Our mission as a church is to make more and better disciples. It’s that simple. It’s also that hard.
Over time I’ve come to find the old metaphor of the trellis and the vine to be a helpful way of thinking about that mission and the work of the church.
When we see someone put her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation for the first time, or someone who has been a believer taking new steps of radical obedience, that is the growth of the vine that gives us our reason for being.
But the health and extent of the vine depends, at least in part, on the sturdiness and availability of the trellis. For us, the trellis is composed of things like our buildings, staff, website, church management software, sound equipment, etc. These things must never be mistaken for the mission of the church: they are the things we do and invest in for the sake of fulfilling the mission.
Our story as a church could be told in terms of the trellis and vine. There have been seasons in our life as a church where we had a lot more trellis than we did vine. And there have been those heady seasons when it was all we could do to make sure our trellis was keeping up with the vine.
When the folks in North Chittenden left their building in the lovely valley to set up church in a warehouse on Route 7 it was trellis work in the interest of a vine we believed that God would grow.
When the folks in Forest Dale decided to merge with Furnace Brook it was not because the existing vine demanded that sort of trellis, but because we didn’t want the size or health of our trellis to determine the size of God’s vine.
And this is such a season in the life of our church. The addition of a full time staff person is one of the many delightful things that have happened to expand our trellis in anticipation of the vine.
And early indications are that our Invite Your One Sunday on October 22nd is arriving at the same time that a wave of momentum is swelling for us as a church. This is providential and exciting, but it will mean something for our trellis that we didn’t see coming even a month or two ago.
After much prayer and discussion with leaders in the church we have decided that the time has come for us to go to two services in Pittsford. Starting October 15th we will have a 9:00 service in Pittsford and 11:00 services in both locations. Already we are having people step up to take on responsibilities at Forest Dale and we are putting together a teaching team to assist Pastor Tate with the preaching at 11:00.
We are committing to this arrangement through Christmas and we will evaluate in early December before making a decision about extending the service schedule into the new year.
We are really intent on making more and better disciples for Jesus, and we are cheerfully convinced that adding this service will help us to accomplish that mission.
Honestly, we don’t have a solution for every problem that this creates or an answer for every question that it raises. But we are confident that this is an act of obedience and that the God who has called us will not fail to equip us.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog