How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger announcing peace, good news, salvation. (Is 52:7)
Genesis revolves around Jesus Christ, continually reminded of the high adventure Christ promises all who journey with Him. We encourage growth and service in one another, circling again and again around the One who brought us this far along our respective paths, and yet has further for us to go. We outfit disciples with an authentic sense of Christ’s challenges, as well as the amazing grace accompanying us along the Way.
Ministry is way too important to leave to the paid staff !
So we are Actively Taking Part, Moving Beyond Self-Interest, and Serving Others.
Lay leadership is about moving from being passive consumers of a product to taking our discipleship seriously. It is too easy to remain content sitting on the sidelines and critiquing casually. Too often members get disappointed in the local brand and rather than help shape the product move on down the street for greener grass.
Genesis knows pastors “come and go” and that it is up to the members to create and support programs and ministry. When we speak about Outfitting Authentic Disciples we are thinking of folks who take ownership of their faith journey.
We expect a great deal from our pastor, including pastoral shepherding, prophetic preaching and constant invitation and encouragement in growing our own participation. We need more communication and comfort with conflict. We are trying to increase the spiritual and emotional investment of our worshipers as we grow in maturity. This is a hard shift. It is even hard to talk about! This major aspect of our redevelopment has cost us some members. And it has also already brought some new ones in.
Our Ego always pursues what is best for SELF. We know that following Jesus as Lord requires de-throning the SELF from determining all our preferences .
Our Ego is always asking “is this, for me, the right (usually meaning “comfortable”) congregation/pastor/decision/tradition/building…?” Willingness to be led by Christ means we step beyond what we are comfortable with.
This isn’t always easy. Okay, it is seldom easy. But we do think it’s more fun. During our New Beginnings process we came to realize a shift was going to have to take place if we were to re-claim a vibrant future for our community. We learned that sometimes churches produce Consumers of spiritual products rather than Disciples. So we are working on ministry with each other and owning our parts in leadership and decision making. We think it is a better way to do church.
WHAT YOU MIGHT NOTICE IN OUR ACTIVIST CHURCH: In worship our lay leader does the announcements, leads the call to worship and unison prayer, reads the first scripture lesson, and even takes on the prayers of the people (the heart of our worship) often. We enjoy our music at Genesis and have numerous opportunities in song and sung responses to participate. During Pastor Don’s sermon there are often opportunities to share reflections or answer a question, reference an additional scripture passage or respond to a point.
We have learned to take part in preaching as a dialogue. Yes, Pastor Don has been through a lot of schooling. But there is A LOT of wisdom sitting in the chairs on any given Sunday too. During the prayers of the people we share joys and concerns with one another because we know that is how community is strengthened. It is risky sometimes. And sometimes you can really feel the spirit move at Genesis because lives are coming into authentic contact with one another in ways they don’t any place else.
In addition we have a time called “Offerings.” After the plates are passed we take part in a conversation across the aisle about what the sermon has covered, where we are as families and employees and disciples and students and divorcees and those who occupy every strata of life. To hear from one another changes our congregation. It takes some willingness on worshiper’s part! Worship at Genesis is never boring. Really. In large part because we are constantly a part of it.
At every level of decision making, in all sorts of mission work and service, and throughout our worship experience we are reminded that our own participation is key to joyous life in Christ.
Click HERE for details of our Core Values!
It is odd that we would even need to mention this in the 21st century. But a significant majority of Christendom doesn’t recognize the legitimacy of Women as equal partners in Leadership and Ministry.* We think this is truly a shame.
First, we wonder: how on earth do they get anything done?!
In Christ “there is neither male nor female…” Paul writes in Galatians. We take that to mean at least that in Christ there is both male and female and we should be celebrating the distinctive gifts that women have always provided the church with.
Our pulpit is regularly filled by women, our liturgists are often women, so we are accustomed to being led in preaching, teaching, scripture reading, and prayer by the same women who help us discern the spirit at every level of our governance and life together.
It is not enough to suggest women can help with fundraising bake sales and training up our kids. We hope for continued growth in our society’s treatment and respect of women, and are making sure at Genesis the New Kingdom is in full view.
* Half of Christendom is Catholic. They bring a great deal of richness and diversity theologically, culturally, and in our country especially ethnically to the kingdom. For this we are grateful indeed! Another significant group of Conservative and Evangelical Christians similarly have much to bring to the table of religion. And they similarly prohibit women from sharing fully in the Body of Christ.