Several weeks ago, the Long-Range Committee invited me to attend a “Vision 2020” event at our church. In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect, who would be there, or little else. Every day, over the past four weeks, I received an email from them with specific things to pray for, along with an Oswald Chambers devotion so I knew something was stirring but not many details had been shared.
This morning, my questions were answered. The pastor, staff, deacons, teachers and other leaders (over 100) filled the activity room. We broke out into small sessions, learned a little about the last ten years of our church, and more importantly, prayed and shared what we felt the Lord may be leading us to do corporately over the next ten years.
After rotating through different sessions, we all came back together and had the opportunity to see the whiteboards of the other groups. It was exciting to see how our ideas and burdens matched up across the boards. The word “missional” was represented in many different and creative ways.
At lunch, I had the pleasure of sitting next to an older gentleman who quietly shared with me how he was glad to hear the desire for diversity to grow within our church. He hung his head a little lower as he went on to share that “way back when”, when he first began attending FBC over 50 years ago, there was a plan in place for the pastor to “close in prayer” if an African American wandered into their congregation. Wow. How sad.
His story birthed within me an appreciation for all the generations represented in the room who had come together for one common purpose…to seek God – His desires, His ways, and especially His heart.
One of the most encouraging moments of the day? Two men in the room – one a deacon and the other on the long-range planning committee — who had once worshipped with us at CRCC are now serving in leadership roles at FBC. Both shared how refreshing it was to be part of a church with a strong doctrinal foundation. It’s very “freeing” in the sense that everything else simply flows from that foundation.
So, while I knew very little as to what I could expect during the 5 hour event today, I walked away filled with unexpected blessings and a new appreciation for my church and its leadership.