Pentecost 7

“[Jesus] called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits” (Mark 2:7).

Who are we? Why are we here? These two questions are vital questions for congregations to ask themselves over and over again. Congregations that regularly ask themselves these questions remain grounded in the gospel, focused in Christ’s mission, and moving forward in a healthy way. Congregations that fail to ask themselves these questions often get distracted, lose their focus, and find themselves stuck.

Thankfully, here at St. John’s, we ask ourselves these two questions all the time! Several years ago, our congregation answered these questions by adopting a new vision statement. This statement answers these two questions in a powerful way.

St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church is called to grow in meaningful relationships with Christ, with each other, and with the community, as we are gath- ered for worship, equipped for discipleship, and sent to care.

At the heart of our congregation’s vision is relationship! By definition, the Triune God is the God of relationship—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Triune God cannot exist apart from the relationships shared between these three persons. This divine relationship is not a closed relationship, but rather an open relationship—open to us, open to others, open to the entire world. The Triune God who is relationship exists for the very purpose of being in relationship with us! Pretty awesome!

As people called into relationship with the God who is relationship, we are also called into relationship with one another and with the world around us. Unless we are growing in our relationship with one another and with the world around us, we cannot be growing in our relationship with Christ.

This fall, we are introducing a new ministry here at St. John’s called CONNECT. Created by Pastor Pam, Pastor Adam, and myself, in coordination with our Small Group Leadership Team, CONNECT is designed to engage as many disciples in our congregation as possible in growing in relationship with Christ, with one another, and with our community. CONNECT is a direct result of our vision statement and grows out of those two most important questions, Who are we? Why are we here?

As you learn more about CONNECT over the coming weeks and months, I ask that you pray for an open heart—open to the new thing that God is doing in this place. What is CONNECT? Simply put, it’s relationship. Stay tuned for more information coming soon!

Connected in Christ +

Pastor Greg