neighbor.

But defining discipleship isn’t the goal, it simply helps us to become clearer about how we invite, nurture, equip, and send disciples. We have found the book “Deepening Your Effectiveness” to be a helpful tool in understanding the stages of discipleship journey. This isn’t a “new direction,” it is an effort to focus our energies on the mission we have already claimed. It is not just one committee’s task, but involves all of us.

Nurturing disciples will employ all of our dedication and will draw on each of our gifts. On this journey, we will discover more about our own practices as disciples and how we encourage one another. In order to stretch our understanding and practice, we invite you to:

  • Read the book “Deepening Your Effectiveness”, by Glover and Levy.
  • Attend the initial workshop on July 20.
  • Prayer for our church family to be the fertile soil from which our vital disciples will grow.

May the Spirit of Christ accompany and feed us as we embark on this adventure together.

Pastor Mark