Over the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing highlights from the transition facilitation congregational conversations. This is in preparation for our final congregational conversation that will take place by Zoom on Sunday, November 8, from 5:00-6:30 pm. You will be able to join this call by internet (click this link on your smartphone, tablet, or computer: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89752299789?pwd=UnNBZUN2cmdwL3JneGc5bGgrQ0w1UT09) or phone (dial 312-626-6799 on your phone and enter meeting ID 897 5229 9789 and passcode 936503 when prompted).

On January 12, 2020, the transition team offered a conversation outside the typical transition facilitation process in response to requests for a space to name hurts. Through our discussion in the large group circle, these needs were identified:

  • clarity around leadership structure, inviting more people into decision-making and ensuring decisions are communicated out from committees
  • support for ministers, including defining the role of the personnel committee, educating about what it means to welcome and embrace a minister, creating constructive feedback loops for leaders, and establishing helpful expectations of ministers
  • increased communication about ministry opportunities/events/leaders and building and budget questions as well as more frequent church conferences
  • capitalizing on the reputation of FBC in the community and energy when it bubbles up, encouraging engagement in processes, listening intentionally to younger members, and celebrating who is here
  • building relationships across groups through focus on common ground, more opportunities for interaction and dialogue, and noticing when someone is absent/struggling
  • leading with love by ensuring safety for those with less power, embracing healthy conflict over avoidant comfort, building the atmosphere that makes people want to invite others to church, deepening trust, and living in the tension between seeing the gospel as political and wanting to keep politics out of church

On February 23, 2020, we turned our attention to the future and identifying common ground on which to build. The gathered group named that that will require:

  • more intentional, cross-generational time together with a substantive focus (worship, Bible study, topical study, mission project, etc.), an overt invitation to all, and attention to availability of the various segments of the congregation
  • development of a culture of listening well using structure/ground rules/covenanti­ng that are reiterated often
  • expanded means of communication

The willingness to work is there but needs organization and direction in terms of examining the leadership structure, getting real buy-in from the congregation before big decisions, developing deeper relationships with mission partners and those who share our space, and distinguishing between logistical and spiritual problems.

Thank you for your participation in this process! Your involvement and insights have paved the way for FBC to move into the next chapter of its ministry. If you have any questions about the transition facilitation process, please contact a member of the transition team made up of Shawn Hawkins (chair), Mike WardSally SmithGloria HodgesDavid WeatherspoonRobin MillerCherish Mathis, and April Blankenship.


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