What’s Up with Pastor Todd 3-19-21
Part of our discussion at GUCCI (Granby UCC Initiative) this week was the formation of work groups that will be tasked with visioning a new, unified UCC congregation in Granby.
One of the points we emphasized was that the work groups should be led by visionaries who are clear that their job isn’t to recreate the past but to imagine something new. This can be trickier than it sounds. It is a natural human tendency to stick with what we know. We all want to be experts. None of us wants to fail or look foolish. As the old saying goes, the safest place for the sailboat is in the harbor, but that’s not what it’s made for. That’s not what the church is made for.
In their research of hundreds of church consolidations, Tomberlin and Warren have found that a–perhaps the–key to success of any consolidation is a forward looking, outward facing vision (Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work). What does it take to discover God’s vision for our future?
I suggest we start with some study, reflection, prayer, and conversation. Start with study of vision passages in Scripture. Some that come to mind are God’s promise to Abraham to make of him and Sarah “a great nation.” God showed Abraham a vision of the stars. God says, “Look toward the heavens, so shall your descendants be (Gen. 15). In Isaiah. 43:19 God says, “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Or Jer. 29:11: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.”
A key question for developing an outward focused vision is asking NOT what kind of church do I prefer, but what kind of church does this town need? There are many resources for this. Please check out the detailed demographic data for the town of Granby from MissionInsight and posted to http://www.firstchurchgranby.org. Also important is developing a survey and interviewing leaders, neighbors, and friends. YOU CAN HELP. Just say to your neighbor, “If you were to go to church, what kind of church would you go to?” Or some such similar question. You will find that many folks will be eager to share their opinions with you. Please document your findings and share with GUCCI.
Finally, gather a prayer group, dedicate time to pray personally, or make a prayer request during worship for God’s vision. The Bible promises that if we humble ourselves, pray, and “seek God’s face,” God will hear our prayers, provide healing and hope.