Posts Tagged ‘visioning’

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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By Susan Beach.
visioningSome visions are received, without even asking for them. They startle us and change our plans. Mary knew that kind of vision.

But visions can also be sought. While we can be active in pursuing them, these visions may still surprise us and change our plans.

Richmond’s First Baptist Church is about that intentional visioning process now. We are seeking God’s vision for our church at this time and in this place.

So how does that happen?

Jim Somerville, FBC’s Senior Pastor, explains how we began this process: “We first discussed the idea of long-range planning because of concern about attendance and giving at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. Although our giving is up over last year and our membership is actually increasing, our Sunday morning worship attendance has been in decline. The Deacon Advisory Council suggested that we do some long-range planning to address that issue and to energize the church around a shared vision for the future.”

To initiate this vision-seeking, Jim and Deacon Chair Richard Szucs invited Bill Wilson, Director of the Center for Healthy Churches (CHC), to speak via FaceTime video to the deacons in May 2015. He talked about nationwide trends in church attendance and giving and reassured us that even though the church in America is experiencing decline, those churches that are clear about their mission and identity can prosper.

The deacons responded well to Bill’s presentation. Richard said they especially resonated with his explanation that “people give their time and money to churches where people are doing things that matter and where they can be a part of something worthwhile.” This session led to a discussion of seeking a visioning process for our church.

The Center for Healthy Churches was selected as FBC’s guide for that process. CHC builds on a church’s strengths so they can be used as the foundation for future direction. Also core to this process is CHC’s emphasis on the input of the entire congregation: God’s vision will be realized as the work of discerning is shared by staff and laity alike.

To begin this work a lay leadership team has been identified. Mark Larson and Clint Smith will co-chair the team of Allen Brown, Virginia Darnell, Anne Keo, Shawnae Lacy, Michael Lipford, Jim Norvelle, Julie Pierce, Lee Stephenson, Charles Tilley, and Lisa Tuck. This Visioning Team will facilitate the work of the congregation in determining FBC’s goals for the next three to five years.

40 Days of PrayerIn January the Visioning Team will begin its orientation. During Lent, the congregation will be invited to meet in small groups in members’ homes, using 40 Days of Prayer: Preparing Ourselves for God’s Calling. This study guide and the Journey to the Cross series on Wednesday nights will combine in a Lenten emphasis, “Praying with Eyes Wide Open,” to prepare us for the next stage of our visioning process.

In that stage the entire congregation will work through the Appreciative Inquiry process – highlighting what we have done well in the past and what we are doing well in the present – in order to determine our direction for the future. These meetings will most likely be held in April and May.

Seeking a vision is work. If you want to know God’s plans for you, you must ask. And you must ask in a way that prepares you to hear – putting aside your plans and listening for His. You must do this repeatedly until you are really listening. If we want to know God’s plans for FBC, the entire church family needs to ask in a way that prepares us to hear Him.

Author’s note: On Sunday, January 17, Adult Bible Fellowships will meet in Flamming Hall at 9:45 a.m. for study and prayer around discernment and the practice of spiritual disciplines. This session, led by Lynn Turner and Susan Beach, will prepare the congregation for the Lenten “Praying with Eyes Wide Open” and the Appreciative Inquiry stages of seeking God’s vision for our church.

Visit related web pages:
Lent: Praying with Eyes Wide Open
2020 Vision

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