Making Disciples Through Spiritual Formation & Maturity

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Spiritual formation is the key to making disciples in the way of Jesus Christ. I cannot stress strongly enough how vitally important it is on all levels of church life – from preschool through high school and all through adult life. Spiritual formation, aka Christian Education, needs to be a multi-dimensional approach that focuses on commitment to Christ, small-group ministries, outreach and mission. And, spiritual formation needs a solid grounding in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament.

To form and mature a person’s spirit is not easy. Too often, we teach our children almost by accident – we repeat the same patterns of instruction established by past generations. For parents and teachers committed to the spiritual formation process, itself a faith practice, we have to teach the heart as well as the mind. The faith nurtured through spiritual formation is a faith of generational intentionality. “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God; the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul.”

Although faith is a gift from God, it is learned and practiced and passed on through the community of faith. My mother and father assumed, I think, that I would always have faith. They raised me in Hinton Avenue Methodist Church [United was added in 1968]. It never occurred to them that by the 21st century Christian faith could no longer be assumed. The world changed! And now, faith needs to be taught with joy, intentionally pursued, and given to the next generation. People are not Christians so much as disciples of Jesus Christ and his way of living in relation to the others and the world.

Trinity expects the best from its leaders. Our spiritual formation is overseen and nurtured by Keith, Eileen, Melissa, Jerry, Catherine, our lay leader Peggy Fox, all the wonderful teachers at Trinity, and me. We are committed to making spiritual formation intentional, sound in biblical teaching, relevant to life and challenging. The spiritual formation team at Trinity is committed to deepening our awareness of God, and equipping our children, youth and adults with a strong foundation of the stories of the Bible. Our ministry teams and education teams have everything prepared for the fall season. Join us on for our Sunday School Kick Off, church-wide picnic and Backpack Blessing on Sunday September 9, and the beginning of a wonderful year of learning about God through the love of Jesus Christ.


Is Church Relevant to You?

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

Nearly every church across the country is seeking ways to attract new members, bring in younger people and encourage folks to attend more frequently. Why is this a common topic of discussions, seminars and web lectures for church folks across the country? It’s because many people find church to be less relevant to them than previous generations. Those are the words that surveys find people use; church is “not relevant” to a big part of the population.

This is a big red flag for those of us (all of us) who are working to “make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” as stated in our United Methodist mission. The Book of Discipline goes on to say, “Local churches and extension ministries of the Church provide the most significant arenas through which disciple-making occurs.” It’s much harder to make disciples of brothers and sister who find the church irrelevant in their lives.

We are discovering that making disciples may be more possible through the extension ministries than within the confines of our church building. This is where Next Level Innovation (NLI) will come into play. The Community Connection Team is looking at ways we can reach out to the community. What will this look like? Maybe Trinity will hold “church” in coffee shops, people’s homes or parks. It doesn’t mean the end of worship in our Sanctuary or Chapel, it could mean the addition of worship outside our walls.

What do you want church to look like at Trinity? We would love to hear from you. If you would like to offer ideas for our Community Connection Team, just let Jim, Keith or me know. You are an important part of our future and the way we will continue to make disciples in the years ahead.


Confirmation 3.0

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

It has been an honor to be part of three confirmation classes so far at Trinity. I enjoyed getting to know all confirmands through the years. I look forward to the next one, which starts in September. I’m calling it “Confirmation 3.0” because I have made two significant changes in the past and plan to make others for the upcoming one.

The reason for the changes? One, confirmation classes are important to the life of the church and, more specifically, to the youth. Both the church and participants invest much time and energy into this process. Moreover, I enjoy the class through teaching basics of faith, interacting with confirmands, and getting to know their parents. Therefore, I would like to present the best possible content, format and experience. Two, after every confirmation class (even though I felt like I gave it my best), there are areas that I want to improve or feel something was missing. Therefore, there will be noticeable adjustments made for 2019.

What are the changes? First, I want to use a curriculum. When I led Confirmation 2016, I inherited a curriculum which I found not satisfactory. For 2017, I made my own curriculum and made more tweaks on it for 2018. They were good but in the end, the confirmands did not have a book that summarized all the knowledge and experiences to aid their recollection. Therefore, we will use a confirmation curriculum Confirm published by Cokesbury.

Second, we will incorporate confirmation class more into the youth group. For Confirmation 2019, it will meet twice a month at 9:30 a.m. and once at 11:30 a.m. Previously, confirmation and youth group were two separate groups and did not have opportunities to interact. Last year, during the middle of the year, changes were made so that it met during youth group once a month. For this year, this interaction will be built into the schedule from the start because one of the goals is to incorporate confirmands into youth group for continued participation afterwards.

The third change will be to involve more peer helpers and mentors in confirmation. Parents have been phenomenal in terms of their cooperation and volunteering. They provided most of the support for confirmation through being available for mentoring and ministry assistance. Their involvement is critical and vital and therefore, an additional support by youth volunteers will strengthen and deepen the process.

For the upcoming Confirmation 2019, a parents’ preparation session will be on Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. in the Chapel. The first class will begin on Sept. 9 at 11:30 a.m. during youth group. Look for more information in the bulletin and E-News. Looking forward to an awesome Confirmation 2019!


August 2018 at Trinity

Aug. 13, 27 Crafts for a Cause

7—8:30 a.m.

Learn about new and on-going projects:
Aug. 4 Piano recital: Claire Dantz, 6 p.m. Accomplished musician entering the New England Music Conservatory. Recital will include works by Debussy, Liszt, Beethoven, Chopin
Aug. 5 NLI Vision Team Meeting  
Aug. 6-10 Vacation Bible School: Rolling River Rampage

Visit to volunteer

Aug. 12 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making
Aug. 18 Christ House  
Aug. 25 Open Mic & Movie Night

5—8 p.m.

Social event for children
Sept. 3 Office Closed


Book Chat, Chancel Choir, Trinity Ringers, Trinity Trebles
resume meetings and rehearsals. For more, please contact:

Book Chat: Kathy Maher,

Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers: Jerry Rich,

Trinity Trebles: Catherine Wethington,

Ten Reasons to Join a Trinity Choir

  1. You’ll serve God through musical prayer and help others praise God through hymns
  2. You’ll stimulate your intellect by engaging both sides of the brain
  3. You’ll have a creative and enjoyable way to express emotions through music
  4. You’ll belong, feel wanted and be a part of something positive
  5. You’ll gain self-confidence through teamwork
  6. You’ll improve your music skills while enjoying both traditional and contemporary styles
  7. You’ll create an extended family and find new friends (42 million Americans are in choirs)
  8. You’ll be in good company: actors (Anne Hathaway, Brad Pitt), singers (Beyoncé, Kristin Chenoweth), athletes (Troy Aikman, Andy Pettitte) and presidents (George HW Bush, Barack Obama) all participated in choirs
  9. You’ll have the congregation looking up to you—literally
  10. You’ll be invited to our choir parties!

Rehearsals begin after Labor Day. For more, please contact:

Chancel Choir and Trinity Ringers: Jerry Rich

Trinity Trebles & Youth Choir: Catherine Wethington


Crafts for a Cause Adds New Projects

Crafts for a Cause has given birth to several new projects recently in an effort to provide comfort items to patients of all ages. For the NICU ward at Fair Oaks Hospital, we are making soft flannel isolette beds with bolsters for the babies’ tiny feet. And for the NICU ward at Georgetown Hospital, some crafters are crocheting small octopus toys that soothe the infants.

These projects are in addition to the neck pillows, lap blankets, surgery dolls, chemo caps and knitted and crocheted baby caps we deliver to Fair Oaks Hospital several times a month. Across the world in Uganda, we send handmade dresses to needy girls. And our handmade fleece throws are donated to the Carpenter’s Shelter and to The Linus Project that provides comfort blankets to children and teenagers.

You can be a part of this by joining one of our work sessions on alternating Monday nights from 7 to 8:30 in Room 124. Upcoming sessions: July 30, Aug. 13 and Aug. 27. Homework projects are also available. For more information, contact

Church & Society Collection: Grace Ministries (Aug. 2018)

GRACE Ministries of the United Methodist Church ( is a faith-based community outreach program serving over 1,000 low-income families each month in Northern Virginia. GRACE provides emergency food, clothing, household items, diapers and healthcare information and screenings at seven local United Methodist Churches. This program also provides job training programs to help community members become personal care aides and certified nurse aides, thereby offering a more long-term employment solution in areas of significant workforce needs.

We are collecting:

  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils
  • Washable markers
  • No. 2 pencils
  • Plastic folders
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Erasers
  • Wide-ruled notebook or pad
  • Glue sticks
  • Ruler
  • Blunt-tipped scissors
  • Assorted construction paper