By Pastor Tracey Leslie
In the spring of 1990, I invited my neighbor in the apartment next to mine to go on an evening grocery store run. I didn’t know my neighbor well. But it was seminary housing; he was a nice young man and we’d begun to talk together on the way to class. Besides, I lived in the city and it was late and I didn’t want to drive through a dicey part of town that late by myself. He agreed. We didn’t know one another well, but on the way back to seminary I made some off-the-cuff remark about the distant future (that I no longer recall) and my neighbor (named Britt) said to me, “Oh, you don’t know; I could significantly alter your future.”
As a matter of fact, he did… Although I would have hardly imagined on that evening so long ago how our lives would intertwine. August 31 marked our 26th wedding anniversary!
As many of you have no doubt noticed, when I preach or teach, I often emphasize that Christianity is not a belief system; but rather a relational system. Being a Christian is about developing and growing a relationship with God through Christ AND – of equal importance – developing authentic, caring relationships with others.
In the spring of 2015, Trinity’s Church Council officially approved our current vision statement: “Growing in love and service through relationships with God and community.” Relationships are what Christianity is about. Relationships are what Trinity must be about.
Now that we have reduced our facilities (and the time, money and energy needed for their upkeep), we can focus more time and energy on building relationships. This September, Trinity will be launching several new small group study and fellowship opportunities as a part of our Ready Set Grow program. Jeremy Grossman has written a great article about the value of discipleship and a new study he will be leading on Sunday mornings. Check it out on page 6. Monday evenings will also be time set aside for group gatherings. Morris DuBose continues meeting with his Story Group as a critical component of our Ready Set Grow process. Beginning September 18, Abby Lietz Agee will be leading a women’s study on the first and third Mondays of each month. Also beginning Sept. 18, Terry Stamper will be leading a men’s study every third Monday of the month. Kristi Evans will resume her once monthly ladies gathering in her home on the 4th Monday of each month. And Ruth Smith, our Community Engagement Coach will be leading studies on the second Monday of each month to bring together members of our church and community to examine critical issues about building stronger communities and addressing community needs.
Nothing changes our lives as dramatically as relationships. I hope you’ve found value in the relationships you’ve formed at Trinity whether you’ve been here several months or decades. I hope you’ll take a step
toward deepening those relationships by engaging in a small group study this fall. Also, keep in mind that small group study is an ideal way to invite friends to check out Trinity. What better gift could you offer a friend than the opportunity to experience hospitality, make new friends, and deepen their relationship with Christ and others?
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