Ten years ago we were two different churches, one of which was meeting in a building that few of you have ever been in. A lot has changed.
For one thing, I've gotten older. My kids remark frequently on the number of gray hairs showing up on my head. Who needs a mirror when you have a frank child?
But I've noticed something strange and strangely thrilling. I am getting older, and my joints are getting stiffer, and my hair is surely graying: in other words I am experiencing pained growing. But the church I get to lead is experiencing growing pains. And I can't tell you how much better that is.
I want to fill you in on some of what that means for us as a church as we boldly dare to fulfill our mission of making more and better disciples for Jesus.
1. The merger has been more successful than we could have hoped. Despite all of the obstacles, we have found our footing at the Forest Dale Campus and the culture has changed there in some notable ways. We are poised now for dramatic success. I can't tell you how amazing this outcome is. None of us had ever done anything like this before. There were no local examples for us to follow. And many such mergers fail. Praise the Lord for what He has done here!
2. The board, after much prayerful deliberation has decided to pursue a long-term lease with our landlords in Pittsford. You can pray that we would be able to arrive at favorable terms with them.
Our hope is that leasing, as opposed to buying or building, will free our resources up to be devoted to ministry.
3. We can see now, in retrospect, that at the time when the merger was taking place we were already in a position where we were understaffed. Back in April there were already more people than one shepherd could effectively minister to, and more stuff than one leader could handle. And then we took on the merger.
If we were slow to pick up on this it wasn't because we had an inflated view of our leadership capacity. It's helpful to understand that just ten years ago I had a full-time job outside the church just to make ends meet and I didn't have an office, not even in the home (unless you count the computer in the hallway.) Every step we've taken has been a step into uncharted territory and those are hard steps to take.
But the board sees that if we are going to grow going forward, if we are going to be able to not only reach people with the gospel, but effectively disciple them, we will need more staff, more undershepherds for a growing flock.
So we are working on a job description and many of the details are still unclear but we are hoping that this new position will feature some particular responsibility for Forest Dale as well as a church-wide role.
We will keep you informed as that position becomes more defined and as we begin to consider candidates to fill it.
We will remain one church in two locations . . . at least until we are one church in three locations. Or more.
Because I am confident that within a year we will have two services at Pittsford and we will be having discussions about how to deal with the crowding at Forest Dale and then it will be on to starting services in other locations.
I have never been more excited about what God is doing in our church and I want you to be as excited as I am.
If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me at any time, by email or by phone.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog