BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD
There’s nothing like ringing in the new year with great ambitions to serve God. We resolve to join and actively take part in church ministries, maybe lead a small group, or even commit to missions in some far and uncomfortable sounding place in the world. But on a recent visit back to our church, one of our long-term missionaries poignantly shared that sometimes we are so intent on going above and beyond for God that we neglect to serve the very communities we live in.
The Love Herndon initiative seeks to remedy just that with local outreach that inspires us to put faith on the move. Jackie Kwon breaks it down for us four-square with a double barrel approach in blessing the city of Herndon: through loving service and radical hospitality. In Genesis 12:2, we encounter a God of all people who through Abraham, blesses us to be a blessing. So this isn’t necessarily a new concept but a mission of old where we go beyond the walls of Open Door to become persons of peace and emulate a God who inexorably, relentlessly, and overwhelmingly Loves Herndon.
Retreat season was in full swing towards the end of last year as we join the women of ODPC on their fall retreat, “Women Mentoring Women”. Traveling from New York City, invited guest speaker Rev. Christine Lee graciously shares with us her opening retreat sermon ‘The Risk of Worship’. Through her, we revisit the story of the woman with the alabaster jar and start with identifying our true north, the heart of worship.
Speaking of retreats, Shine Kang reports back on a more recent excursion with ODPC youth. As a former youth group member herself, Shine and her fellow counselors return to their native stomping grounds at Rockbridge Alum Springs to rally youth on the importance of prayer. In a surprising twist, both youth group and counselors alike were mobilized to pray for persecuted nations, health and well-being, and their own spiritual journeys with God. Sounds like the 2015 Winter Retreat was indeed, an “all access” pray-fest.
Earlier that same December, Pastor Bill Kynes prefaced his exhortation sermon to the elders with a question: Are Christian leaders born or made? We won’t spoil it for you just yet but the answer is decidedly more complex than expected. Instead, Pastor Kynes points out how Christian leadership is defined by godly character. We explore some of that character here by introducing our new elders Jim Lee and Samuel Kwon. Perhaps better known to us as just ‘Sam’ and ‘Jimbo’, we are pleased to share their lives and vision for our church as they are inducted into formal eldership.
In “The Small Group Connection”, Angela Kim talks small fish, big pond and interviews small group leaders Daniel Jang and Jennifer Tanaka. She chronicles their journey from ODPC acolytes to full-fledged small group members and offers seven types of relationships that can be formed inside a small group.
And last but certainly not least, Aeda Chung casts our Fruitful Vineyard Ministry (FVM) as a kind of first response system that sows the seed of faith for fruitful lives. Newly minted FVM director Jeanie Chang also encourages Fruitful Vineyard parents to join in the effort to watch our seedlings grow, and sprout into a marvelous faith.
This year has started ambitiously enough for those of us at The Threshold. But as we were preparing for our first issue of 2016, we saw a common theme emerge on the power of community. Open door living means that as much as we invite grace into our lives, we extend that same grace to others and share the gift of Christ to those who are both so close, and yet so far. God draws us into an obedience where healthy group dynamics can lead to a maturity of faith and we find that community is not so much to be learned, but tried. So whether it be through sowing seeds, volunteering for local outreach, serving as mentors and retreat counselors, leading small groups, or shepherding the flock, we submit to our role as a holy priesthood who through Jesus ministers and mediates our brothers and sisters to God.
Happy New Year ODPC!