Fellow Missionaries in Christ Jesus,
Greetings to you in the name of Jesus our Savior!
Before I go on, I want to say thank you from the depths of my heart to those of you who continue to support my ongoing education financially. You have no idea how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate you. Thank you and may God smile on you!
As promised to you in sermons over the last six months and as shared with you in my MMB and congregational reports, we have begun a new visioning process at Christ Lutheran. I am writing this to you because I want to be open and transparent with you and our mutual ministry. This is why I have been preparing you for this for quite some time. This is a very exciting process that when through, will involve all of us together. But there are steps along the way to get to where we need to be.
Why now you might ask. Well first, on average, it takes a pastor 2-4 years to get to know a congregation and the community. Second, it is part of my responsibility as the called pastor to Christ! Thirdly, the MMB has asked me to do so, and it is an honor that they have. And finally, it has been a long while since the congregation has done the process.
This visioning process will help us to learn more about ourselves, our community, and our future in mission and ministry. It is crucial for us to go through this process as we live in a very fast pace, changing world! It is imperative for our longevity as a congregation that we see and learn how to reach today’s ever-changing culture and new generations in love without compromising the integrity of God’s Word.
On Saturday, March 23, we met together with about 25 members to begin this process. Those present were members that have joined our church within the last three years and a cross-section of our MMB and Elders. We talked about what brought each of them to Christ Lutheran and what they saw as our strengths, what kept them coming back, and what they like most about our church. There was some great information shared and the overall consensus is that we are a family who loves each other and cares about our community. We also realized that we do worship well, we enjoy being together in fellowship, and we like to have fun as a family together!
The next steps in the process will be forming two more teams with some of the members from the last meeting and other current members. One team will be taking and synthesizing the information from our last meeting. The second team will be more analytical and will be doing a demographic study of a 5-mile radius of our church looking at the different variables involved in our community.
This process looks like an upside-down pyramid. We start with smaller groups and wind up moving through the stages all leading toward the work of the whole congregation as we involve more of you on teams and lead events for congregational input. This is a process of faith! Through it all, together we must rely on the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us. We may not all agree with everything we will hear. After all, some of us like chocolate ice cream while others of us prefer vanilla. The point of this whole process is to put Christ, our Lord and His work first, and the good of our congregation and its future to be a thriving part of the Fort Worth community as it grows the Kingdom of God! I also know, from being human myself, that it may feel at times that we lose a bit of control, we may fear a suggested change, and maybe we might feel left out. I understand that and no one wants that. But we must trust the process and realize that we will all, as the planning moves forward, have a chance to participate and support the congregation we love! I am proud of you all and cherish you so much. You have already done the hard work! We are already a family, a place of love, and a beacon of Jesus to our community! This is because of you and your allowing of the Spirit to work in and through you. Well done, good and faithful servants. Well done! I love every one of you so much and praise God for you.
In the shadow of the cross,