Four Essentials for Church: Worship, Formation, Witness, Relationships

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To be the church we respond to Christ through worship, Christian formation, mission/witness and relationships with one another.  Folks who study and lead the church theologically either encourage us in these four essentials or warn us that lacking one or another we cease to be church.  It’s both that simple and that complex.  Last month we opened a CMC survey focused on the first two essentials:  worship and Christian formation.  Thanks for participating!  From 100 CMCers we learned that 78% of respondents are somewhat engaged or very engaged in the worship life of CMC, especially valuing the scripture & meditation, artwork, everyday ministry interviews, and music–both ensembles and congregational singing that are part of weekly worship videos.  53% of respondents indicated that you’re somewhat engaged or very engaged in CMC’s offerings in Christian formation for adults, youth and children.  Where are you?  

Since the survey data itself is limited, and since few CMCers indicated that they have new or different contributions that they are able to make at this time to our worship or Christian formation plans, pastoral staff has taken the counsel and recommendations from the survey, including the tensions, preferences and conditions that cannot be resolved in any one class, program worship service, or congregation and made a few commitments for 2021.  1) We’re aiming to increase the frequency of worship elements such as passing the peace and Everyday Ministry interviews that connect us personally with one another.  2) We’re planning for a transition in 2021 when more of us can gather safely at 70 South High St. and remain connected with folks at a distance as we worship together in the name of Christ.  3) We’re continuing to provide a variety of Christian formation experiences for all ages.  

What about those other essentials?  Building relationships with one another is essential for being the church–whether or not we’re living through a pandemic.  While CMC provides some platforms and programs for relationships to flourish, as with the other church essentials, much depends on our individual engagement.  In this New Year here are some simple ways that you can build relationships with other CMCers:  

  • make a phone call to someone you’re missing–sit down and enjoy the conversation
  • write a note (digital or snail mail) to someone who might need encouragement 
  • pull your small group together in a safe way–for prayer, for fun, for catching up
  • participate in a pastoral conversation circle…or suggest one that we need to schedule
  • attend a 9:30 virtual coffee time on a Sunday morning–it’s only 30 minutes!
  • ask a CMCer you trust for advice or counsel about something small or something significant
  • share a good memory or experience of CMC with someone who was part of it

Look for upcoming CMC Newsletter articles related to these four essentials and consider how you yourself are engaging the life of the church in the New Year.

-Pastoral Team

Community Mennonite Church
70 South High Street Harrisonburg, VA