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A Letter from the Associate Pastor to Presbytery

Missional Church Thinking:  Create a “Holy Virus” in Your Church!
November 10, 2011

Many times there is a disconnect between the direction we believe God desires our church to head and the actual implementation of any steps toward that new future.  Church leaders see ministry possibilities but have little success in getting any movement or action within the “body” (i.e. congregation).  One way of introducing missional thinking into your congregation is to create “holy viruses.”  A virus is an infectious agent that takes up residence in the cells of the host. Some viruses actually attach themselves to the DNA of the host and significantly change the entire organism.  A bad virus, of course, makes us sick.  We want to remove it from our system before it spreads.   A “holy virus” on the other hand is a spiritual infection that comes from God.  It invades the host church, slowly attaching itself to the DNA of the congregation until the entire “body” begins to think and act differently.  “Holy viruses” move a congregation toward greater aliveness, health and, over time, into a transformed place.

Following are a few ways you might introduce “holy viruses” into your congregation:

So often we repeat only what we know.  We try a new thing, only by using the same old methods of “rolling out” a program expecting EVERYONE to come. We fall into old patterns of behaving and doing mission, because we have not tried new “actions” and “engagements” into areas of God’s leading.  Sometimes we give up too soon before the holy virus has had a chance to gain a strong foothold in the body.

Are you starting “holy viruses” in your church?  Are you asking God to guide you into new thinking and acting that can, over time, truly transform your congregation and its way of relating to the world?  Are the “viruses” that are beginning in your church in line with God’s desired future for your church? Jesus Christ infected the world with his grace.  He calls us to be “holy viruses” that bring health, healing and salvation to the world.  How are you spreading the infection of his love, mercy and grace?

In Christ,


The Rev. Dr. Douglas E. Portz, Associate Pastor to Pittsburgh Presbytery


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