At our congregational update on Sunday, it was standing room only at our Locust Street midweek Campus. After a powerful morning of worship and reconnecting with each other over coffee and homemade baked-goods, and then celebrating our children who memorized Psalm 23 at the Pastor’s Prize Popsicle Party (try saying that 5 times fast), we gathered again at the open house at Locust Street.
I personally enjoyed seeing our trustees and staff give tours of the building and welcoming you into my office. And I know your tour guides shared that we are bursting at the seams at our interim campus, using every space every day of the week.
During the congregational update, it was very inspiring to tell the story again of God’s faithfulness and your boldness in this season of our church. There were some “goosebump” moments listening to Tom Goeman’s mini-concert on the organ and hearing him lead us in the great hymn, The Church’s One Foundation. And taking our picture together will always be a fun memory.
I shared a story Tom Gillespie, the former president of Princeton Theological Seminary, my mentor and dear friend tells. There was a tourist visiting our nation’s capital with a taxi driver. They rode past the National Archives Building, where you can find among other documents the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. He explained…”It is our nation’s tradition – the living faith of dead people.” Inscribed high on the wall are these words: “The Past is Prologue.” After the taxi driver read these words out loud, the tourist asked what those words meant, and he answered, “It means, ‘You ain’t seen nothing’ yet.'”
God has had his hand on you and this entire congregation for generations. And I can’t wait to see what’s next. I know we ain’t seen nothing yet. Over the next months, we will be dreaming God-sized dreams and prayerfully asking God to show us the next steps. At the meeting, we introduced the chairs of each of our first committees appointed for the strategic planning process. Dave Post and Joe Workman are leading our Capital Campaign Team. Jim Harbaugh is leading our Property Acquisition Team. Steve Follett and Jeff Mohler are leading our Master Planning Team.
These teams are already at work. This past week, we had an all-day work session with our Capital Campaign consultant, which included meeting with the Session. And yesterday morning, the Master Planning Team had its first meeting. Along with Steve and Jim and myself, the other members of the Master Planning team are Gary Etter, Jim Harbaugh, Scott Kalamar, Meredith McCambridge, Andy McIntyre, George Mowrer, Amy Negron, Cathy Perna, Charlie Walter, and Ben Whitby. I am very excited about this team and both their gifts and their willingness to be a part of this exciting process.
We have an incredibly gifted and generous congregation. I know God has put us all together for “such a time as this.” And I know that it will take all of us to live into our exciting future. The Master Planning Team will be working to select an architect to lead us through the master planning process that will engage YOU in the process. There will be opportunities through surveys, focus groups, and other teams that will be formed for you to get involved. Stay tuned.
What can you do right now to be a part? Here are 3 specific ways you can jump into the planning.
1) Pray. Commit to praying every day for God to be at work in our congregation and in our vision and strategic planning.
2) Mark your calendar now to be a part of a “40 days group”. From Oct 7 – Nov 11, we are praying that over 500 of us will be in a group. These groups will be asking the question that is the heart (and the name) of Rick Warren’s best-selling book — What In the World Am I Here For? It’s an updated version of The Purpose-Driven Life. We have talked to existing groups and are asking them to meet for six consecutive weeks using this curriculum. For those not in a group, we will be offering Sunday and Monday evening groups at the Locust Street Campus. Childcare will be available. Stay tuned for more information. As we ask the question, what in the world am I here for, we will be asking together the question, what in the world is our church here for? What is our unique calling to the Valley? How will we be a part of God’s plan- inviting all people to find and follow Jesus?
3) Be there on Sundays. Every Sunday, we will continue to grow together as a community as we worship and lift up the name of Jesus. Our worship will keep us strong and connected and growing together. You will hear more about opportunities to be a part of the process and will hear the vision unfold.
This week will be no different. I have been pleased that our worship and our giving has continued to be strong throughout the Summer. This Sunday, you won’t want to miss Dr. Mark Crumpler wrapping up our Psalm 23 Series: Psalm for the Summer.
Such a long letter this week… but God is at work. Indeed, the past is prologue.
Your pastor and friend,