Veritas means Truth and today we completed the first seminar in our Congregational Vitality pathway. It was a wonderful Friday night and Saturday morning conversation about the process of becoming and maintaining a local church in a healthy missional position.
Like all conversations, there was a variety of perceptions from our congregants, but one thing was clear. We all want to be healthier. What a wonderful desire. So what is next? In the short term, the vitality team will be meeting with Don Robinson, the presenter of the Veritas Seminar, to debrief the experience on Tuesday. It also seems wise to start working on a behavioral covenant, in order to outline the ways that we as a church will participate in the conversations that follow so that all the opinions and concerns of people are addressed in healthy, compassionate and loving ways. Finally, it also seems prudent to host a conversation about our history. Pastor Don mentioned dividing the church’s history into decades and speaking about the high and the low points of each decade. Then discerning any patterns, both good and bad, that need to be honestly discussed, confronted, confessed and praised God for. I think we could all be served well by this exercise.
In the longer range, we most certainly need to have conversations about change and our commitments for or against it. We need to discuss mission, or the specific calling God has for our local congregation, within the myriad of options that exist, for no local body can be everything that the Scripture declares the church is. Surely the breadth of activity ascribed to the church universal, is just that, the worldwide picture of the church. Each local body must find its unique place in the whole. We will need to host another seminar or two within the Vitality pathway and take a ministry assessment survey in order to develop a strategic ministry plan. This is all part of the next 18-24 months of our congregation’s life together.
All of these will happen in conversation and community and all of it will lead to our transformation, God willing, into a healthier church tomorrow than we are today. If you are interested in serving on the Vitality team, please contact one of the team members – Herm Laninga, Faye Hop, Scott Emory or Pastor Scott.
In conclusion, I am reminded of Romans 12:1-2 which urges us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. These twin events began today as we honestly declared our intentions to becoming healthier. And they will continue as we learn more about the 10 marks of a healthy, missional church.
May God guide all of our prayers as we walk this pathway together.