Dear Church Family & Friends,
Our family meeting took place this past Sunday at noon. Eighteen adults were present for the meeting. After our morning service, I handed out a sheet of paper with all of the discernments that members have been sending in from the periods of fasting since November. We began with prayer asking God to give us wisdom and direction for the future of RCC. I shared from my heart about the hopes that I have for RCC and then opened the discussion/discernment time with the question: “What discernments seem to be the most prevalent?” As we prayerfully and carefully shared together what we were sensing that the Lord was saying about the future of RCC we were able to list 5 specific directions for next steps:
- Serving others – God has called us to serve the poor and needy in our community
- Home Fellowships – God is calling us to meet in homes, to live in true community & mutual ministry
- Seeking God – God is calling us to give our attention to listening and spending time with Him
- Large Group Meeting – God is calling us to continue meeting as a large group each week
- Equipping Classes – God is calling us to equip the saints using weekly classes. Suggestions: Inner healing, financial peace etc..
Following the discussion of direction, I shared two suggestions about the decision making process from the leadership team (Bob and I.) I suggested that we have two more family meetings. The first on Sunday, February 3rd (with fellowship meal) and the final one on Sunday, February 17th. I suggested that we complete the discernment process about the future of RCC at these two meetings. I also suggested that we continue using the format that we have now until March 1st before making any changes. I opened the floor for discussion and then asked if those present sensed the Lords blessing on the five discernments and the plan for decision making. The discussion following this was favorable to the discernments and suggestions and so we concluded the meeting at 1:10 with a group sense of the Lord’s blessing.
The final outcome of the meeting was the confirmation of five discernments and a decision making plan. Several people following the meeting expressed a sense of relief about the process. Some expressed that they felt that several people were feeling a sense of foreboding about the process because they anticipated that there might be conflict at the meeting. I also thought the meeting went well. I am encouraged that we are seeking discernment rather then trying to come up with ideas to “fix” the issues that face us..
I would like to encourage everyone at RCC and beyond to continue praying for our church family. We certainly are in a time of testing. I believe that God is allowing us to be tested so that we can truly become a life giving and empowered church in Crozet. Let me also say that along with these discernments comes great responsibility. If God is calling us to: serve others, seek His face, meet in homes to devote our lives to one another in mutual ministry and gather each week faithfully to worship, then we must become sacrificially faithful and committed to walk in obedience to the call of God. These discernments are not just for a few.
Having received these corporate discernments it seems that God is launching us into active community ministry! We are called to be the living, breathing and active church of Jesus Christ in Crozet. A community ministry coordinator will be needed for spearheading group ministry efforts. Life group leaders and faithful attending members will be needed so that we can mobilize. All members should give absolute priority to tithing and participation in the call of God. Instead of going to church, God is calling us to be the church and to be the church, we must first show up!
For my part, Carol and I are putting together plans for an inner healing class that will start in mid-February. Once we have the details in place we will open the class for registration. Please let me know if Thursday evenings are not good for anyone. We are considering offering the class on Thursday evenings starting in mid February.
We also will continue our series on “Being Church” for the next seven weeks, God willing! There is a radical shift happening in the church. Overall, church attendance in America is on the decline. Over half of born again believers do not attend church while Megachurches seem to be growing. Sixty churches (including old and new) close their doors each week. This is an unprecedented time in history. What is the path that God has for us? This series, I believe will give many important insights for our discernment process and our planning for the future.
For this series we are using Francis Chan’s new book; “Letters to the Church” as a resource. If you would like a copy for $9 (bookstore price is $12-$16) please reply to this email. Francis Chan was a successful author and mega-church pastor in southern California. Eight years ago, he stepped down after a period of personal fasting and prayer. During this time of reflection he discerned that the church in America (and more specifically his church) was giving more time and energy to pleasing people rather than pleasing God. After resigning, he spent time overseas. “Letters to the Church” came out of seeing what God is doing in the church worldwide that is free of the stranglehold of consumerism. This is a revolutionary book. It contains prophetic insight into the heart of God for the American church.
See you on Sunday!