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Forming a Community of the Spirit: Hospitality, Fellowship, and Nurture, Part 2 of 2, by Steven M. Fettke

What is the true focus of this congregation? What is the true focus of my life of faith?

If lay and professional church leaders would take my proposals for loving hospitality, Spirit-enabled fellowship, and a nurturing community seriously, they might have to consider first the hidden core values of the congregation as they try to “melt the iceberg” of resistance to change. The values I am proposing are most certainly worth the effort.

Such a faith community carefully formed with the values I am proposing just might provide the right environment for implementing successfully the mission of the local church as understood in the Pentecostal tradition: proclaiming the gospel to the local community. If effective gospel witness should occur and people were to respond to the gospel, it would be important to have a supportive community for new converts to the faith.

In concluding this chapter, I wish to emphasize just how important a solid, functioning, nurturing, loving community is. From such a loving and healthy environment, well-balanced and more mature believers will emerge to make significant impacts in their various workplaces in the local community. Like children reared in a loving and nurturing family who become well-adjusted and productive adults, believers in the local church—the family of God—can exemplify the love and nurture learned in their faith communities, becoming effective ministers for Christ in public schools, the business world, the factory, and government services.55





40 Thomas G. Long. “Preaching in the Middle of a Saintly Conversation.” Journal for Preachers 18/2 (Lent 1995): 20-21.

41 Burton Cooper. “The Disabled God” Theology Today 49 (July 1992): 176.

42 Perry Tanksley. I Call You Friend. (Jackson, MS.: Allgood Books, 1972): 11.

43 See chapter 4 under the subhead, “Creation and Imago Dei: Who or What are the ‘Embodied’ Made in God’s Image?” where the text describes L’Arche communities begun by Jean Vanier. See also Carolyn Whitney-Brown, Jean Vanier: Essential Writings in Modern Spiritual Masters Series, Robert Ellsberg, ed. (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2008), 54.

44 Arthur Boers. “What Henri Nouwen Found at Daybreak” Christianity Today 38, no. 11 (October 3, 1994): 31.

45 Ibid.

46 Martin Luther. “Lectures on Galatians” Luther’s Works vol. 27 (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1957):  393.

47 Burton Cooper “The Disabled God” Theology Today 49 (July 1992): 173-174.

48 Eugene Peterson.  Where Your Treasure Is:  Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community. (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1989).

49 Ibid, 103.

50 Ibid, 108. Peterson’s summary comments on his study of Psalm 77:13-20.

51 Angie Ward. “Discerning Your Church’s Hidden Core Values.” (January 17, 2005): 1-2.

52 Ibid.

53 Ibid.

54 Ibid.

55 See Robert Banks, “The Community as a Loving Family” Paul’s Idea of Community, Revised Edition (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1994): 46-57.


This chapter is from Steven M. Fettke, God’s Empowered People: A Pentecostal Theology of the Laity (Wipf & Stock 2011). Used with permission.


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Category: Ministry, Spring 2012

About the Author: Steven M. Fettke, M.Div. (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), Th.M., D.Min. (Columbia Theological Seminary), is Professor of Religion at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. He was awarded the Delta Alpha Distinguished Educator Award by the Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education in 2009. He is the author of Messages to a Nation in Crisis: An Introduction to the Prophecy of Jeremiah (1982).

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