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What our leaders were sharing at the February Leadership Retreat was a little surprising, even shocking in a way, but let me back up a little. If you haven’t heard, St. John’s current goal is “to be a place where our discipling relationships inside the church help us to disciple people outside the church.” For the past two years we’ve been encouraging each other to build relationships with folks outside the church, learn how to articulate our personal story of Christian faith, and share the gospel in a meaningful way. That’s a tall order in a culture that encourages us to keep quiet about our faith. Yet, many in our congregation reported that they were starting to form authentic friendships outside the church, and even had opportunities to share their faith in the super-natural course of conversation. That’s something to celebrate! But when our leaders gathered at Serra Retreat in Malibu we also heard something that could potentially derail this goal or energize it, depending on how we responded. The challenge was articulated in various ways. “We don’t know each other,” one leader said. “We need more opportunities to have fun together,” echoed another. “We should be practicing inside the church what we want to see happen outside the church.” It was hard to hear that some even felt “unknown or unseen” at St. John’s, but it was also galvanizing. Through prayer and conversation, we were unified in this conviction: to build friendships and disciple people outside the church, we should be experiencing the joy of new friendships inside our church too (Acts 2: 43-47). It’s just too easy to focus our attention on familiar faces and never see the amazing variety of people in Christ’s Body. We came away from that retreat ready to tackle the next milestone on the way to accomplishing our near term goal, and in the coming weeks you will be hearing more about what we’re calling – A Season of Togetherness. Through celebration, worship, and service, we will be renewing and developing our relationships inside the church, and at the same time strengthening our ability to reach out with Christ’s love wherever He leads us. Don’t miss the kick-off BBQ event on Sunday May 29th. This is an exciting time to be part of the St. John’s family. Hope to see you soon…


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