Archive for April, 2016

2020 Vision

By Anne Keo. Photos by Allison Maxwell.

“Then afterward, I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions” (Joel 2:28).

2020 VisionRichmond’s First Baptist Church is entering an important visioning process in which the entire congregation will work together to discern God’s will for the church in the next five years and beyond.

Discerning God’s will can stir up a range of emotions – excitement for the possibilities and potential only God can provide, nervous anticipation for when and what God will speak to our hearts, and sometimes hesitation or fear of what God’s will truly is and if we as His followers can carry it out. Christ laid out some important commands for His followers. While we as Christians and fellow congregants can agree to those commands, what does it really look like when we as a people and a church act on those commands of loving God, loving neighbors, loving self, and making disciples? This is where our 2020 Vision process comes in.

Dr. Bill Wilson, founder of The Center for Healthy Churches, is guiding the Vision Facilitation Team in leading this visioning process with the congregation. The team has met with Bill several times to learn about the vision model the church will be following, Appreciative Inquiry (AI). AI is a process of identifying the strengths, efficiencies and positive impacts of an organization. Many business experts agree that AI can be a more productive process for groups than a focus on problem-solving or negative aspects, which narrow the ability to vision for the future. While many churches begin a vision process because of a tangible problem, healthy, thriving churches frequently go through a vision process every 5-10 years. FBC is looking to remain a healthy and thriving church by discerning God’s will. Through this visioning process, our church will discuss the ministries, missions and functions that are FBC’s best and that are most aligned with God’s will. We will then be able to make decisions for our future rooted in our strengths and God’s desires for our church. As Bill has often told the Facilitation Team, “we are finding what we do really well, and pouring jet fuel on it.”

2020 VisionMost exciting about this vision process is the critical role members and friends of First Baptist Church have through their participation in discerning God’s will together. Students through senior adults will gather together on the mornings of April 24, May 15 and June 12 to discuss FBC’s past, present and future. Discussion questions will guide our conversations around the tables. Every person’s input will be read, prayed over, and will guide the Vision Facilitation Team’s summer work in discerning God’s will and creating an actionable plan for our church.

We need every member and friend to join us on this exciting and important journey. Together we will dream dreams, see visions, and follow God’s will for Richmond’s First Baptist Church.

Editor’s notes:
Team members are Mark Larson and Clint Smith, co-chairs, Allen Brown, Virginia Darnell, Anne Keo, Shawnae Lacy, Michael Lipford, Jim Norvelle, Julie Pierce, Lee Stephenson, Charles Tilley, and Lisa Tuck.

Sunday morning schedule for the sessions:
•    8:30 a.m. – Continental breakfast, Flamming Hall (No 8:30 worship)
•    9-10:30 a.m. – Visioning with Bill Wilson among facilitator-led small groups, Flamming Hall (No Bible study for Youth or Adults; Sunday School available for preschool through fifth grade)
•    11:00 a.m. – One worship service, Sanctuary

There will be makeup sessions on Wednesday evenings (April 27, May 18 and June 15) for those who cannot attend on Sunday. These will be intentionally smaller and shorter in length.

Read related story, Building on FBC’s past to guide its future.

Ann KeoAnne Keo is a Richmond native and has been at First Baptist Church since birth. She is a deacon, member of the Young Couples Sunday School Class and active with various children’s and adult ministries. She enjoys cooking, gardening, sewing and spending time outdoors with her family. Anne and her husband, Kamnab, have two children, Aiden and Lilly Ann.

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Story by Joyce Clemmons. Photos by Susan Brown.

WAWAIn 2003 FBC staff recognized the need for a more diverse women’s ministry, and FLO (For Ladies Only) began to take shape. As the organization grew and expanded its ministry, we began to look at the needs of those who were widowed or who were caring for chronically or terminally ill spouses. In 2005, WAWA (Widows and Women Alone [caregivers]) was formed.

WAWAWhen a woman is widowed, she immediately steps into a world she could never have imagined, no matter how prepared she might be. She no longer fits with “their friends” and must make new friends and find new interests. Decisions that would previously have been made as a couple or by her spouse must now be made on her own. Tasks such as having the car serviced or paying the monthly bills that may have been his to deal with are now hers. This is in addition to handling her grief and making decisions about what items to keep and what to dispose of, and how to do that. All these changes happen while her emotions are up and down on a daily basis.

WAWA became a part of my life after my husband’s passing. Breaking bread together with others who are grieving or struggling with caregiving gives us comfort and support and bonds us. This group has been a very meaningful experience for me these past couple years.

WAWAWAWA is structured to be a mentoring group where a new widow can feel comfortable even if she only feels like crying in her plate that day. She knows the others will understand. The intent is for new members to move forward at their own paces. As Betty Lowry shares, “WAWA helped me get through a very low point in my life – the loss of my husband. Maureen and the other ladies ministered to me from their same experience.”

Shirley Barnes explains that WAWA gives a chance “to see ladies we haven’t seen for a month and enjoy going to a lot of new restaurants.” The group meets for lunch once a month at different restaurants. Members trade ideas about such things as whom to call for a repair job, what to do with things that are too precious to throw away but no one else wants, and how to do the necessary tasks they’ve not done before.

WAWAPatsy Apsley appreciates that “Maureen always has a devotion and prayer” to begin. The meeting is structured to follow with open discussion of any relevant subject. There are currently thirty members on roll, with an average attendance of eight to twenty.

For more information, contact Maureen Lipford, 804-270-1264.

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