This last Wednesday night was a historic moment for our congregation, as we approved the FBC Vision Plan presented by our elders.

This plan will now bring about some immediate transitions to help generate growth and stability in our Sunday School. The plan also sets before us the urgent priority of local outreach and evangelism. Furthermore, it allows us to explore the possibility of building and planting/revitalizing a church.

Overall, our church has embraced a God-sized vision that will take faith, courage, sacrifice and commitment to pursue. We have lifted our sails and pointed our ship in a kingdom-minded direction, and now we must pray for God to send His Spirit to move us along toward that horizon.

Once again, I want to say thank you to everyone who came, spoke, and voted. The elders were very grateful by the turnout and discussion on Wednesday. The questions and feedback were helpful to hear. We want you to know, also, that the discussion doesn’t stop with Wednesday. If you have suggestions, input or ideas as we move forward – please speak with any of us.

As we begin to look ahead and move in this direction, I want to ask us, as a church, to commit ourselves to four “bes” as we pursue this next phase of ministry.

 

BE PRAYERFUL.

Dr. Jerry Falwell is famous for having said, “Nothing of eternal consequence is accomplished apart from prayer.” The ultimate goal of our Vision Plan is to truly make an eternal difference in the lives of our church members and in our community. And that means that now is the time to pray.

Pray for the transition in Sunday School. Pray for new workers to volunteer. Pray for families deciding when/where to attend. Pray for proactive outreach. Pray for opportunities to evangelize. Pray for wisdom. Pray for a cooperative spirit. Pray for faith. Pray for leaders. Above all: pray, pray, pray.

Will you join me, in setting aside, at least one day each week to specifically pray for our Vision Plan? I’m not asking for you to fast or spend 4 hours praying like George Mueller. I’m simply asking for you to set aside some intentional time to pray each week, even for just 5 minutes. I intend to make Monday my Vision Plan prayer day (with Sunday serving as a tangible reminder.)

If you will join me in this (regardless of which day you choose), let me know. Send me a text, an email or catch me after service and say, “I will be praying.”

 

BE PATIENT.

As Dr. Adrian Rogers once said, “What’s true in science is true in church, all movement generates friction.” Moving classes, adjusting times, training new workers – all of this will take time and will likely come with a learning curve. Let me say it clearly: not everything in Sunday School will run smoothly come September 4.

For this reason, the leadership plans to work with the format presented – and spend the months of September and October evaluating, tweaking and adjusting as needed. (We also plan to publish a final list of classes, rooms, and even teaching curriculum just as soon as we can.) Feedback will be helpful. (You can email Pastor Will, in particular.) Like being a freshman in high school, you may feel nervous or uncertain about the very first day – but, after a little time it will become more familiar and easier to get used to. I promise.

Transitions, like this, are a wonderful time to remember Philippians 2. There we are all called to “do nothing from selfishness” but “with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Please extend to one another the kind of grace, patience, and helpful spirit that you would want extended to you.

 

BE WILLING.

One detail that was highlighted in Wednesday’s meeting was that the Sunday School format, in particular, creates new areas of service. And that’s not a bad thing. The Bible says that every Christian has a spiritual gift and is responsible to use it. Roughly 60-70% of our church actively serves somewhere. Praise God, that’s well above average! But that means there are still many of you who are not regularly involved in using your gifts to edify our church. God wants you to!

If you are a member who has yet to find a place to serve, we have one for you now. We have specific opportunities, right now, for you to serve as a: Nursery or Preschool Worker (about 12 openings, all services, including Wednesday night), Children’s Sunday School Leader (1 teacher and 5 assistant slots for 9:30am), Adult Sunday School Teachers/Co-Teachers (for new 8:30am classes), Greeters, Parking Lot Team Members, and others.

If you are not currently serving, contact Pastor Will today in person (or by email) and he will get the right ministry leader in contact with you.

 

BE GENEROUS.

The Vision Plan has now authorized our elders to begin exploring information for possibly building additional facilities. We will eventually be organizing a Building Team to assist us in the details. (If you’re interested in serving in that way, please let us know.) We plan to report back with more by July, 2017.

As we’ve already stated, if we pursue building – we want to be good stewards. The Bible has many warnings about debt – and we want to avoid foolish financial decisions. Like Israel building the tabernacle, we want to set aside, in advance, the necessary resources to make it happen. And that means saving now.

As was discussed in the meeting, we do currently have a Building Fund (with about $26,000). If you would like to give, above and beyond your regular, general offering, to the Building Fund – you can designate money for it, even today. Just write “Building Fund” on the envelope or the check memo line (or indicate it online) and it will be funneled in that direction. If you can’t give now, begin praying and thinking about how you can in the days ahead.

 

Finally, let me remind you – once again – the goal of this Vision Plan is not merely to make space, it is to help us make disciples. I genuinely believe that Forest Baptist Church is one of the best kept secrets in Central Virginia. Now is the time for us to get the word out and fulfill our purpose “To Know Him and To Make Him Known.”