Something new has started. People have asked, “What’s next?” Our congregation is in the middle of its New Beginnings process and we’ve been challenged by the Future Story put together by the team the church blessed for this task. Why bother with all this? It is a different day today than it was even five years ago. Many churches are retooling for some difficult roads ahead. Churches that are not retooling will hit their bumps when their resources run out and will be forced to retool then, or possibly close their doors.
About six weeks ago, we were introduced to the Future Story of First Christian Church in worship. The story was told to those in attendance on March 19th, the story was handed out in written format to everyone who attended church on that day. Then the story was included in the April Focus, as the majority of the newsletter that month. On May 7th, we had a Future Story Luncheon. It was an opportunity to come together around a meal and explore that story with a little more depth, revisit the major themes and hopes there, and discover where the enthusiasm is for various aspects of this future that has been shared. There were many questions, and much discussion. One of the biggest questions had to do with how we, the little church on the corner, we’re going to be able to fund such big dreams. The answer has to do with a convergence of many things . . . There are grants to consider and apply for, rooms in our building to rent, weddings and concerts to host, and friends to make. First and foremost, there are prayers for all of us to pray. We believe all the rest will come into clearer focus when the whole church is praying for the future we’ve only glimpsed.
Another question we’ve been asked is “What is the next step?” The next step is indeed prayer. The last time our church saw tremendous growth and miraculous strength was when our weekly prayer group was meeting. We have come to realize that prayer group paved the way for the significant things that happened to us in 2008–including the creation of the Dilworth Soup Kitchen and the influx of Montagnard families that caused our congregation to double in size at the time. Of late, our prayer group has met once a month, thanks to the wonderful dedication of Julie Burch Board, who first initiated the prayer group in 2007. She will still be leading the monthly Saturday gatherings, and we’re adding weekday meetings as well. We hope there will be an opportunity for everyone in the church to be part of this. If you cannot find a meeting that makes sense for your schedule, we ask that 1) you let us know some times that might work for you in the future that we can consider so you can be part of this, and 2) you pray from wherever you are at whatever time works (and if you can pray with us during that prayer time, but alone or with friends in your home or office across town, that’s great too). Pray for God’s voice to be clear and easily understood, pray for your heart to be ready for what God has in store for us, pray for the health and strength and joy of your community of faith, pray for the people in your life you believe need to know that God really is love.
God has plans for us. Let’s pray together about them! Here’s the list of times we’re planning to meet in the next few months:
Wednesday, 5/17–5:30 pm, led by Karen Artz
Saturday, 5/20–1:30 pm, led by Julie Board
Wednesday, 5/31–12 noon, led by Jolin McElroy
Thursday, 6/8–4 pm, led by Jolin McElroy (stay tuned . . . possible change in location of this meeting)
Saturday, 6/17–1:30 pm, led by Julie Board
Wednesday, 6/21–5:30 pm, led by Karen Artz
Monday, 6/26–5:30 pm, led by Steve Clifton
These meetings will be at the church, with the possible exception of Thursday, June 8th, at 4 pm. I’ll let you know if another location has developed for that gathering.
Grace and Peace to all of you . . . and let’s get praying!