Dear First Pres,

   One of the most important things that our church Session (our leadership board) did this Spring and Summer was to establish some relative priorities for the coming year to help us move more and more to becoming a church that is engaging together in Christ's work of making disciples.
   Our process was a bit different than previous years. Instead of focusing our attention on our various ministries and thinking about what needed attention, we focused on the disciplines and priorities of a Great Commission Church as presented to us by Rev. Dr. Priddy last year. As our Session spent time prayerfully considering these disciplines and priorities, we discerned three areas of relative priority for the coming year: preemptive prayer, testimony, and disciple making.
   Preemptive prayer is identified as one of the core disciplines of a Great Commission (GC) church. It means that GC churches spend time praying kingdom-focused, mission-focused prayers. They pray for mission effectiveness before all church activities. GC churches love to pray for God's Kingdom to come and His will to be done through the congregation.
   Testimony wasn't on Dr. Priddy's list of disciplines and priorities, but we believe it is one of the best ways for people to catch a vision of what God is doing and be inspired to join Him in His mission. Testimony isn't only the story of how we became followers of Jesus, it also is the story of what God is doing in and through us today. Many of you had the privilege of hearing testimonies from Dianne, Arida, Zach, Emily, Kelsey, Devon, Geraud, Paul and Charlene during our Education Hour over the last several weeks. These are stories of God's redeeming transformation in action among us.
   Finally, disciple making is what the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) is all about. Every disciple is called to grow into a disciple maker. That means submitting our own lives to Christ while intentionally building relationship with nonbelievers, following the Spirit's lead for the opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus with an opportunity for response, and helping other believers increasingly submit all of life to the empowering presence and Lordship of Jesus.
   Here's the deal, the Session feels like these three areas need some strong attention in our congregation, and that's what we're working toward in this coming ministry year. You can expect more testimonies. You can expect more encouragement to join a prayer gathering. And you can expect some new efforts to engage our congregation in disciple making. Finally, you can expect some preaching that specifically addresses these themes over the next several weeks.
   Of course, we'll only grow in these areas as a congregation if you, the congregation, find some way to share in these areas. What will your part be as we engage together in Christ's work in these ways? Now's a great time to start, right?
   One way to start is with prayer. Will you join me in praying for our church - that God's Kingdom will come and His will be done through us? Will you pray that for your own life? Will you join me in praying that God uses us to make disciples who then make disciples? Will you join me in praying that God uses us to multiply His Church? That's what we'll be praying for this Friday morning (and every Friday morning) from 06:30 - 07:15 in The Commons. And when we pray for these things, we should expect that God will be arranging opportunities for us to share His love and the Good News of His redeeming transformation. He is listening! Praise God!