Article submitted for the November 2019 Together:
In October editions of Table Talk, the transition team shared both the long-form notes from the September 29 congregational conversation and a summary of themes. (Both documents are linked from FBC’s website. Here are the team’s takeaways from all we read, heard, and observed:
The people of FBC love their church! It is an important locus of community for them.
That community is actually several different communities (Sunday School classes, small groups, etc.) contained within FBC. There are currently few venues for people to build relationships across groups. As the size of the congregation has changed, the things that have been let go because of decreased person-power have been fellowship-related. There is an openness – even a hunger – for this knowing and being known across classes and generations, though, as seen in the energy in the Fellowship Hall during the first congregational conversation.
Decreased opportunities to build relationships across groups have created communication gaps. The result, at times, has been confusion about what is going on and how to participate in decision-making. This has led to anxiety that has impacted trust in structures and procedures.
Knowing one another and feeling confident in structures and procedures are essential not only for having big conversations but also for moving ahead on what has been discussed. Without them, it is easy to fall into competing solutions rather than common hopes, making it difficult to follow initiatives through to implementation.
The transition team, then, is making trust-building a primary aim as FBC moves through the remaining focus points. We will aim to help people know and be known by those they’ve had little interaction with. We will be as communicative and transparent as we can be. We will foster fun as well as the generation of information and ideas around the focus points. With these aims in mind, all of us together can lay a foundation not just for strengthened relationships and processes, but also for faithful action. In doing so, FBC will ready itself for the calling of a settled pastor and for a bright future of mutual ministry.
Grace and peace,