Monday, June 1, 2009

Looking into the future

Big day at First Presbyterian Church yesterday. We voted - overwhelmingly (at around 98% in the affirmative) - to move forward into our future with a "site development" concept that's truly awesome in its implications.

What's cool about the plan is that it is the brainchild of a "visioning team" that has spent three years and invested literally hundreds of hours in the discernment process.

The team started their task in prayer and Bible study, before they even considered anything else. Then they looked at our mission and ministry. In other words, any building that we do is going to be driven by the mission and ministry of the church, not the other way around.

What happened in church yesterday really got its start six years ago, when the congregation shot down a proposal to build. It was the right decision - although it seemed difficult at the time - and the meeting set some good things in motion. At that point our church was carrying debt, landlocked and understaffed. So, instead of forging ahead, the "Foundation for the Future" was launched in order to put us in a position of strength moving forward. What has been achieved has been amazing.
  1. Tim Black was called as associate pastor. He (and his growing family) has been an unqualified success).
  2. The debt has been paid off 100%.
  3. We've acquired several surrounding properties, demolished some of them to expand parking, and almost doubled the acreage surrounding the church.
  4. We have - to date - almost $250,000 set aside to begin the next phase. We're adding to that total every month.
  5. Updates and improvements to the existing facility have made our campus a truly beautiful place for the first time in decades.
So we were nervous going in to yesterday's meeting. This is not an easy economy and change can be unsettling It's tempting to rest on your laurels, enjoy what you have, and simply be a strong church that's happy with the way things are...

But First Presbyterian of Brandon understands one of the fundamental principles of life. Life necessarily involves movement and growth. Standing still is not an option. Organisms either grow or they have stopped living.

We plan to live abundantly as a community of faith, to move into the future with vision, and to serve God in this place with eloquence and generosity and renewed faithfulness. That's a great thought to start the new week on!
Love and blessings - DEREK

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