Bishop Robert Schnase Outlines 'Practices of Fruitful Congregations' at Thursday Afternoon Plenary

June 17, 2010

Bishop Robert Schnase of the Missouri Conference, author of Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations, outlined those practices and what churches' unspoken messages say about them, during the Thursday afternoon plenary session of the California-Nevada Annual Conference Session.

Churches that practice Radical Hospitality invest as much energy, time, and prayer for those who are not a part of the church as for those who are a part of the church, he said, noting that "radical" means "radiating out," and saying churches which practice radical hospitality push themselves to do more.

In Passionate Worship there is an air of anticipation. Whether the style is traditional or contemporary is not important: What is important is discerning what God intends to say to us through the music, the prayer, and the message. "It is in worship that we begin to see the world through God's eyes," the bishop said.

We learn in community because the essence of faith only can be learned in "the rough-and-tumble challenge of getting along with other people, of knowing what it is to be loved, and to forgive and to be forgiven." Just two people can start an effective Bible study - sometimes we make it too difficult, he said, in explaining the concept of Intentional Faith Development.

The bishop said Mission and Service are the things we do to make a positive difference in the lives of others, whether or not they ever will be a part of our congregation, "which we do because Christ asks us to do it, because He demands that we do it. We do it to follow Christ." Adding "Risk-Taking" to the mix takes that mission and service beyond our comfort zones. It means loving those for whom it is not natural, for whom it's a stretch, a challenge - but which we do out of allegiance to Christ and His Way, the bishop explained.

Even stories we don't normally associate with giving are stories of Extravagant Generosity, the bishop said, using the story of Zacchaeus as an example. Our affluence shapes us more than our faith, he said: Our issues are not financial, they are spiritual.

If you missed the live broadcast, watch for the video of Bishop Shnase's address to be uploaded to REEL Witness, the video library on the Conference website. You'll find the link to REEL Witness under the "Areas of Interest" menu on the right-hand side of the Home Page.

Bishop Schnase will speak again at the 8 p.m. plenary session today, and will "take the conversation to a much deeper level," he said. Please join our live coverage to hear him LIVE.

When new material from the Annual Conference Session is uploaded, a notice will be posted on the 2010 Annual Conference Session News page (a sub-page of "2010 Annual Conference Session." You'll find the link to it on the right side of the main 2010 Annual Conference Session page).