Book Review – Small Church Essentials 4

Stuck or Strategic” is another way Vater invites small churches to evaluate their situation (remember, he defines small as any church under 250 members).

There are good reasons for being small, and there are not so healthy reasons.  In an earlier chapter, Vaters notes that organisms grow to their proper size and then they stop; they’ve reached maturity and that’s normal.

Actually, I’d suggest that this calls for a bit of nuance.  As Neil Cole points out in his book Organic Churchbiological maturity is marked by the ability to reproduce.  While I believe Cole would agree that not every church should aim to be enormous in size, he strongly suggests that most healthy organisms, upon reaching maturity, reproduce; in this case: planting new churches.  Another way to frame that observation is to ask what ministries or disciples are being multiplied and sent into the community, apart from the matter of whether or not they remain structurally part of their host church community.

With that thought in the back of our minds, let’s examine Vater’s framing about whether a given community is ‘stuck’ or ‘strategic’ in their smallness.

Vater has spent half the book already to combat the notion that a congregation is small because it’s failing.

That said, sometimes small *is* an indication that something’s not right.

  • Stuck small can reflect ‘mistakes’ – which he leaves fairly vague, but seem to reflect an unwillingness to change things that don’t work or realize barriers the congregation creates for new people.  If the worship is awkward, or events and groups are planned at times which don’t work for anyone outside the group that already attends, there are going to be challenges.
  • Stuck small can reflect ‘exclusion’ – recognizing that most churches don’t intentionally exclude others (though some do).  As I see it, exclusion can happen in a number of ways:
    • sometimes  a church is so close knit, that they are extremely friendly – to one another!  We might think our doors are ‘open’ to someone else, but are we extending invitations and making them feel welcome?
    • exclusion can also be in our language: using ‘churchy’ words that aren’t necessary (or without explaining them) can create barriers to the community.  I remember being on sabbatical last year and attending a worship service at a local church that was beautiful and biblically based, and none of it was explained or framed in language a new person would understand.  Even as a pastor with many years of ecumenical experience, there were parts of worship I was left feeling an outsider about.
    • exclusion can also be deliberate; the legalistic kind as well as a cultural kind that looks down on people if they don’t “dress right” or come from the same socio-economic or ethnic background.
  • Stuck small can also reflect being ‘frozen in time’ (or well, stuck…) – tradition is great, we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.  But some of our traditions are more about our preferences and comfort than what is needed to fulfill the Great Commission (as Vater puts it)
  • Stuck small can reflect ‘Looking Less like the Community Around You.’ – Does the age, income, ethnicity of our church reflect the  makeup of our surrounding community?  If not, unless that’s for a specific strategic reason, that’s not healthy.

On the other hand, there are strategic reasons for being small:

  • Because some people worship and relate better in a smaller setting.
  • To create spaces of rest for people in a cluttered and chaotic life
  • Because (recognizing that we are small for now), the church has chosen to focus on health over mechanicla growth

To be honest, this chapter really re-visits some things he listed well at the very beginning of the book, without adding a lot of extra nuance.  That said, the question posed and re-posed is essential:

It’s not about feeling bad about the size of the church, it’s coming to an honest evaluation of why, and letting that inform how we respond.

What are some things we do well because we are a smaller congregation?

What could it look like to be more intentional about building into those things?

Are there places we have tended to get ‘stuck’?

Book Review – Small Church Essentials 3

Bigger fixes nothing

Well, that’s not entirely true – but there’s a huge caveat to that.  Pain (which can come from many sources) can motivate us to action, but sometimes that action is directed in ways we think will help, but won’t.

Think of some of the different kinds of pain in smaller churches: the relational pain of people coming and going for all kinds of (healthy and unhealthy) reasons, the pain of wondering what the future will hold, the pain of financial struggles, or the pain of realizing we can’t keep things exactly the way they were in the past (our images of what church was like during ‘golden years’).  If we think that just with a few more people, a few more dollars, a few more leaders or volunteers, we could alleviate the pain…  Vaters makes a good point – this just leads to more pain.

As he puts it – “when healthy small churches grow, they become healthy big churches.  When unhealthy small churches grow, they become unhealthy big churches.”  This is a really important point – and brings us back to the question of health, as well as healthy metrics for growth.  Sometimes numerical growth isn’t going to happen.  That doesn’t mean, by the way, that numerical growth is irrelevant – but it means we need to keep the central focus in view.

Vater’s “Ingredients for a Healthy Church”

Love and worship Jesus

Love, serve, and make disciples of others.

Ok – this is true.  It’s like Jesus one command to the disciples: to “love one another as I [Jesus] have loved you.”  It doesn’t get more core than that; and at the same time, learning to live that out takes a lifetime.  And developing healthy culture and relationships within the church to live these ingredients out remains essential.

Instead of all trying to be megachurches, there are better and more faithful metrics for success.   Vater describes an alternative way to describe healthy church growth as:

“Increasing our capacity for effective ministry.”

At Memorial, we’ve framed our goal this way:

“To expand the reach and impact of the ministry God has given to us”

In either definition, there is an emphasis on the kind of growth that empowers one another to live out their calling and gifting together in a way that both includes and transcends the original group.  It’s about new people being equipped and set free to live out their faith, it’s about whether something is effective, not just popular.  (And I’d add, sometimes small churches are just as guilty of holding on to things that are popular ‘we’ve always done this’, or ‘I like this’, even if it’s not particularly effective in terms of what the church is here to do.)

Where have we seen this kind of growth in our ministries as part of Memorial Baptist Church?

Where might we be getting caught up in things that are diverting our energy, time, and resources from that which is helping us effectively live out our mission?

Book Review: Small Church Essentials -2

One of the dynamics of a smaller church is an emphasis on relationships over programs.  At the same time, in a smaller church, as individuals, we have a greater impact on the church (positively and negatively) with our gifts and challenges.

Karl Vater describes how some of those differences between larger and smaller churches play out, with bigger churches needing to prioritize vision, process and programs, while smaller churches need to prioritize relationships, culture and history.

He’s not saying that vision, process and programs don’t matter in smaller churches, but that due to size, the personal and relational dynamics have a larger effect.  If so and so doesn’t get along with someone else, or there’s a dustup or disconnect, it can drastically affect entire ministries of a smaller church.

Churches also pride themselves on being friendly (everyone thinks they’re friendly), but that doesn’t mean someone isn’t being left out, or not finding the connection they may be looking for.

Vaters makes a critical point here: healthy relationships are key in a small church.  He then moves on to talk about culture and history, but it’s worth pausing to look at this essential dynamic:

What does it take to form and maintain healthy relationships in a church?

What does it take to form and maintain healthy relationships, period?

Part of the reality of church is that the church is (or at least should be!) composed of people who are all at different points on the journey!  Which inherently means that we’re not all going to have the same emotional and spiritual maturity or the same set of tools and skills for healthy relationships.  We have different experiences, backgrounds and wounds that impact our ability to relate.  In fact, this ministry of reconciliation – reconnecting – is a core piece of the work of the Gospel in our lives; re-forming our relationship with God, ourselves, and with each other, by the work of Jesus in our lives through the Holy Spirit.

In other words – healthy relationships isn’t just about a “spiritual” thing, but a spiritual thing that flows into our everyday lives and connections with other people.

Which would become an entirely new blog post.  And it’s something that Paul writes about extensively in his letters – seriously.  So much of what he has to say to churches is about the things that build up or tear down relationships.  Our need for grace, forgiveness, the kind of love that wants the best for someone else.  Letting go of bitterness, competition, jealousy, unhelpful ways of talking about others, and so on…

Of course, all of that flows into the next piece Vater describes as essential in a small church: Culture

Culture is what it is; some of it good, some of it bad – but we ignore it at our peril.  Vaters connects Jesus’ parable of the four soils to describe the potential for what grows naturally from the soil.  There may be all kinds of good intentions and actions which can get stunted or subverted (i.e. weeds and stones) by hidden bits of culture which need to be named and uncovered and let go of.  It’s the elephant in the room that no one talks about, or that everyone talks about, just not in helpful ways.

How can we name all the parts of our culture at MBC?

What rocks and weeds do we need to acknowledge to be freed up for all that God seeks to do among us?

Lastly, Vaters describes the impact of history in the small congregation.  Not so that we can be stuck or cemented to the past, but in terms of reconnecting to the vision and passion which energized and motivated the first generations of the congregation’s life.

At Memorial, some of that history is both visionary and painful; being created out of a church split that impacted families and friendships for generations.  And yet, there are certain values that called people out to forge a new community of faith with a model of shared leadership.  The sense of purpose and connection which allowed this new church to thrive and grow in the community is something we need to remember and celebrate with thanksgiving, even as we acknowledge changing times and cultures and the need to re-envision ways in which we live out this ministry.

What parts of our church history (and especially vision) need to be remembered and celebrated more?

 

Book Review: Small Church Essentials -1

This book comes recommended by one of our deacons, Kathy B, who ordered it after reading the author’s blog.  I picked up my own copy of ‘Small Church Essentials’ by Karl Vaters, and will be sharing highlights from the book as well as my thoughts and responses as I read through it.  Each chapter short and makes for a quick read.

It’s geared toward pastors leading a small church (defined as being under 250 in active attendance), but it seems relevant to a wider context of those who are leading and active in smaller congregations.  It’s worth noting that in his denomination (which he doesn’t share) 80% of the churches are under 100 in weekly attendance.  Vaters describes the 250 mark as one which requires significant shifts in organizational and structural style – one of the big markers being everyone at church having the expectation of knowing (or recognizing) everyone else in the church.  [and to which I’d say the number is significantly lower than 250]

One of the big early points: Small isn’t necessarily bad (or good) – it’s just small.

The key isn’t size, it’s health, and the expectations and focus we work with as a small church.  There are some good reasons why a healthy church might remain a small church over time, and Vaters lists some examples:

  1. It focuses its energy on planting more small congregations instead of trying to grow a larger one
  2. They may serve a population that is inherently in transition, like students or those in retirement [or in the military]
  3. Or they may be a house church, looking to minister and serve with as ‘light’ a footprint as possible (i.e. without church mortgages/property / staff salaries / etc.
  4. Or they may focus on a specific section of the community which is smaller by its nature (i.e. language, ethnicity, or a group that feels disconnected from the broader community)
  5. Or they may be a countercultural community whose sense of faithfulness to the Gospel and calling positions them outside the mainstream of the context they are in.
  6. Or they may be an impoverished community.
  7. Or they may be a persecuted community (he’s mostly thinking globally here)
  8. Or the church may be in transition due to community factors
  9. Or the church may be intentionally small as part of its focus and identity.

These are not meant as excuses for every church being or staying small, but to point out that there can be unhealthy expectations of growth or sense of failure for not growing that are unrealistic given the focus or situation of the church.   Vater is refreshingly not interested in either slamming megachurches or small churches, but asking the question of what health and faithfulness looks like in the smaller church.

That said, he’s also not interested in giving small churches a pass when they’re not being healthy or faithful to their calling.

“Just because we’re small doesn’t give us an excuse to do ministry with anything less than Christ-honoring, people-serving, world-transforming passion.”

The reality is that a small church can’t operate like a big church.  So instead of trying to emulate the programs and processes of bigger churches, we need to innovate with what we have, to be who Jesus is calling us to be.

Personally, I resonated with much of what he’s said in the opening chapters of the book, on one level, resisting the mantra of the church growth movement that implies something is wrong if we’re not growing, and the danger to pastor and congregation of operating out of frustration and discouragement.   I found the examples of healthy reasons to be small encouraging, and a good reminder to be focused on our calling and purpose as a congregation of any size.  My critique at this point is that at least so far, Vaters hasn’t gotten into many specifics about healthy and unhealthy dynamics and structure.  There are good reasons to be small, and there are also cultural factors at work which are affecting churches of all sizes, requiring adaptive changes which can be challenging to envision and implement.  I’m interested to see how and if he engages some of these factors as the rest of the book unfolds.

To ponder:

  • In what ways may we be carrying (or trying to meet) expectations for our church that are unrealistic?

 

  • In light of our unchanging mission: To build one another up in faith (in Christ-likeness), and to share and show that active faith in the world, what God-given opportunities do you see in Memorial Baptist Church, in light of its place in the community, strengths, and values?

Balancing relationships and the goal.

Back in 2001, a number of folks from Memorial were part of a process called “New Church, New Century”, which challenged us to consider what it meant to engage our community with the Gospel of Jesus in ways that are both faithful and relevant.  This experience was catalytic in a number of ways that are still bearing fruit in our ministry together today.

What do we prioritize?  The goal or the relationship?

In one of our training seminars, I remember the speaker drawing a graph like this:  with the lower left hand corner representing minimum focus on both the goal (the mission/ the purpose / the task at hand), and minimum focus on relationship (the people we are connected with in the process).  Obviously, in that lower left hand corner, not a lot gets done either way.

Some leaders are goal oriented to the exclusion of relationships – they get a lot of things done, and sometimes a lot done quickly, but at a corresponding cost to the people involved.  Folks who are ‘my way or the highway’ could fit into this category.  In a church setting, this can be represented by a leader who is so sure of not only the mission, but their methods, that other voices are not heard, or people’s needs are not taken into account.  The end results might look impressive in the short term, but the costs in terms of those who are hurt in the process or who check out that otherwise might have stayed and contributed to the longer-term success of the mission are hidden costs to this style of leadership.

Other leaders maximize their emphasis on relationship; taking into account the needs and situations of the people around them, willing to jettison the goal before jeopardizing the relationships.  This can perpetuate a sense of peace and family connection – something highly valued in church settings – but it can be a false peace based on not ruffling anyone’s feathers.

What kind of leader was Jesus?

If we look to Jesus’ style of servant-leadership as a model for our own, we note that Jesus was very relationship driven; he had particular compassion for the weak, the wounded, the folks that didn’t seem like leader material.  He often slowed down his work or changed his plans in response to the needs around him (like when he wanted to take the disciples on a retreat to rest and regroup, and instead found himself surrounded by crowds of people who were spiritually and physically hungry, which became the setting for the feeding of the 5000).  At the same time, Jesus had a habit of saying disturbing things like: “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother…” [Matthew 10:34-39].  Jesus wasn’t advocating violence, or trying to break up families, but he knew that prioritizing the kingdom would disrupt relationships, not because he wanted that to happen, but because pursuing God’s kingdom inherently attracts opposition, from those who do not want it, or understand it (yet), and spiritual opposition.

So it seems natural that we aim for maximizing both the mission and the relationships in the process; that we pursue the work of the Kingdom of God, while making sure that people are healthy in the process, and engaged and energized as goals are achieved.

When push comes to shove…

That’s what we *aim* for —

But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen weird things happen in people’s lives right before launching into a new ministry or responding to something they strongly feel God calling them into.  Which could be its own conversation about the deep need for prayer and the reality of the spiritual dimension to what we do.  Or when we’re about to start a new initiative, and a key leader is suddenly unable or unwilling to fulfill their commitment to it.  What do we do? How do we navigate that tension in seeking to maximize our effectiveness in the goal, and bringing people along, which is the point, after all….

First, it’s important to know where we believe our tendency is on that graph, and to consider how we can compensate for that.  While I know which part of the graph I want to aim for, I also know that I have a tendency to want to keep relationships, if not at the cost of abandoning the goal, then willing to accept a slowing down.  Sometimes that’s good.  Other times, it indicates a failure to hold others accountable to the commitments they’ve made.

While it may not always be possible to maximize both the goal and the relationship in every situation, growing in our ability to do so means keeping the importance of both parts in view:

Evaluating the Goal

How critical is this?  Does it need to happen now?  What if it doesn’t happen at all?  How essential is the time factor?  Can we afford to go slow?

Discerning the Relationships

What is the nature of the relational challenge in relationship to achieving the goal?  Is it about understanding, or buy-in?  Is it an external circumstance?  Is it a communication issue?  Is this a matter of unrealistic expectations on the part of the leader, or a lack of follow-through on a commitment made?

What if it’s choosing between relationships?

One of the bigger challenges, especially concerning change, is when some are heavily invested in the goal, while others are resistant.  It can even boil down in the worst cases to someone holding the group hostage, saying (literally or figuratively) “either I get my way, or I take my ball and go home.”

In those cases, while we want to do everything we can to bring as many along as possible – which can mean slowing down at times – we do not have the authority to abandon the purpose to which God calls us together.  And that means being willing to let go of those who will not be a part of the journey.  That doesn’t mean we don’t care about them, or can’t continue to listen to and learn from them, but that we have to honor their ability to choose to share in the goal or not.  The same Jesus who would track down the one lost sheep while the ninety-nine were safe, told the disciples to shake the dust off of their sandals when a community would not receive the message of the Kingdom.

But when balanced well, we achieve the bigger goal, which is not just the mission itself, but of embodying Christ-like community in the process.

What have you learned about leadership and balancing goals and relationships in your own experience?  Share in the comments:

Leading means Following

Last week, we talked about the role of leadership as a facet of discipleship.  If the core definition of leadership is about motivating others in achieving a common goal; leadership isn’t about controlling the process as much as it is encouraging others toward that shared goal.  In that sense, any of us, whether we are gifted or called to specific leadership roles, can exercise leadership in encouraging each other forward into the mission and life Jesus is calling us into and has created us for.

It’s also been said that if you’re on the journey and find yourself alone, it’s not leading, it’s taking a walk.  If we’re not invested in others; whether working side by side, or building up and encouraging someone else, then we’re missing something vital.  In the scripture we’ll be looking at this week in worship, Mark 6:6b-13, we read: “[Jesus] called the twelve and began to send them out two by twoand gave them authority over the unclean spirits.”

This is a pivotal passage in the disciples’ journey with Jesus.  They are given a mission and authority to carry it out.

Two pieces of this stand out to me in our discussion of leadership:

The purpose of Kingdom leadership is not personal glory, but to point people to God.  Leadership in the service of God; whether formal or informal, involves us, includes us, but ultimately isn’t about us.   We see this in the Gospel of John, 3:25 and following, when John the Baptist is told that the crowds of people that used to seek him out to hear about the Kingdom of God and be baptized are now flocking to Jesus.  John’s response is that this is precisely the point, his role was to prepare the way, and now that Jesus is here “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

  • This is important to keep in mind when we feel successful in our roles, when kudos and adulation come in (and note that this is one of the temptations for trying to do all the work ourselves), are we becoming the focal point?  Do we feel indispensable?

This leads to the bigger point I wanted to get to this week about leadership:

Leadership in the Kingdom isn’t about having everyone follow us, but that we follow God together.

To be an effective leader in the Kingdom of God means that we make following God the central priority.  It sounds painfully obvious – but the subtle trap is that we can come to see leadership be about us at the top, giving lip service to accountability to God or to others, doing things in God’s name, but calling all the shots ourselves.

Following God means seeking God’s way and timing over our own priorities.  It means listening in prayer as much as speaking.  It means seeking out others who are wise, who are farther along in the journey of faith, and hearing them.  It means being accountable to the community we are a part of together.

  • In what ways does God actually exercise authority in your life?
  • How do we seek out God’s instruction for us in different situations?
  • How are we realistically accountable to the Christians around us as we exercise our leadership and live out our part in Christian community?

 

Leadership and discipleship

If we want a ‘textbook’ definition of leadership, it’s not hard to find – a quick google search will come up with lots of definitions which circle around the idea of motivating people into achieving a common goal.

Notice that definition doesn’t have anything necessarily to do with specific positions within an organization, just the function of someone who can help people work together for a purpose.

When it comes to leadership in the context of understanding what God calls us into together, that’s an important thing to keep in mind.  Because when we think of ‘church leadership’ or ‘ministry leadership’, we might tend to think of the Pastor, whoever she or he may be.  Or of church officers, people elected to a leadership function with the church, like the Diaconate chair or the Church Moderator, or members of those leadership teams.  We might even think of people who have agreed to lead a ministry team or class or small group.

Those are all important roles, and this post and series is addressed to them.  But leadership isn’t just about the few people who have “official” positions – it is about living out of our calling as followers of Jesus.

What happens when we think of leadership through the lens of discipleship that Jesus calls his followers to?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” – Matthew 28:19-20

“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8b

Leadership then takes on the overarching question of how we encourage one another in living out this calling together.  As Paul puts it in his letter to Christians in Thessalonica: “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.” – 1 Thess. 5:12

To be sure, there are specific leadership tasks within that overarching mission, roles we take on within the church family in living it out.  But leadership in the larger sense is simply exercising the gifts that we have that encourage others further into that shared mission.  We don’t have to be elected by the church to exercise that kind of leadership.  In 1 Peters, we read that we are a ‘holy priesthood’ (1 Peter 2:5, 2:9) — whether we feel called or gifted to specific roles of leadership, we all have ways that we can lean into the kind of leadership that lifts others up as we live as disciples bearing witness to Jesus together.

The point– showing leadership is something we are all capable of, and all called to.  It will look different in all of us, but ultimately – our individual styles of leadership are to be shaped by the example (and empowering!) of Jesus, who described greatness in God’s kingdom as serving others: who are we lifting up, empowering, helping to live out their identity and calling as God’s children and as disciples of Christ.

My question for us to ponder this week is to think about how we are exercising leadership in our lives?

  • What formal leadership roles do you have?
  • What is the goal or purpose of your leadership in that role?
  • What informal ways has God positioned you to exercise the kind of leadership that encourages or mobilizes others to live out God’s calling in their life?

(But wait — we all know what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen; isn’t it disingenuous to suggest that we’re all capable of leading?) — tune in next week for the flip side of that leadership coin.

 

 

 

Take Two

As we begin this series of weekly reflections for this shared journey of ministry we’re on, one of the aspects of ministry and leadership that comes quickly to mind is the importance of the people we share that ministry with.

It’s about connections

Leadership isn’t about what we can accomplish alone, it’s about who we are connected with, and how our ministry gets accomplished together.  While being a leader means that we take responsibility and accountability for making sure the part of ministry entrusted to us is done, and done well, leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and it doesn’t mean we have to do it all ourselves.

When Jesus sent out the disciples to proclaim the kingdom and heal the sick, (Matthew 10:5-15, Luke 9:1-6, 10:1-12, Mark 6:6-13), he sent them out in pairs.  When Paul went on his missionary work, we read in Acts 13:1 that the Holy Spirit directed the church to set apart Paul and Barnabas for the mission of proclaiming Christ and planting churches throughout Asia Minor.  Later on Paul and Silas continued the mission in what we know today as Greece.  Along the way, they were joined by people like John Mark, Luke, Timothy and others.

Leadership isn’t about getting people to follow us; it’s about bringing people together in a shared purpose where together we accomplish the mission God has for us.

What does your network of ministry look like?  

Who are the people you look to for advice?  Who are your supports along the way?  Who is part of your team in accomplishing the work?

Speaking personally, I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today, personally or professionally, without being part of multiple networks of colleagues, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ.  My ministry network includes the leaders and members of Memorial Baptist Church, other clergy leaders across the community and the American Baptist denomination.  There are people I rely on to bounce ideas off of, to talk through the best way to approach situations, to work collaboratively on a shared ministry objective, and who I rely on for perspectives outside my own.

How are we investing in the people around us?  What are you doing to bring out the best in them, creating space for them to use their gifts?

It’s often true that the easiest and quickest way to get something done is to do it ourselves.  But part of leading isn’t about efficiency as much as it is building and equipping the people around us to grow in their gifts.   Sometimes that means we need to take time to teach and mentor others.  Sometimes it means being humble enough to let someone try things their way, even if it wouldn’t be the way we’d choose.  Jesus models this in how he spent time with the disciples and entrusted them with God’s mission – notably before they were even fully aware of who he was!  The mission was also the training ground for discipleship.

How are we learning from the people we partner with and on our team?  

An old joke goes that a sergeant on the run outranks a lieutenant who has no idea what is going on.  As we partner in ministry, we recognize that not only are we called and gifted for ministry, but others are as well – and we can learn from them.

Part of working together as a team means taking time to come together and evaluate how things went.  

What worked?  What didn’t?  What questions got raised by being on the mission together – unexpected challenges, God-sightings, insights and frustrations.  Processing these things together is an essential part of growing personally as well as being more effective in ministry.  Again drawing from the story where Jesus sends out the disciples, we remember that Jesus also took time to ‘debrief’ them when they returned.  Their experience in ministry became the springboard for deeper personal growth and the next step in their work together.

Blessings on the Journey – Pastor Brian

 

 

(Photo of the Mosaic at the Church of Holy Perfection in Nicosia, Cyprus by Молли – used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license)