Bridging God’s Word into Everyday Life

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Why does Trinity Church exist? According to Matthew’s Gospel, the reason is made clear – we are to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20.

Based on the Great Commission, Trinity Church follows the stated purpose of the United Methodist Church, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The mission of our congregation from our Next Level Innovation weekend is Bridging God’s Word into Everyday Life. I see this as a four-fold task.

First: we reach out to people and welcome them into Trinity Church. We have the missional challenge of connecting our church to the world around our facilities, and the communities where we work, play, shop, study, and worship. We have the missional challenge of connecting our church to all the hurts, doubts and questions of the people around us. Our mission is to find them, reach out to them, listen to them, accept them and share the gospel in word and deed.

Second: we relate to people and help them deepen their spiritual relationship with God. Trinity does this by providing opportunities for growing closer to God. Whether guests or long-time members, we all need God’s love in Christ. Through worship, prayer, study, honest sharing, and finding where God needs us to be in mission – we help each other discover that the Holy Spirit is not far off but a present reality among us. We need to encourage each other to give our lives to Christ, and to center our lives in a very real, living and present God.

Third: we nurture people in Christian lifestyle. Trinity Church helps people practice the disciplines of discipleship. Our church exists to serve not be served. We gather for worship not only for our own personal spiritual formation and growth, but also to prepare and equip ourselves for doing the work of love and be Christ’s disciples in our community and world. We are strengthened for ministry through worship, baptism, Communion, Bible study, prayer and all other means of grace.

Fourth: we support people in their ministry. As members of Trinity Church, we’re sent into our community and world to serve others in need and make our community and world more loving and just. We believe the Holy Spirit empowers and guides us. Where ever we go we can expect to meet Christ already at work. Our congregation exists, in part, to surround and support each other in her and his ministry. With the loving support of this kind of community we can continue to grow and reach others for Christ.

All this is the missional challenge of the church and Trinity Church. The only mission that counts is God’s mission. We need to view the world and Christ’s mission in a new light. We no longer look at the world for any gaps in mission so we can take God to where God isn’t now. Instead, let’s look at the world as God’s- a place where God’s love and care are already, and everywhere, at work. We don’t take mission outside Trinity’s walls – we go out to meet the mission already there.

 

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Your Voice Matters

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Here are some concerns our Next Level Innovation weekend, October 20-22, is designed to address. Did you know there are hundreds of thousands of persons living in northern Virginia who have no church home? Barna and other church research groups place the percentage of persons without church affiliation between 50 & 60%. Trinity and the NLI Team want to open its arms and reach out to this growing community of persons seeking, but not finding the right place to meet their spiritual needs. Even before we reach out to these persons we already know lots about them.

Persons who are seekers of church homes or new church homes tend to fit the following profile:

  • They prefer worship services that are shorter, well designed and have a lively flow and tempo, not necessarily held in a sanctuary; often a fellowship hall is preferred.
  • They prefer loud, upbeat, faster paced pop/contemporary music sound.
  • Their loyalty is won through excellence in ministry and adult education.
  • They require a community of faith to help them sort out the hurts in their lives through practical messages, classes and small groups.
  • They prefer short-term opportunities, activities and commitments.
  • They prefer a focus on local ministries rather than far away places.

God has blessed our Trinity Church with some of the finest lay and clergy leadership in the country. The time is very right for us to intensify our outreach to persons seeking a church home. I request that you support our Next Level Innovation weekend with your prayers. Encourage and guide our leaders with your ideas and suggestions. Offer your own time, spiritual gifts and, when possible, your financial resources to help make this ministry a powerful witness for Jesus Christ in the United Methodist tradition.

Remember, our Next Level Innovation weekend is October 20-22. Lots of things will be happening but we need you on Saturday the 21st for the all-important visioning session from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. We will serve you lunch and child care is available when you register. YOU are necessary so we can clearly hear what God is already doing in this church, and hear what God is challenging us to do next.

We need to hear from younger, older, families, singles, leaders and non-leaders. We want to fill Langley Hall with 100 people because your voice matters. We understand that Saturdays in the fall are busy, but I hope you will choose to spend October 21 with us for this very important moment in Trinity Church’s life. So please respond with your participation. To sign-up, please visit our website: umtrinity.org/get-involved/nli.

Related articles:

Next Level Innovation Weekend

Next Level Innovation and a Bible Story

Stewardship for Children and Youth Group

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise person who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. (Matthew 7:24-25)

Did you hear about the leaning tower of San Francisco? The Millennium Tower is a 58-story, 645-foot tall condominium building located in downtown and was completed in 2009. The building cost over $350 million to build, and penthouses sold for over $13 million per unit. However, in 2016, the residents were notified that the building had sunk 16 inches and the top of the building is tilting 6 inches toward the northwest. The main reason is that it’s built on sand using a foundation method called friction piles.

I’m sure there are other factors that contributed to this grave situation but I can’t help but wonder, how can this story relate to Jesus’ words? What does he mean by practicing his teachings so that our lives (house) can withstand all the disturbances from natural elements?

Going back to the Millennium Tower, building on sand using friction piles is a common way of construction. A more secured method is to dig all the way down to the bedrock for a secure foundation. Many modern buildings use friction piles because they’re less costly and are aligned with building codes. However, for the Millennium Tower, the builders say that due to heavy construction activities around the building and pumping out millions of gallons of underground water contributed to the unusual condition of rapid sinking.

How can Trinity build disciples to be founded on solid bedrock so that when there are storms of life, winds of doubt, and disturbances in our environment, our houses can stand tall and secure? I’m sure you have many suggestions that will aptly apply to your situations. In addition, I would like to suggest for Trinity that we should be more intentional about being faithful in living out as a community of faith. This could mean consistent attendance in church where you’re connecting with other Trinity members worshiping, learning and growing. Also, this could mean that you say hello to members you haven’t seen in a while. This could mean a whole lot of things that help us dig deep and put into practice the teachings of Jesus. I’m really excited about the future of Trinity and going forward with you!

 

October 2017 Schedule of Event

Oct. 1 Executive Committee (by phone)
Oct. 1 Pet Blessing, 2 p.m. Our annual blessing and giving thanks for our furry, finned and scaly members of our families. See more.
Oct. 8 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making We’ll make 900 sandwiches and snack baggies for the homeless.
Oct. 9 Office Closed
Oct. 9 Crafts for a Cause
7—8:30 p.m.
Join us as we prepare for our Holiday Bazaar. Learn more.
Oct. 14 Good Works Day

9 a.m.—12 p.m.

A day of service projects for the church and our community. Sign up now (by Oct. 8) for some of the projects. See more.
Oct. 15 Child Protection Training An annual training workshop for anyone who works with children, youth and at-risk adults. To learn more.
Oct. 15 Laity Sunday Worship will be planned and led by Trinity’s laity.
Oct. 17 Trustees meeting (phone)
Oct. 20-22 Next Level Innovation Weekend How can we be the best Trinity Church that we can be? Learn more.
Oct. 22 One worship service at 10:30 a.m. The message will be presented by the NLI Team.
Oct. 23 Crafts for a Cause
7—8:30 p.m.
Join us as we prepare for our Holiday Bazaar. Learn more.
Oct. 27 Trunk or Treat
6:30—8 p.m.
For details, click here.
Oct. 29 Concert to benefit Share,
6 p.m.
Multi-choir concert and service fair at 2034 Great Falls St. For more.
Nov. 1 Charge Conference, 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.

October Book Chat

In October the Trinity book club turns to The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, a novel inspired by a Victorian-era flower dictionary that defines what different types of flowers mean. The plot spotlights love, adoption, homelessness, and single motherhood, but the main focus is on the foster-care system. We’ll discuss the book on Tuesday, October 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Trinity Library. You’re invited to bring a light dinner (dessert is provided) and enjoy fellowship and lively conversation. Our book for November is The Road to Character, by David Brooks. Then we’ll take a break for the holidays! Contact Kathy Maher to be added to the email list.

Next Level Innovation and a Bible Study

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Next Level Innovation (NLI) is an investment in churches that have a recognized potential for reaching more people in their community and inviting them to become disciples of Jesus. These churches have healthy and coachable leadership. Trinity is one of only 6 churches in this first investment.

The Arlington District & Virginia Conference will provide leadership and administration needs to oversee the development process over the next 3 years. Each church assembles an NLI team oriented toward the process. Trinity’s NLI team is the Executive Council members, clergy and laity.

The District NLI team and other church innovation professionals will visit Trinity on our NLI weekend in October to talk with the Trinity members. Their team will generate recommendations that will help Trinity move to the next level of its abilities, changing the status quo and encouraging innovations that help each participating church community make disciples for the transformation of the world.

Our weekend is October 20, 21, 22. We’ll have only one worship time that Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Interviews with congregation members will be Friday evening and Saturday morning. The NLI leadership team will deliver Sunday’s message and encourage Trinity members in our mission with Jesus Christ.

On another note, I will begin my fall Bible study on September 10. Classes are Sunday at 9:30 a.m., Monday at 10 a.m. and Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. This year we’re using the Disciple Fast Track series, Into the Word, Into the World and we’ll begin with Genesis and Exodus. The study last 12 weeks. Class members read a manageable 3-5 chapters of the Bible each day in preparation for the class. Into the Word will help you deepen your understanding of Scripture, make connections between what you already know and what you’re reading and you’ll encounter 3 spiritual disciplines, learn what they are and discover how you can engage those disciplines. Each week Into the World identifies some needs in the world for which ministry is needed and suggests possible responses.

And finally, each week, you’ll be guided in experiencing the gift of Sabbath rest and renewal. Join us for Genesis/Exodus in the fall and Luke/Acts in the winter.