What a great Sunday to be at First Baptist Church! I really enjoyed hearing from some of the church’s mission partners during worship, and once again you came ready to gather around the tables at the congregational conversation. I am grateful to the transition team for its planning and hard work, Randy for his words of wisdom before our discussion time, Jason Sullivan and Scott Malone for their sound expertise, the anonymous donor for providing a delicious lunch, and Bridget Ellis, Holly Hatton, and Kelly Street for invaluable staff support.

You can find a summary of the invaluable insights shared during the conversation here. You are also welcome to contact the church office for a printed copy.

Here are some themes that emerged from the discussion and the transition team’s reflection on it.

The church is made up of people who are invested in its future. You keep showing up for and sharing at the congregational conversations, and the energy has been great at each event. Thank you!

The church has many, many gifts it can use – is using – in service to God. These blessings are tangible and intangible, covering the range from the church’s history and reputation to the building and finances to ministries and relationships.

  1. The three congregational conversations we’ve had so far continue to point to two areas about which there are several questions:

    1. Facilities. Where did the church land with the property study? What still needs to be resolved? Who is using the building, and for what? How could we get creative with building use? How do we help newcomers navigate the building? What is the impact of needed décor updates and repairs on guests and potential tenants? How best does the church take advantage of its location?

    2. Communication. How do people inside and beyond the church find out what is going on/has happened? What is the real financial state of the church? How are resources being used? Whatever happened about [various decisions/processes]? Who is making decisions, and what are they? How best do we address the elephants in the room? How do we build relationships across groups? Which comes first, increased trust or more effective communication across many channels?

Please know that I am heartened by what I see and hear during my visits to Memphis. Together we are doing good work that will move FBC forward.

Next month we will take a break from intense conversations and instead have a Christmas party! The transition team looks forward to hosting this time of cross-generational celebration. Look for more details in the coming weeks. We will pick our congregational conversations back up on January 12.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. I am grateful for you, your bold faith, and your commitment to First Baptist Church.

Laura

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