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Churches 101: What are the 'Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations'?

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations
 Bishop Schnase's book is emphasis for Tenn. Conference.

United Methodist bishop Robert Schnase has written a popular book about strengthening local churches. Many congregations and regional conferences have used this as the basis for rethinking how they do ministry. The Tennessee Annual Conference is no different. For the past couple years it has been going through each of the Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations and taking time with guests speakers to reflect on them.

These five practices are:

Radical hospitality
Passionate worship
Intentional faith development
Risk-taking mission and service
Extravagant generosity

Schnase says that the point in having these five practices is to "give congregations a common language." A common language is important to conveying that message. As the leader of the Missouri Episcopal Area, Schnase wanted to help the congregations and pastors in his area come together to bear more fruit for God. Thus he wrote this book, which was published by the Nashville-based Abingdon Press, for the entire church.

Five practices are simple enough for church members to get their heads around and still have choice as to what areas they could best focus on. The bishop further goes on to say that the adjectives used with each of these practices could be interchanged. Yet, the important thing is that one should take a step beyond what is typical. Hospitality, worship, faith development, mission and service and generosity are all important; however, congregations need to take them to a higher level where the emphases become much more obvious in our lives.

Please join me the conversation here, and on the Deacon's Word blog, as we explore each of these practices of fruitful congregations. Feel free to check out Bishop Schnase's own Five Practices blog. The five practices are not only being studied at the conference level, the Nashville District is also including them in local training. Furthermore, individual congregations are using the book to explore how effective they are in ministry.

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