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Seven Questions Facing FBC Rockport in 2018, part 3

I think our church is a work in progress right now. We are in a process of discovery, learning how and what kind of church God is making us into. The process is far from over. I think we will know much more by the fall of 2018. Until then, I ask for patience, courage, and commitment from all our members. Please join me in seeking the Lord concerning the answers to the following questions. I have included my thoughts as of right now, but nothing is final or written in stone.

Here are the seven questions I think are facing us as we enter 2018:

1. How will we be connected to one another?
2. What will our worship and weekly schedule look like over the course of a year?
3. How will we reach out to and serve our community?
4. How will new people be connected to our church and what will that mean for our space usage?
5.  What kind of volunteer base and financial resources will be available to us as we plan for ministries, outreach, mission endeavors, personnel needs, and developing our physical space?
6. What kind of organization and expressions of church government allow us to best fulfill our mission?
7. How will we keep people safe and secure will on our church property?

Over the next few weeks I will share my thoughts on the answers to these questions. All of my answers will be available in my report to the church at the First Family Meeting at the end of January.

In my last post I answered question three. I this post I answer questions four and five.

4. How will people be connected to our church and what will that mean for our space usage?
I think when our church is able to answer question one concerning how we are connected to one another, once we can answer question two concerning what our schedule and calendar will look like in the future, and once we can accomplish ways of serving our community with consistency and compassion, then people will want to be a part of our church. I think God will send people to us. This is what helps me to understand how God has cared and provided for us throughout the storm and how, in many ways, our property and our ministry will be stronger on the other side of all this.

We will need to be consistent in inviting individuals and families to our worship times, our Life Groups, and our Wednesday night activities. When we invite them I think they will come. Not everyone, perhaps, but many will. At FBC Rockport we believe that when people get involved in our weekly and monthly schedule and ministries, they have an opportunity to be shaped by the love of Jesus Christ through worshipping, connecting, growing, serving, and reaching.

Beyond that, I think it is so vitally important that every person is connected to our church through a Life Group. I have noticed our Life Groups contacting one another, ministering to one another, and caring for and serving one another throughout the recovery process following the storm. Now is the best time to begin attending a Life Group or to renew a commitment to your current Life Group.

This brings up the issue of physical space. Where will we put the people who come? Is our current physical space allowing us to accomplish our mission of leading all people to be shaped by the love of Christ? I have noticed at FBC Rockport a preference for a “traditional” ministry schedule, meaning that most people will engage with our church on Sunday mornings and nights and on Wednesday nights. Of course, there will be other things that happen throughout the week, but most of what we accomplish as a church takes place within the few hours each week when large numbers of people are gathered on our property. Jeff and I encourage Life Groups and other ministry groups to meet at off times or at other locations such as in homes, and some are. In addition to this, what else can we do to address our space?

I see three things. First, in two or three years we will take possession of the building Samaritan’s Purse will build and use as their base of operations on our property. This building will be a basic metal building with an industrial kitchen, bathrooms and showers, a large open space, and some classroom space. We will need to finish out this building to be used for our purposes. We will need to decide how to use this space. Basically, this building will provide a better fellowship space for our church to gather in than we have now. It will provide a multi-use space for recreation and other large-group activities. It will allow us to house mission groups or be a space to house people in emergency situations. One thing this building will not do is provide the education space we need on Sundays and Wednesdays.

Second, Jeff mentioned to the church at a Special Called Business Meeting in December the possibility of building a third building on our property. Many expressed interest in starting the process on that right now. We will need to decide whether to pursue this and how to use this new space if we do go this direction. I think we will need to address education space for preschoolers, children, youth, and adults.

Third, if we move our kitchen and fellowship space out to the Samaritan’s Purse building in two or three years, what will we do with the current space occupied by our kitchen and Fellowship Hall. What other renovations might need to be done to our existing building and parking lot?

I would suggest that in our next First Family Meeting we call out or elect a group of people who can meet with me, Jeff and the other staff members to address these issues. I think this group could help us have a bigger picture for how to utilize and further develop the space on our property. They can help us decide how to finish the Samaritan’s Purse building and how it will be used. They can help us decide whether we need a third building, and if so, what that space will address. They can help us decide how to renovate our existing space to address further needs after we take possession of the Samaritan’s Purse building and build a possible third building. They can help us develop a plan to accomplish and pay for all this.

It is important to me that we provide adequate space for all ages to lead them to be shaped by the love of Jesus Christ, that we provide adequate space to serve our members and community on a weekly/monthly basis and at other times as needed, and that we do this without going into a crippling debt. Please join with me in seeking the Lord concerning these matters.

5. What kind of volunteer base and financial resources will be available to us as we plan for ministries, outreach, mission endeavors, personnel needs, and developing our physical space?
This question represents a big question mark. This is still unknown. I know God will make us able to accomplish the task to which He has called our church. However, we are still in the task of discovering and clarifying that calling post-Harvey. We will also have to discern, post-Harvey, to what will our people be able to commit? What kind of volunteer base are we going to have? This determines what ministries we will offer on a weekly and monthly basis. Will our members support the budget to pay for our ministry, missions, and administrative needs? Will people give over and above the annual budget to support the new construction we may want to pursue?

I recognize we are limited by what people are willing to do and give. The truth is we cannot expand our ministries and missions without volunteers and resources. I am hopeful that God will provide for all our needs through the good and faithful people who are FBC Rockport. We will see. Again, I ask you to join me in seeking the Lord concerning these matters.

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