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Signs of Vitality

At a recent confab on Congregational Vitality, Diane Moffett president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency asked how followers of Jesus are doing in this season of a deadly pandemic, and then reminded us that, “Death is a comma, not a period.”

“Death is a comma, not a period.”
– Diane Moffett

2020 will likely be remembered as the year we reinvented ourselves because we had to.  It has not been easy, but we have made significant strides. We are not as we were. An uncertain, unknown future awaits us. We had to leave some things behind, things that comforted us, that were meaningful to us. And we grieve those things. But, as followers as Jesus, we also hold fast in faith that, yes, “death is a comma, not a period.” And Jesus calls to us from the future, “Follow me.”

Now as ever, the main purpose of the Presbytery of Riverside remains:  to support the ministries of congregations. This includes helping leaders by

  • creating and nurturing networks,
  • listening to needs and struggles,
  • celebrating accomplishments and
  • responding with resources for ministry.

These Signs of Vitality posts expect to be a regular (weekly) feature in the Presbytery’s newsletters and here on the website that will highlight the Signs of Vitality that are in our midst. There are wise, creative, and enthusiastic people around us who are achieving amazing things and ordinary things, too. The goal of this blog is to lift up and celebrate the good things that God is doing in our congregations and in our church. It is my hope that these Signs of Vitality will inspire you and encourage you as you serve God who is indeed “doing a new thing” in and through us.

When the Presbyterian Church (USA) reached out to discover the things that “vital congregations” are doing, they noticed that many healthy congregations seem to have an eye out for the movement of God even as routines and ministries are carried out.  They trust that the Spirit of God is always present, always guiding, always nurturing. They try to be attuned to the Spirit’s faithfulness, its activity, and its surprises, too.

Think of a time that you carefully planned an event or sermon or program only to have the Spirit of the Living God bring about a blessing that was not on your agenda! God is indeed working, and so often in unexpected ways! We are left with a moment to celebrate the beauty and joy of God’s interaction with us in wonder and gratitude. If you wish to share any sign of vitality that you have experienced, do contact me! I would love to hear about it!

May the “gifts of the Spirit” bring vitality to your service to God!

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