Sometimes it is good to take a few minutes to “step back” and look at the big picture. In the every day rush of life it can be difficult to notice some of the more significant things going on.
To help us see the big picture of what God is doing at First Church I offer the following. Over the course of the last five years First Church has intentionally engaged in a number of practices and focus points to help create the most healthy and vibrant “disciple-making” culture that we can. Just some of these intentional efforts have included:
- Focusing upon our Vision of “Transformation In Christ, Changing Lives Inside and Out” in all we do.
- Seeking new ways to focus on practices related to Inviting, Teaching, and Sending. One significant example is the launch of our Acts Network. Already over 80 participants in 8 different, active, community groups are sharing.
- Recruiting the best staff possible (we are so blessed in this area!).
- Leadership Development (designated leadership days, leadership classes, etc.)
- Simplification: Some examples of this include:
- Identification and Alignment around 18 Key Ministry Areas
- Creating intentional pathways of discipleship and continuing to focus on small groups. Over the last 5 years over 220 folks have joined First Church.
- The creation of a new government structure with our Lead Council.
- Growth resulting from simplification. For example in focusing on worship in general we have seen the launch of the North Campus, First Night, Online opportunities, Celebrate Recovery, and the Community Arts Center service… all resulting in higher worship attendance.
- Increased Community Outreach. Opportunities such as First Night, Mission Trip participation, and Transform Lycoming County have all experienced significant growth! (This year’s TLC week is August 1-5—hope to see you there!).
- Facility Improvement (The newly renovated fuse*box student ministry center is a great example).
- Increased communication (First Glance, Pastor’s page, Church Facebook, Small group meetings, Seminars led by staff at leadership days, Hiring a part-time communications director)
- Increased Prayer Opportunities –Various sermon series, Lenten prayer focus, Friday prayer times, prayer calendars, Easter prayer vigil etc.
In many ways I appreciate the analogy of a chess board. These last five years have been a time of putting the right pieces in place. Now we are ready to really get in the game! It is an incredibly exciting time church! As always I am so very grateful to serve with you First Church… on to the next five years!