Our tall white steeple and red doors call out to the community that all are welcome to come and feel the love of Christ and the love of our church family. Our worship services are on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. with adult Sunday School at 9:30 a.m. For our youth, we have #OAKZ. Our mission statements are Extending God’s Call – Empowering God’s People – Easing Human Need. We are located at 1576 Chantilly Lane, and our telephone number is 713-682-2556.
Our house meetings for New Beginnings has begun. Lorrie’s fourth house meeting will take place on Monday, April 6th, at 10 am. Craig’s third house meeting will take place on Thursday, March 26th, at 7 pm. Doris’s second house meeting will take place on Sunday, April 12th, following the church service. All house meetings are located at the church in Payne Hall.
For the Lenten season we are studying prayer, and each Sunday of Lent we will be tackling some of the questions Jesus asks us:
Bell choir practice is from 5:45 – 6:45 on Wednesday nights.
Regular choir practice is from 7 to 8 on Wednesday nights.
It took many years for our congregation to develop its current culture. By culture I mean our congregation’s norms, the way of living and thinking that the congregation accepts as normal. These values and the established patterns of behavior that arise from them are so ingrained that no one even thinks about them. In their book Pathway to Renewal, Daniel Smith and Mary Sellon write, “A group’s norms provide stability and predictability; they ensure that what the group experiences tomorrow will be similar to what it experienced today. The culture of a declining congregation reinforces decline, and so the culture itself is what has to be renewed.” Visitors can hear our declining state when we say such things as “We don’t have many young people, but we hope you’ll come back”; “Wow! It’s so great to see you! (overly spoken as if we haven’t seen a visitor in decades)”; “We don’t have any other children here, but we hope you will be our first.” We come at people, including ourselves, reminding everyone of our faults, as if we have no recognition of the beauty among us. We must regain our position of beauty. Our position of beauty is not a position of numerical significance, but rather a position of great grace and service.
In order to regain our sense of beauty, we must adapt to new ways of thinking and behaving. We need conversations in regard to four aspects of this new way of thinking and behaving – purpose, picture, plan, and place. What is the purpose of our new thinking and behaving? What is the picture of what this will look like and feel like for our congregation? What is the plan for getting there? Will there be a place for me…what part will I play? Conversations of these four aspects are the reason behind our six house meetings for New Beginnings. Together, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we will discover where God is leading us. When it comes to congregational change, every person in the congregation is a leader. Every person has a voice of influence, whether or not he/she is aware of it. This is why everyone needs to participate in the house meetings. Our first house meeting was Sunday, February 22nd, and I was so encouraged by how many of you were in attendance. Now I do know that some of you had prior commitments, but there were some of you that did not even respond to the church’s invitation. THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR THE LIFE OF THIS CONGREGATION!!
Congregational renewal is absolutely a journey of faith. Congregational renewal cannot progress without the congregation’s becoming and staying anchored in what God desires for the world and for the church. This is why I gave each of you a Lenten devotion entitled “BECOMING A PRAYER WARRIOR.” We must be in God’s Word and in prayer in order to hear God’s voice. God is the great “I Am,” present in every moment, waiting for us to notice and to respond.
Our God is in the renewal business. God is calling us to something that could be like heaven on earth. God did not promise us that we would be comfortable; but that we would be called and surrounded by God’s forces. Each of us has the Holy Spirit abiding in us. Renewal is possible. There is hope for us. There is hope because God can make a way. God is not asking us “Are you able?” But rather “Are you willing?”
Only God is able to do the miracle that is needed in our congregation. God’s ways are higher than our ways. God makes us in God’s image so others can see the reflection of God’s love in us. We are made to be mirrors – images that reflect back the One who creates and remakes us. Beautiful, but are you willing?
Something to think about and pray about.
In God’s love and joy,