We’ve been talking about the future at FCC for quite a long time. We started in January 2016 with a series of prayer meetings that lasted through the spring. Then last summer, we convened four mission team meetings meant to stir up our imaginations for new possibilities.
As it often does, all that “stirring up” provoked some difficult conflict. We wanted to work through that conflict deliberately, so last fall we put our mission process on hold to focus on resolving those issues at the board level. By June, it became clear that those disagreements weren’t going to be resolved, and as a result, some of our members made the decision to leave FCC.
I know these kinds of changes can be very painful, but I want you to know they are normal and even necessary. Every organization that undergoes change experiences conflict. Just like you and I must embrace spiritual death in order to be re-born, churches must embrace their own kind of death in order to be transformed.
Turning a Corner
As you know, starting July 1st, we have a new slate of Board officers that combines several longtime members with a few new ones. And with that changeover, we seem to have turned the corner on our ability to move forward. On Sunday evening, Sep 27th, sixteen of you gathered in the fellowship hall to further refine our values, identify our gifts, and brainstorm possibilities for the future.
I want you to know that I have been to many good gatherings at FCC, but the September 27th mission gathering was the single most positive, energetic gathering I’ve ever participated in at our church. Those who joined were excited and hopeful! Everyone felt free to contribute ideas and explore possibilities. It was genuinely fun. Afterwards, a visiting minister who sat-in on the meeting, said to me, “I am so impressed by how open-hearted and open-minded these people are!”
Completing this Portion of our Journey
We are now approaching the final leg of our journey to discern the future at FCC, and things are going to start happening more quickly. Over the next two months, I will be working with the Board to integrate the findings of our year-and-a-half-long mission process. Based on all the information we’ve gathered, I will be proposing a “strategic commitment” to the Board by no later than October 11th. It will seek to clearly identify our guiding values, articulate our distinctive mission, establish specific priorities, and set some initial goals. Once approved by the Board, we will share it with the wider congregation for feedback, by no later than November 19th.
This strategic commitment will be our bridge to the future at First Christian Church for the next 3-5 years. It will guide our decisions about how to focus our efforts, our time, and our money to become the kind of church we believe God has called us to be in this time and place.
To those of you who have persevered, I want to sincerely thank you. This has been a long journey, and not always easy. But I know God is birthing something new and special here at First Christian, and I am so glad each and every one of you are part of that.
PS: For those of you who were not able to come to the mission gathering on September 27th, there is still time to give me your own thoughts, ideas, and feedback concerning the future of FCC. We want everyone’s input! Just call me at the church office at (760) 722-8522 or email me directly at jason(at)fccoceanside(dot).org.