Take this pop quiz: First, name all the fruits of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22. Next question: Which ones would you say you have in abundance? Which ones would you say you need a little more of? Final question: How about attending a party where you celebrate the ones you have and meet people who could help you grow the others?
Congregants participate in the “Celebration of Fruits” service that combined eight church clusters that Spirit and Truth helped to plant over the past ten years.
That’s what eight church “clusters” of Spirit and Truth Fellowship, Philadelphia, Penn., did. The Christian Reformed parent church hosted a “Celebration of Fruits” service on May 19. “We could all rejoice in the fruit the Lord has added to his kingdom through the combined efforts of our cluster,” said Dr. Susan Baker, ministry coordinator, treasurer, and co-director of the church.
Over the past 10 years, Spirit and Truth helped launch the eight churches in multiethnic, low-income neighborhoods. Before beginning a church plant, each pastor goes through a one-year training with Spirit and Truth. “First,” explains Baker “their gifts and desires are recognized and approved by the elders of the church.” After that, each planter starts by leading a small group monitored by Dr. Manny Ortiz. Ortiz is the pastor and co-director of the CRC Philadelphia Initiative for Church Planting.
Once a church is planted, Spirit and Truth continues to invest in its clusters through regular meetings. The parent church meets with its clusters for “teaching, sharing of resources, and learning about new ministries in which they can all participate,” said Baker.
The Celebration of Fruits showcased what all eight churches have been doing in urban Philadelphia. “Members of the worship team and the choir from all the churches participated. Every pastor had a responsibility. There were four testimonies of what the Lord had been doing to and through them and their churches.”
The event also served as a re-commissioning of the pastors as they continued their work. Dr. Ortiz charged the churches “to be devoted to mission, to spiritual growth, to showing beauty, and to serving together.”