By now, if you’re on our mailing list, you have received our letter outlining our plan to undertake an intentional process for the next year to re-imagine ministry together for a new era in our church. (Missed that letter & outline? Read it here).
This discernment process will help us to pray about, deliberate about, and plan our ministries for the future. We will be guided by a coach, Mark Tidsworth of Pinnacle Leadership Associates.
Mark will lead us at our ReShape conference on Saturday, March 14th (have you signed up? Signups are due February 28th!), and then will visit with our church on Sunday at 9:45 and 11AM to outline the Making the Shift process following the introductions at ReShape. Mark will also be visiting our sister churches, Starling Avenue Baptist and Chatham Heights Baptist that day, and we will conclude the day with our leadership teams meeting to covenanting to move forward together in Making the Shift in a Community of Partnership.
We also ask you to pray – for the 40 days of Lent – to prepare your hearts for these conversations. There are prayer guides in the Narthex for you to pick up. Please take them home and commit to praying for this process each day.
We ask you to join with us when we gather to learn on March14th at ReShape, at our Spiritual Enrichment Weekend (date TBD), in our small group studies (May-July), and as we finalize our ministerial plans to implement for the rest of our covenant year together.
And what exactly do we hope to accomplish in all this dreaming, discerning, and implementation?
Mark recently wrote a blog post about what Pinnacle hopes to accomplish with the churches it serves, and I think he explains it well:
We are focused on helping churches live into genuine, authentic expressions of church rather than institutional protectionism. When a church is looking for help for how to increase its membership and budget, we may not be the best group with whom to partner. When a church simply wants to hang onto the members it currently has, we don’t have a service for that. When a church wants to be a really good 20th century church who does what it did in its heyday again, we can refer you to others who might help you with that. We believe your church’s opportunity is in forgetting itself, in laying down its self-centeredness, and taking up the call to follow Jesus into the world. It’s when we are too busy being the Body of Christ to worry about protecting that to which we’ve grown accustomed, that we come alive as churches. Anything less probably won’t sustain us in this challenging Postmodern context.
We accept our clients where they are, while simultaneously challenging them to keep moving. Not every church is ready for transformation…to the same degree. So instead of a one-size-fits-all, we personalize our approaches to congregational transformation. Through careful listening and learning, we immerse ourselves in the unfolding story of a church, discerning its themes and character, followed by designing next steps. This is what our Transforming Church Initiatives are about. Starting where one is, accepting and affirming, followed by inviting toward the next steps of this sacred journey.
I think Mark’s on the money about what church is, or ought to be. I’m getting excited about Making the Shift at First Baptist, and I’m excited to do so alongside dedicated Christians and friends at our sister churches. Sign up, join in, and don’t miss out on the opportunities we have to dream with God about our ministry from now and into the future.