For the past few years, leadership team representatives from the four congregations in Connecticut have gathered to get to know, fellowship with and learn from each other.
On Saturday, May 19, staff, elders, wives and leadership couples from our state met in New Britain, Connecticut, to consider how we can all become more like the high standard Jesus has called us to. Too often we just want to be a bit better than most congregations. Occasionally, we may want to be the best International Church of Christ possible. However, God’s call is to be like the church of the Bible. He calls us to His standard and that is quite a privilege and challenge.
The morning of the workshop began with great singing, fellowship and prayer. Jeff Schachinger from Southern Connecticut kicked off the Biblical preaching with his keynote address on “Becoming the Church of the Bible.”
Following that, Dennis and Marquetta Wilson, also from Southern, shared how discipling can and should work if we are following the New Covenant manual. Then Lincoln Gifford, Hartford elder, spoke on “Becoming Like the Church of the Bible in Helping the Poor and Needy.” He powerfully shared the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus and called us to open our eyes to the ones in need around us every day.
Then the men and women split. The men convened to the upper room and heard Felipe Bascones (Storrs) and Rick Maule (Groton) talk about “Impacting Men.” Below in the auditorium the women heard a similar speech on “Impacting Women” from Brandyn Bascones (Storrs) and Florence Schachinger (Southern CT).
The lunch break was a great time to eat a catered, West Indian meal (thanks to Hartford’s Dorothy Salesman!) and mix up the tables so friendships could be deepened. We talked about the lessons, what is going on in our churches and dreamed about the future together.
The rapidly moving day then concluded with an hour long discussion on “Becoming the Church of the Bible in Mission.” First Wilf Kalbach from Groton passionately spoke of being raised as a missionary child in the Philippines and his heart to go to all nations. Then Hartford’s Jimmy Allen called us to do it as a “we” and an “us” together. The day’s last few minutes were spent viewing the Jim Blough Funding Model for planting churches in New England. Questions were asked. Information was passed along. Practical issues regarding personnel and finances needed were laid out.
And the day was done.
Each time together bonds us a bit deeper. Over 30 disciples from all across our state spent a day united in purpose and heart. As the scripture said at the bottom of our itinerary, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them (Genesis 11:6 ).
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