VISION TEAM REPORT. Our mission is to help people become more Christlike by Loving God, Serving Others, and Growing Disciples

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1 VISION TEAM REPORT Our mission is to help people become more Christlike by Loving God, Serving Others, and Growing Disciples

2 Introduction Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18, KJV) These challenging words from the Bible have led First Baptist Church to seek God s vision. The report you hold is the recommendation of the Vision Team. Please prayerfully consider if this is God s vision for the future of our church. Begin with the simple question, What is a vision? Everywhere we turn these days we hear this word. Businesses that thrive have a sense of vision. Go to any book store and you will find numerous books on the subject of vision. In Visionary Leadership Burt Nanus defines vision as a realistic, credible, attractive future for your organization. Nanus also stresses the importance of vision when he writes, There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-ranged success than an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for the future, widely shared. Vision creates a long-range sense of purpose and energy for all who share it. But how does vision apply to a church? Is it the same thing as you might find in business? A paraphrase of the definition above applies this subject to the church. A vision is God s realistic, credible, attractive future for a church. This means that a vision for the church comes from the mind and the heart of God. In fact, in scripture the word often translated vision is rendered revelation in the New International Version. This reminds us that the vision for a church is not a human invention but is a divine revelation for us to see and to hear. This vision builds on the past and the present but it always looks to the future. As Christians we believe that God holds the future in the palm of his hand. Therefore we can also trust him to know the best direction and plan for his church in the days and years that lie ahead. In 2009 First Baptist Church in Huntsville will be the first church associated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention to reach 200 years of age. This notable anniversary gives us a target as we look ahead. What kind of church does God want us to be on our big birthday? This report offers recommendations that seek to answer that question. In preparing this document, the Vision Team used the following to collectively seek God s vision for our church: A South Carolina Baptist Convention planning resource called Thy Kingdom Come for: o Focusing on the areas of church life: Worship, Evangelism, Spiritual Growth, Ministry Development, Congregational Life, and Missions. o Questions used in the summer of 2004 church-wide survey. o Guiding the August and September six congregation listening sessions.

3 A Season of Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting for the entire congregation to offer prayer support for the work of the Vision Team. Each member s unique background and varied experience in church life. The six areas of church life form the outline for the Vision Team recommendations. Rather than using existing program areas such as age-level divisions, the recommendations are structured around these six primary purposes of the church. They can apply to all ages and will give a point of reference for the future in all current program areas. The Vision Team sought to build on our strengths and maximize areas where we are currently very effective in ministry. At the same time we need to expand how we reach people and plan for new ventures in ministry in ministry to prepare First Baptist Church for the future. The Vision Team is proposing one primary idea or goal in each of the six purpose areas of the church that, if accomplished and worked together, will have a significant impact on the life of our church. The recommendations do not cover the entire scope of what will be done in these areas of ministry but focus on new initiatives. Rather than a long list of action items, the Vision Team believes that a few new ventures done well would have a significant positive outcome. Read the report carefully. Listen to the presentation by the Vision Team. Listen for what God may be saying to you as we seek God s vision for our future. Developing the Vision Team elected by church: April 7, 2004 Planning resource - Thy Kingdom Come: May July 04 Church-wide survey: May Listening sessions with the congregation, ministers, and staff: Aug.-Sept. Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting: fall 04 Processing and drafting Vision recommendations: Weekly meeting, Sept. 04- Jan. 05 Focusing the Vision Build on our strengths Reach and minister to all people Establish new initiatives, manage existing programs, and look toward the future. Pray and seek God s will

4 Structure the Vision around the the six primary purposes of the church: Worship Evangelism Spiritual Growth Ministry Development Congregational Life Missions Our Vision is... We will accomplish this mission through the following Vision for our church: Glorifying God Introducing Friends Growing Disciples Serving Others Connecting Members Sending Christians Worship Our worship serves as a dress rehearsal for eternity for believers and as a powerful witness to unbelievers. (Revelation 4 and 5) Our vision is to be a church that is Glorifying God through worship. We will offer multiple worship services that will give people the opportunity to express their worship to God through various styles, settings, and traditions. We will begin an early Sunday morning worship service that is multi-sensory in method, contemporary in musical style, casual in dress, celebratory in atmosphere, and evangelistic in focus. The Vision Team suggests that, with the inception of the early service, a seasonal calendar be adopted for congregational worship. This approach will

5 promote unity and commonality in the First Baptist congregation while recognizing our diversity by worshiping in two services through different styles. The seasonal calendar would be as follows: Beginning of the school year until Advent Two morning services Advent and Christmas One service January until the end of school year Two morning services Summer One service Implementation: The Pastor and Minister of Music will be responsible for selecting a Worship Leadership Team and working with them to give direction to this new service Resources: Volunteers will be needed. Budget money will be needed for worship resources. A location for the service will need to be selected. Time Line: Work to begin this new service will start immediately. The projected start date for the service is September Evangelism Our Lord has told us that the fields are white for harvest and he has given us the Great Commission. (John 4:35; Matthew 28:18-20) Our vision is to be a church that is Introducing Friends to Christ. In an effort to become more outward-focused in our ministry, we will combine relational evangelism through the individual lives of our church members, servant evangelism through the congregational life of the church, and creative publicity to share the good news of Christ with our community. The church will offer training that is designed to help members confidently and effectively share their faith with friends and acquaintances. This training will be teamed with a relational evangelism emphasis in the church called INVEST,

6 INVITE, INTRODUCE. This emphasis will encourage members to invest in the lives of people they know, invite them to church, and introduce them to Christ. Servant evangelism will be used to help move our congregation beyond the walls of our building into the community. Servant evangelism meets the needs of people in our community through service that shares the love of Jesus with our world. We will establish mass communication messages that introduce Christ to seekers while introducing FBC. These messages should be integrated in a comprehensive strategy through electronic and print media. Implementation: Minister of Missions and Outreach and Outreach and Evangelism Team will be responsible for giving leadership to these efforts. Resources: The greatest resource cost will be money budgeted for the mass communication efforts to our community. Time Line: The relational evangelism and servant evangelism efforts can begin immediately in Spiritual Growth We are commanded to mature so that the image of Christ is formed in us. (Colossians 1:9-14) Our vision is to be a church that is Growing Disciples. Sunday School will remain the primary spiritual growth ministry and relational connecting point within the church. Renewed emphasis will be given to teacher training, beginning new units, providing the best curriculum for study, and involving new people in Sunday School classes. A church-wide network of small groups (6-15 people) will be created. These groups will provide opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer support, Bible study, missions service, and caring for each other. They will meet in the church building or in homes located in strategic geographical areas across our county. Some groups may be short-term, others

7 ongoing. Some may meet on Sunday nights, and others at various times during the week. Space allocation for Sunday School will be reviewed in order to evaluate location and growth potential for classes. Implementation: The Faith Development Staff, under the leadership of the Associate Pastor for Faith Development will give leadership to this effort working with the Discipleship and Faith Development Work Group. Resources: Volunteer leaders and budget resources for curriculum are needed. Time Line: A church-wide network of small groups will take some time to develop. The projected start date is fall Ministry Development Our personal and corporate growth will be demonstrated in ministry to others. (Ephesians 4:1-32) Our vision is to be a church that is Serving Others. Our goal will be to involve every member in some form of ministry that matches his/her Spiritual gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality, and Experiences (SHAPE). A Ministry Development system will be designed that will help people discover their SHAPE and then match their ministry resources with the needs in the church and community. Regular opportunities will be given for people to volunteer for a ministry in the church. New members will experience this ministry development system as a part of an orientation to the church. Ministry staff members will be assigned leadership roles in equipping members of all ages for ministry.

8 Realizing that our church has a responsibility to encourage people who have experienced a calling to vocational ministry, a partnership with seminaries/divinity schools will be explored for the purpose of creating ministry residency opportunities that would allow interns to serve within our church as a part of their Ministry Development. Implementation: Because ministry is for all within the life of the church, the Pastor will lead the entire ministerial staff to work in conjunction with the Members in Ministry Committee and the Deacons to bring about implementation. Resources: Training opportunities that allow learning from other Equipping Churches will be pursued. Budget funds will be needed for ministry interns. Housing for ministry interns could be provided by using a house(s) owned by the church. Time Line: Emphasis and training related to every member being in ministry will begin immediately in The church-wide ministry development system will take time to develop. The projected date is fall Congregational Life Our church will foster the sense of unity and community that was experienced by the early church. (Acts 2:42-47) Our vision is to be a church that is Connecting Members to one another. In an effort to introduce newcomers to the mission and vision of our congregation, a Connections class will be offered on a regular basis. In this class the mission and vision of the church will be shared, specifically helping the newcomers to see how they might connect to the life of the church in the six areas used in this Vision Team Report. In addition to the Connections class and the network of small groups mentioned in the Spiritual Growth section previously, a system of ministry mentors will be developed throughout the life of the congregation. This one-on-one approach will be effective in connecting new people to the life of the congregation. Further uses may be made of a ministry mentoring system in areas such as marriage enrichment, new Christian discipling, parenting assistance, vocational and life skills, prayer partners, and other areas.

9 Implementation: The Pastor will work with the ministerial staff and the Deacons to begin the Connections class. The Minister to Young and Median Adults and the Minister to Experienced Adults will give leadership to the system of ministry mentors. Resources: Volunteers will be needed as ministry mentors. Time Line: The Connections class and the beginning of a system of ministry mentors will be in place by the fall of Missions Our church has the challenge of being a local/global missions center. (Acts 1:8; 13:2-3) Our vision is to be a church that is Sending Christians into the world. All currently established mission projects and services will appoint one representative to serve on an advisory council which will assist the Minister of Missions and Outreach in the funding, oversight, coordination and promotion of the resources and programs for mission and outreach service opportunities available within FBC, Madison County, Alabama, SBC, CBF, and the world. A facility will be established and located on the church property to house both missions and community services. By co-locating these ministries of First Baptist, synergy and coordination of services will be greatly enhanced and visible to all. The Vision Team encourages the members and staff of FBC to work with and through other missions oriented churches to more effectively serve the needs of others.

10 To provide encouragement and support for career missionaries, as well as raising missions awareness within the life of our church, one or more missionary houses will be established for missionaries who are on stateside assignment. To facilitate a seamless integration of missions introduction, needs assessment and opportunities for service, FBC should institute a curriculum continuum which starts in pre-school and extends through our experienced adult members. This curriculum should be flexible enough so that anyone desiring involvement in missions can learn, volunteer, and be able to discover opportunities which best fit their interests, desires, and gifts. Implementation: The Minister of Missions and Outreach will be the staff leader in these efforts. In addition, a Leadership Team will be formed to plan and implement the proposed missions facility. The Trustees of the church will be involved in matters where facilities are concerned such as the missions facility and the missionary house. Resources: Funds will be needed to establish the missions facility. Ongoing budget money will need to be allocated for the ministry of the missions facility. Budget funds will be needed for a missionary home. Housing for missionaries could be provided by using a house(s) owned by the church. Time Line: Work will begin immediately on the Missions Facility and the formation of the Missions Council, with the projected opening of the facility in Missionary House available for occupancy by mid Our Vision is... Glorifying God Introducing Friends Growing Disciples Serving Others Connecting Members Sending Christians

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