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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A Chance to Feed Others and a Chance to Feed Your Soul

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

How did it get to be November? I know I ask myself this question each year. As we move closer to Advent, I have two great opportunities for you. They offer ways to nourish and renew; one is for others and one is for you. In this busy time of year, I hope you’ll find space in your schedule to take part.

The first is Rise Against Hunger. (That’s the new name for Stop Hunger Now.) This is a wonderful project that helps feed the hungry across the globe. Families are welcome to attend. (Children should be ages four and up.) It’s a good opportunity for multi-generational service. Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that helps impoverished people throughout the world. Trinity has supported this effort for several years.

Our goal is to make 300,000 meals at our McLean event. The meal packages we assemble that day will be sent to Nicaragua, which was ravished by Hurricane Nate. Come join people from all over the area to help!

Rise Against Hunger

Saturday, November 4

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

Shifts start at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

To sign up, just let me know and I can register you, or go to https://www.facebook.com/StopHungerNowMcLean

The second event is an Advent Bible study. It’s based on Max Lucado’s book Because of Bethlehem. Cokesbury publishers describes the Bible study this way: Because of Bethlehem, God knows what it is like to be a human. When we talk to God about our challenges, our struggles, and our tough times, God understands, because he’s been there. God’s been here. This Advent study will remind us of these truths and give us hope.

I have some books ordered, so if you would like one let me know. They are also offered through Amazon or Cokesbury.com.

Because of Bethlehem

November 12 & 19, December 3 & 10

9:30 a.m.

Fellowship Building, Room 302

I’ll see you at church!

 

Sports, Technology, Character and the Church

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

I’m convinced that technology will help the church overcome present and future challenges. Initially for this article I wanted to show an example of how technology and data science in sports have transformed two of the most cursed organizations. However, in my research I found that the church has something far greater to offer: people with character who overcome adversities, failures, and hardships.

Have you heard about the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ or the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’? These were superstitious explanations about the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs not being able to win the World Series for the longest time; for Boston it was 86 years and Chicago 108 years. But one person is credited in ending curses for both teams, Theo Epstein. When he started out in Boston, he was committed to using data analysis and latest technological advances. For example, Red Sox interns went to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis to examine 30 years’ worth of college baseball stats to look for characteristics of college players who became productive major leaguers. They worked with neuroscientists to study the brain makeup of great hitters. The Boston Red Sox’s success was mainly credited to Epstein’s commitment to ‘Moneyball’ (the data analysis approach to sports). However, he hit a snag. He found that winning and success were only parts of the solution. Something far greater was in need- athletes with character.

When the Red Sox team that won two World Series had an embarrassing late season collapse in 2011, Mr. Epstein observed that even though players looked great on paper, some of them had serious character flaws. Therefore, when he started to work for the Cubs he placed an upmost importance on character. Instead of just looking at numbers and analytical data, he asked his scouts to examine adversities that prospective athletes had to overcome on and off the field. Moreover, his scouts were instructed to ask potential recruits’ friends, coworkers and family members these questions: How does he treat people when no one’s looking? What do his friends say about him? What do his enemies say about him? How does he treat people he doesn’t necessarily have to treat well? He wanted to emphasize that the heart and soul of an athlete are greater than the sum of the physical attributes.

As I stated previously I wanted to highlight the importance of using technology to overcome some of the challenges that Trinity faces. I still believe that because businesses, government agencies, sports teams, and non-profits that skillfully employ science and big data will move forward. Moreover, Mr Epstein’s experiences help me to appreciate that the core mission of the church is still to meet the core needs of humanity, building character. Through researching about Mr. Epstein, I learned, Yes! Technology is needed in the church. It’s needed so that we could continue to make disciples of Jesus who bear the cross to overcome injustice, apathy, and violence through godly character, perseverance, and faithfulness.

 

Ask Duke: Why Does God Make Hurricanes?

Duke Rose, Trinity Church Mascot

Hello to all the kids of Trinity Church! It’s me, Duke Dog; but you can call me Duke. I am excited to be answering your questions about God, the church, or whatever else is on your mind. First, let me tell you a little about me. I live in Charlottesville, Virginia. My mom and dad went to school at James Madison University where the school mascot is a dog. Cool! Can you guess the mascot’s name? That’s right. It’s Duke Dog! I am also the Grand-dog of Pastor Eileen. She asked me to help with your questions.

Here’s one from our good friend Bennett. He asks: Why does God make hurricanes? Awesome question, Bennett!

It has been a very active hurricane season. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma did a lot a damage. People in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and beyond have suffered because of the big storms. Hurricanes are very powerful storms. They can be as much as 600 miles across. That’s huge! Hurricanes also bring big amounts of rain. Hurricane Harvey dumped 27 trillion gallons of rain on Texas and Louisiana! Here’s a good YouTube video your parents or grandparents can help you watch.

It helps us to remember that God is bigger than any storm. We read in the book of Genesis (the very first book of the Bible) that God made the sky and everything in it: our sun, moon, stars, clouds, even the lightning and thunder.

In the book of Job, we see where God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash. God is powerful! Lightning and thunder are mentioned a bunch of times in the Bible.

Hurricane Catrina as seen from the International Space Station, 2004

Look at this picture of a hurricane. See the part in the very middle? It’s called the eye. Inside the eye of the storm it’s very quiet and dry. As the eye passes over land, the rain and wind calm down. That’s how God’s love is for us. Even when things might be loud and busy around us, we find peace and comfort in God. We can find calm, even in the middle of our own hurricanes in life.

Just like everything else in nature, God made the rain, thunder and lightning. Sometimes those storms can get bright, noisy, windy and rainy. But, I hope you’ll look at them differently next time you see them. Lightning and thunder, hurricanes and storms are really just cool science projects made by God!

If you have a question you can give it to your Sunday School teacher or send it to me at http://bit.ly/AskDuke.

Remember my motto:

Paws for Jesus!

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.