Signs of a Healthy Church: Baptism and Giving

rencherCurrent resources on church growth and development reflect on marks of healthy church behavior. The list of essential characteristics and opportunities describes a community that worships intentionally and often; knows itself and moves forward based on vision; invites and incorporates; creates disciples; lives as stewards of time, spiritual gifts, talents, and money; empowers individuals to live better lives; cares for its own; reaches beyond its doors; fosters a learning culture for adults, youth, and children; communicates increasingly better; manages conflict to create fairness and peace; and understands the need to be connected to the greater church.

Since my years of service in parish churches in Memphis, Tennessee and Oxford, Mississippi plus faith communities during seminary, I continue to learn and enjoy collaborating with the Vestry, Staff, and countless others on how to improve the health and welfare of St. Peter’s. We are in the midst of an exciting time: this Sunday, November 2, is All Saints’ Sunday and we have scheduled the baptisms of ten children and one adult. I am reminded that our church family is “creating disciples” amid several other marks that are signs of a healthy church. At this festive service we will receive God’s beloved children into the household of God after renewing our own Baptismal Covenant with God.

Not only will we receive and increase our care for the baptismal candidates, we are invited to model how to “live as stewards of time, spiritual gifts, talents, and money” by whatever we give to God through pledges to life at St. Peter’s. This Sunday is Commitment Sunday in which our annual campaign, Give To The Vision 2015: Connecting with St. Peter’s, seeks to raise $1 million dollars to the glory of the God who created us, redeemed us, and sanctified us. We are moving well on the journey. I have faith that our good health will strengthen the body of Christ and pray that God will grant us many years.

– The Reverend Ollie V. Rencher, Rector