A Vision For Our Future
There is a great opportunity ahead for Rejoice! At the end of the month, some of Rejoice council, members, and staff will be meeting for a retreat with Intentional Impact.
Intentional Impact is a consulting firm that has worked with many churches in our synod and has been recommended to us by Pastor Sarah Stumme, the associate to the ELCA Bishop. Rejoice has carried out these focus retreats in 7-year intervals so they are helpful ways to examine where we are now and how we can best use our gifts in service to Christ and his Kingdom!
The purpose of the retreat is three-fold:
- to name our vision and communicate it clearly!
- to focus on that vision with the love, talent and energy of Rejoice.
- to develop the organizational structures that will best serve us in carrying out our vision.
This is a great time for Rejoice to pause, ponder and pray about what it means for us to be faithful. My ask is for you who read this to pause and pray for our May 29th retreat.
We look forward to sharing with you what comes out of the retreat … and seeing what God has in store for us as we look to the future!
God bless you!
With much love,
Dear Member and Friend of Rejoice,
When we think about discipleship it is usually about what it means for us. We ask ourselves: What does faithfulness mean to us? How do we make choices that take God’s Kingdom seriously?
And then we often struggle to work these things out!
Here is something different… for the next few weeks leading up to Easter Sunday we will ask:
What did discipleship mean for Jesus?
What did it mean for him to be faithful?
How did he live out his mission and purpose?
What choices did he make that mattered and how did he struggle with it all?
The Lent readings that bring us to Easter are full of powerful answers to these questions. By paying attention to some of Jesus’ last experiences we will see what faithfulness really looks like, and is a great way to honor the vibe of Lent!
One more question: What will we see in them that will help us grow in our faith?
I invite and encourage you to make it to each and every Sunday service in Lent so you can take in the whole of this series!
With much love,
Dear members and friends of Rejoice,
For the past few weeks in worship we have been talking about Soulful Perspectives on the Abundant Life. We have been asking how can we better cultivate and nurture peace – a word in Hebrew that means “the well being that comes from God.”
Can we follow this up with an intentional focus in Lent this year?
Here is my invitation! This Lent let’s modify our outward activity and take more time for silence, reading of Scripture and prayer – what I call “Simple Lent.” I invite you to try these spiritual exercises:
- Find a time that works for you each day in Lent and begin by 5 minutes of silence – each week attempt to increase your time of silence
- Follow the daily prompts in the website Sacred Space: a beautiful site created by Irish Jesuit Monks
- Close with a prayer for yourself, your family, your church, your community, our nation and the world
Simple Lent is what I am going to commit to for each of the 40 day of Lent, and I invite you to join me. May this Lent and our daily exercise of silence, prayer and Scripture bring you peace and meaningful spiritual transformations! I would love to hear how your experience with Simple Lent meant for your lenten experience – click here to let me know.
With much love,
It was time for a little different perspective and we think it’s an exciting new look! Hey everyone… Patrick here! You have probably noticed a change in the layout of our worship space this week. The Rejoice Worship Ensemble has migrated to the north half of the room after being in the opposite corner for over a decade! Yes, that’s a long time! (Out of town last week? Click here for a little sneak peek video!)
Marco Saporito (Rejoice’s Ensemble Director) and I, in conjunction with members of the Hospitality Team and Council, decided it was time to review how we use God’s worship space. Our purpose was multifaceted. For RWE, we wanted to shake up our layout by resetting more like the modern band we’ve become, to position ourselves in way that is more physically connected in our worship and overall cleaner. We knew this move would also foster a better location for our weekly Hospitality event, Gathering Ground! It also creates opportunities for future expansion of our hospitality corner… more on that later! You’ll notice more activity from the Creative Design team throughout the worship space in the coming months too. Their artwork is designed to enhance the worshipful nature and beauty of our church.
While we get to know this setup, I want to invite you to join us! Try viewing worship at Rejoice with new energy and new perspective! I know you probably have a favorite spot to sit each week. Maybe now is a time to view things differently! Try getting closer to the band… come join us in the corner!? Or possibly now is a time to sit up front and answer Pastor Lou’s ‘Where are my…?’ questions! Either way, thank you for the love and energy you bring to worship at Rejoice!
Interested in learning more about serving on the ensemble, media team or Creative Design Team – click here to reach out to me! God’s blessing… Patrick
Important news! We are reorganizing our bi-monthly meetings in the coming year!
First… a big thank you to ministry leaders, council and staff for the investment you have made in serving our community creatively and with love through our bi-monthly ministry team meetings. These meetings were intended to give a regular rhythm to our calendar planning and have a time when council and staff could be present to help with anything our teams would need on the spot! While these meetings were worthwhile, they were not completely helpful to teams that could not be present consistently for these larger gatherings. The time has come to evaluate their effectiveness and format. We also wanted to see if we could improve the efficiency of everyone’s time.
So we are going to streamline our meetings to three intentional and purposeful planning times each year.
At these three meeting times we will have a chance to coordinate our ministry programs and events with months of lead time, create an orderly rhythm to our calendar and work synergistically together! All teams are encouraged to meet independently as needed, and remember that staff and council are ALWAYS available to partner with you. We believe this shift in our meeting format will be more helpful to everyone!
Please mark your calendars for our first Strategic Planning Meeting:
- Saturday, September 23rd from 8:00 – 11:00 am
- Location tba
Questions? Click here. Thanks so much for showing up with love in Christ’s Name!
For the month of January we want to put a bright spotlight on God’s promise of peace!
How can we nourish peace in ourselves and pass it on to others? It turns out that Peace is one of the most important dimensions of faith. Peace is spoken of very often in the Bible in powerful and profound ways. In our messages in January we will explore how Christian faith and peace are so directly related! We will look into questions such as: Can peace take more of a hold on our lives? Can we shed some of the worry and anxiety of our hard driven lifestyles? Can we experience the peace that we need?
Please come out every Sunday in January with your family and explore the gift and promise of peace with me!
Have you ever wanted to serve God by serving communion?
Greetings! This is Julie Douglas, your friendly neighborhood Director of Communications and Worship Team Coordinator here at Rejoice. Thank you to Pastor Lou for allowing me to guest blog this week. The reason you’re hearing from me is that I wanted to let you know that we’ve got some exciting changes coming to how we do communion at Rejoice!
It is an honor and privilege to be able to serve communion as a symbol of God’s grace to others in our congregation, and we want to make this opportunity open to all! Communion servers will no longer be pre-scheduled each week, rather we will move to a more voluntary and organic method of serving communion. Beginning Sunday, November 6th, six lanyards will hang on the wall across from the elevator doors in the narthex. We invite anyone who is wanting to take part in the worship service by serving communion – either by holding the chalice of wine, the tray of wine & grape juice, or holding the basket to collect used cups – to take a lanyard. When the lanyards are all taken, then we know we have enough communion servers for that service.
A few notes:
- 6 lanyards will be available for each service – 2 trays of wine/grape juice, 2 common cups of wine, 2 baskets for discarded communion cups. After worship, don’t forget to return the lanyard to the wall for the next service!
- Pastor Lou & the worship leader will continue to serve the bread
- The back of the lanyard will include instructions on what to say and do as a communion server
- We welcome children to serve by holding the baskets. As there is one basket for each side, we ask that there are no more than 2 children per service (once students are confirmed, they are welcome to serve the tray or common cup)
- We will return to two full teams of communion servers for both services. For the past year, we have experimented with one team of servers at the 9AM service, but for ease and consistency we will return to two teams at each service beginning Nov 6th
- We understand that there will be people who will welcome this opportunity, but others may not be comfortable performing this role. That’s ok! We don’t want anyone to feel pressured into serving in a capacity in which they’re uncomfortable – there are many different ways to be involved at Rejoice!
Pastor Lou and I are excited about these upcoming changes, and we believe it is a wonderful opportunity to involve more people in, and bring new energy to, our worship services at Rejoice! Click here if you want to learn more about being a communion server. If you have any questions or comments, please click here to contact me.
Renewal, New Life, Born Anew/Born from Above, New Covenant, A New Commandment… these are all characteristics of the energy and vibe of Christian faith. The ideas of renewal, reawakening, re-commitment are all dynamics of a vibrant and evolving faith in Christ!
With topics such as renewing our imaginations, our energy in marriage and family, and our investment in the Kingdom as well as our own community, this fall we will explore the graces, the gifts, and the tasks that are at work in the blessing of renewal. I hope you will join me on this journey of renewal that will take us to Advent!
Are you interested in growing your skills as a leader?
Would you like to learn from our youth minister Mike Willis and Pastor Lou how to lead a small group bible study?
If you are interested in taking your involvement in spiritual growth to the next level and want to help others do the same… this TURBO GROUP IS FOR YOU! Youth minister Mike Willis and I invite you to join them for a 5-week training experience where we will talk about spiritual leadership and the practical aspects of leading discussions and choosing great resources. Our meeting dates will be Sept 20, Oct 4, Oct 18, Nov 1 & Nov 15 – we’ll meet from 7-8:30pm at Rejoice.
The expectation is simple: graduates of this class will commit to leading a group, with our support. Mike and I are here to help you, so let’s do this!! Sign up below by Sept 18th.
A Biblical Look into Life’s 4 Key Questions
This June I’ll be preaching a 4 part series called: A Biblical Look into Life’s 4 Key Questions. The inspiration for these messages have come from discussions I have had with many of you about these very issues, and our congregation’s desire for more spiritual growth opportunities.
Here are the questions we will grapple with:
- What can we know about God?
- Why is there such suffering in the world and what does this say about the “human condition”?
- Where do we look for security and happiness?
- What hope is there after our lives end?
All religions attempt to deal with these questions and our faith meets them head on. What does Christianity really say about these matters?
I imagine we all ponder these mysteries from time to time. Do you have friends right now who need to hear these messages?
If so – invite and bring them!
If we pray, come prepared and engage I believe this series can be a blessing in our spiritual formation and growth!