Bishop Robert Schnase, leader of the Missouri Conference of the UMC, will lead a workshop at Trinity UMC in Huntsville on January 12. Based on his book Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, the workshop will teach practices that shape and sustain vibrant, growing, and fruitful congregations.
Many United Methodists in North Alabama have have studied this book and heard sermon series based on its five principles:
"In a time when Christianity in America is struggling, Bishop Schnase offers sound guidance for disciples to grow the church in ways that embrace tradition while thinking outside of the box," said Dr. Rick Owen, senior pastor at Trinity UMC. "We are thrilled he’s working with our conference churches at this workshop – all church members, pastors and staff are invited to this transformational event."
From Chapter 1 - The Practice of Radical Hospitality: "Edwards Deming, the genius of organizational systems, observed that 'a system produces what it is designed to produce.' In this intentionally redundant statement, he reminds us that a system is aligned to get the results it is getting, and it will not get any other kind of results unless something changes."
From Chapter 2 - The Practice of Passionate Worship: People are searching for worship that is authentic, alive, creative, and comprehensible, where they experience the life-changing presence of God in the presence of others.
From Chapter 3 - The Practice of Intentional Faith Development: If congregations keep the end in mind (offering quality learning in community), their leaders may have to break out of usual patterns and expectations of place, frequency, and curriculum to reach people.
From Chapter 4 - The Practice of Risk-Taking Mission and Service: "Scripture inextricably links love of God to love of neighbor and calls people to charity, justice and mercy."
From Chapter Five - The Practice of Extravagant Generosity: "In the early church, the followers of Jesus 'Would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all as any had need' (Acts 2:45). Generosity was a mark of the Spirit’s power to change lives and practices."
"God wants us to grow Christ-ward," according to Bishop Schnase, "and our desire is to become closer to Christ, closer than we are today."