Last spring, our church affirmed four priorities for mission and ministry to guide the shape of our work. These are:

Cultivating the well-being of children
Becoming a teaching and learning church
Mitigating poverty in our community
Growing in number and faithfulness

These words aren’t just carefully chosen to live on a page; rather, they are intended to inform the landscape of our mission in the community and the world. We all know that there are limits of our resources, resources of time, energy, people, money, focus. And as much as we might like to, we as a church can’t do everything! These priorities are intended to hone our energies, guide our work, prioritize how we use our resources for abundant kingdom impact in the community.

Last year, our Deacons focused their work around these four priorities, gathering in subgroups to begin dreaming together about how we might live within them, letting these priorities actually prioritize our ministry. As a congregation, we gathered in March to hear about the Deacons’ work, catching glimpses into their ideas and having meaningful conversation about what it sparks for us. Around tables, we were inspired by the Deacons’ creative work and then considered these questions: Apart from large-scale, formal programs, how might we become a church that encourages and empowers individuals to discern and follow God’s call to mission and ministry? Using these four initiatives as a broad framework to begin imagining, what are some of your innovative dreams and ideas? What are some steps we can take now to move towards creating a culture of innovation in our congregation?

We left with a call to pray through Lent and Easter about how we as individuals might dream about bringing our church’s commitments to life. I have found myself wondering too: what will I do to cultivate the well-being of children right here in Winston-Salem? How might I imagine mitigating poverty in the community? What will it ask of me to help shape a dynamic environment of teaching and learning? How might I continue telling the story of First on Fifth such that I myself grow in my faithfulness even as others join in? This intentional, personal exploration has made my imagination wander, my creativity unfold, my wonder about our church’s bright future expand with each idea that creeps in! I hope you have felt similar possibility as you’ve asked these questions of yourself!

With all of this as the backdrop to what comes next, we will gather as a congregation this Sunday, June 2, during the Bible study hour to celebrate the launch of these four priorities into the center of our ministry. It promises to be a most meaningful morning, and I hope you’ll make every effort to attend! Our Hospitality Ministry Team will provide coffee and goodies beginning at 9:00am, and we’ll begin the presentation at 9:15am.

On this Sunday when we turn from the resurrection spirit of Eastertide towards the rushing of the Spirit of Pentecost, when we look up to Jesus ascending and blessing us to be witnesses to all we have seen and heard, what better time to press our stake in the ground and declare how we will bear witness to the good news, right here at 5th and Spruce, in tangible, transformative ways!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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