When Forest Dale Wesleyan Church merged with Furnace Brook Wesleyan it wasn’t just our congregations and affairs that merged. We became one church with one mission: making more and better disciples for Jesus.
Since then our commitment to that mission has led to us adopting lots of different strategies for Forest Dale:. We have tried different worship times, worship styles, and leadership arrangements. We’ve remodeled the sanctuary and tinkered with the branding.
Through all of that experimentation the people who have been committed to worshiping at Forest Dale have been admirably resilient.
And considering how flexible they proved to be and how committed we all were to the mission it’s been hard to understand why nothing has met with the success we expected to have. It’s been hard at times not to feel discouraged, and all the more so as attendance continued to grow and we continued to rejoice in salvations and life transformation in the context of the ministry at the Pittsford Campus. And all of that brings us to the latest interesting and promising arrangement for Forest Dale.
New Forest Dale Arrangement
Since March, Rev. Barry Tate, the father of our lead pastor, Joel Tate, has been leading a gathering at Forest Dale at 9:30am. The idea was that it would be something more than an adult Bible Study but less than a full church service; something that would give people an opportunity to go on getting some worshipful edification in a location they had come to love, but which would not prevent them from joining their fellow Furnace Brookers for worship at the 11:00 service at the Town Hall in Brandon.
Since then the 9:30 service at Forest Dale has enjoyed some modest growth in numbers and in depth of fellowship with Rev. Barry Tate coming to have a very special place in the hearts of the people meeting there. So when Pastor (Joel) Tate led the evaluation on the services at Forest Dale and the Town Hall, the colleagues with whom he consulted encouraged the board to consider committing to worship services at Forest Dale through the summer if his father was going to be available to lead them. And they encouraged the board to consider giving the services at Forest Dale a distinct identity, while remaining committed to the idea that Furnace Brook is one church in however many places.
Because Rev. Barry Tate has a longstanding commitment to preaching at the West Haven Baptist church from June through September, the people of Furnace Brook who enjoy worshiping at Forest Dale cheerfully agreed to a 6:00pm worship time to accommodate him and Barry Tate is now at least as busy in retirement as he ever was in full time ministry.
This will be the first Sunday for Forest Dale Worship at 6:00 and what it will end up being is still somewhat in flux as everyone is figuring out what will work best there. But we do know a few things about this service of Furnace Brook:.
What You Should Do About It
Regardless of the location where you attend we encourage you to be sold out for the mission, and lifting the church up in prayer.
1. Get excited about the mission! We are all about making more and better disciples, as one church body in many locations.Pray about our mission, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grow closer in your relationship with Jesus. Ask yourself the hard questions about what your discipling looks like, and who you could be discipling. If you are not in a Growth Group or discipling relationship, we encourage you to get plugged in (more information can be found on the church website).
2. Be in prayer for everyone at Forest Dale as we embark on this next chapter. Please be praying for your church regularly. Pray that Jesus is glorified in all of our buildings. Pray that our leadership has Godly wisdom and counsel. Pray for unity and love within the members. Pray for our church goers to grow in their relationship with Jesus. Pray to be challenged personally in your ministry and daily life. Pray for our ministry to impact our community in such a way that people are brought to a saving relationship with Jesus. Pray that each and every person who walks through our doors feels the love of Jesus. Pray that we are one church making more and better disciples.
By: Joel Tom Tate
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog