“Living in an age when church attendance is in decline, faithfulness is an important quality. Without faithfulness, it would be impossible to keep the doors of the church open.
However, God promises us more. God promises us fruitfulness.”
This year, during the season of Lent, you’re invited on a journey to explore the ways disciples of Jesus grow in fruitfulness by growing in faithfulness.
As part of our ongoing “Seeds of Hope” series, this study will help you examine biblical, theological, and practical ways to deepen the faithfulness of your walk with Jesus and increase the fruitfulness of your discipleship. Our prayer is that this resource will be a blessing to you during the Lenten season as we journey to meet the living Christ, God’s first fruits of the new creation!
Written by Rev. Jonathan Dierdorff with weekly reflections from Director of Discipleship, Leadership, and Congregational Vitality Ken Willard, Seeds of Hope Where Faithfulness Grows is a six-week journey through scripture, story, and commentary that can be used by congregations, small groups, Bible studies, leadership teams, families, and individuals.
The following is an excerpt from the first weekly session, “Name:”
As a pastor I am constantly reminded of the power in a name. I’ve learned that when I ask someone their name, I’ve taken the first essential step in building a relationship. Although it’s simple, there’s hardly anything more rewarding than seeing someone’s face light up and hearing them say, “I can’t believe you remembered my name!”
Unfortunately, I’ve also sensed the disappointment when someone’s name has been forgotten, or even worse, they’ve been called by the wrong name. I guess the importance of our name is just one of those things we don’t outgrow from our childhood.
The person who really taught me the importance of names was Gary. Gary was in my dad’s friend at church, and he was also the captain of the bus ministry. Gary was a soft spoken, quiet man, who had an undying passion to lead children to Jesus. […]
As I look back, I am amazed at how often a child’s behavior would be transformed after hanging around Gary for a little while. If a child was misbehaving Gary wouldn’t call them out. Instead, he would give them a job. For instance, Gary might make a child the junior bus captain for the day, and by giving them a little responsibility, their behavior would change like flipping a switch.
In short, Gary taught me that when we call someone by name, we remind them of their sacred worth, which is ultimately our job as Christians. And when we treat someone like they are sacred worth, they start to believe it.
Seeds of Hope Where Faithfulness Grows will be available conference-wide in early February in print as well as a downloadable resource. Watch our weekly Short Circuit e-news, your district newsletter, and our conference website, wvumc.org, for updates and details.