On Saturday, May 20 persons from three congregations met in Chillicothe to take part in a training as part of Hope Partnership's New Beginnings. Taking part were members of First Christian Church - Cameron, First Christian Church - Centralia, and First Christian Church - Chillicothe. First Christian Church in Republic are also participating in New Beginnings.
New Beginnings works with congregations to help them discern where God may be leading them into the future. It is not a set program, but a process whereby the congregants enter into conversation with one another and with God. It is a time of trusting one's faith. There are four major parts to New Beginnings, 1) Assessing, 2) Training (the focus of this gathering), 3) Discerning through house meetings, and 4) Deciding the way forward.
Gilberto Callazo, President of Hope Partnership, led the training of those who will return to their churches and facilitate house meetings for discernment. President Callazo shared with the gathered that it is time to shift our thinking about long held assumptions. Congregations need to shift from making members to creating discipleship, from being about faith to transformation through faith, and from maintenance to preparing missionaries. He noted churches must know "why" they are doing what they are doing. Churches that are thriving (not necessarily in growing numbers) are relevant to their community, and have a passion for active mission with it, because of their identity with the mission of Jesus Christ.
Story and photos courtesy of Regional Minister
Team member Rev. Dr. Larry Colvin.