A special edition of Monday Matters
I’ve been writing these emails for a few years now, a way of checking in each week to explore ways to put faith to work in the world. It’s been good for me. (Preachers really preach to themselves.) The opportunity to connect with you each week has helped me grow. I am honored when anyone reads this Monday message, and grateful when people comment in response.
I’ve tried to keep the focus on faith, what I call the so-what factor. What difference does our faith make during the week? I’ve tried to avoid political rants, advertisements for programs, solicitations of support in these emails. You get enough of those.
But every so often, folks ask what I do when I’m not writing these messages. They also ask what RenewalWorks is all about and how this work is supported. So I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about the work we do, and invite you to help us if you’d like.
I serve as Director of RenewalWorks, a ministry of Forward Movement . We began this work four years. It was a bit of a leap of faith, hoping to help congregations make spiritual growth a priority. The RenewalWorks process includes an online inventory taken by parishioners, which asks about their own spiritual journey, their beliefs and practices. Then a small team in that congregation answers questions, with the help of the data generated by the inventory. They ask: Where are we as a congregation? Where is God calling us to go? Our RenewalWorks staff helps those congregations chart a course forward. We try to help them build cultures of discipleship in their churches. Monday Matters is just one way we do that. You can find out more about this work on our website (www.renewalworks.org).
I love this work, and we’re making headway. In fact, we’re expanding in a number of ways, running conferences like the one described below. We’re launching a new resource called RenewalWorks For Me, an individualized approach to RenewalWorks. (It’s kind of like a spiritual fitbit, creating a spiritual fitness plan for a person to apply.) We’ve got a new ministry called Revive which focuses on spiritual leadership, helping clergy and lay leaders like Vestry members develop a prayer life, engage with scripture, and explore a sense of call.
After four years at this work, I’m convinced there is lots more for us to do, as we seek to support spiritual growth in our churches. And there are ways you can help. Please spread the word about RenewalWorks wherever you worship. Pray for us in our work. (Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it. That’s in the psalms somewhere.) And consider offering financial support to RenewalWorks.
Our ministry has been sustained so far by donors, many of whom I know through this Monday email. I am so thankful for that help. There are also folks who made five year commitments to get this work launched. Again, my gratitude is deep. We’re nearing that five year mark, and so we are looking to fund the next three years. If you’d be willing to help us, you can make a one-time donation at https://renewalworks.org/donate/. You can sign up for monthly contributions. Or you can talk with us about being part of a group that will commit to keep us going for three more years. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com to learn more about our hopes and our needs.
If Monday Matters matters, consider supporting this work, in whatever way you can. As we sometimes say in the Anglican world: All may. None must. Some should. We take on this work, often challenging work, for the sake of our beloved church, and in support of our dedicated clergy, as together we seek to grow in love of God and neighbor, which is what we mean by spiritual growth.
Thank you for your prayerful consideration of this email. Talk to you all next Monday.
A scripture passage that has guided our work:
Ephesians 4:1-6, 11-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knitted together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.
Discipleship Matters Conference 2017
Oct. 16-18, 2017
Rev. Jay Sidebotham
RenewalWorks is a ministry of Forward Movement.
If you’d like to join in this donor-based ministry, donate here.