May 24, 2018

And Now….After Sunday’s vote, what happens next?

25 May 18

After Sunday’s vote, what happens next?

This past Sunday, at a Called Church Conference, the members of First Baptist Church voted by an 88% margin to press ahead with the future staffing proposal recommended by the Personnel Committee, the Future Story Steering Committee and the Board of Deacons.  That being so, this blog post is a brief description of what happens next, but before we get there, please embrace the call to what happens first, viz.  YOU be the person God has called you to be within the Body of Christ known as First Baptist Church!!

Open the doors and see all the people!

The truth is this, “God himself set the members in the body as it has pleased him” (1 Cor. 12:18).  You are a member of First Baptist Church because, as a follower of Jesus and saved by his grace through faith, God brought you to this church.  Your life, therefore, is integral to the ministry and mission of our church as we serve together into the future.  YOU are needed here because God believes you are supposed to be here – you just read that truth from his Word!!  So, thank you for your prayers for these next steps.  Thank you for your presence as we worship together and serve together. And, thank you for your faithfulness to be the church God has called you to be to make his difference in the heart of Shelby.

We are at a strategic crossroads in our history.  It is strategic because the decisions we make next will position us to minister with strength into the next decades. Thank you for your putting feet on your prayers as we walk together into what happens next.

The Search is On!

At last Sunday’s Church Conference, the message that we heard was simply put, “once we make this decision, let’s move on it and not draw out the time.” So, the very next thing that will happen is that our Nominating Committee will nominate to the Church in Conference the following:

  • An Interim Pastor Search Committee
  • A Lead Pastor Search Committee
  • A Worship Arts Pastor Search Committee

Anticipating that this would be the case, the Nominating Committee had already been praying about potential members of search committees and they have, this week, begun to call and ask members to pray about serving as search committee members.   The next steps are sure enough underway!  As soon as the Nominating Committee is ready with their nominees, we will call a Church Conference to elect the search committees.  So, please watch for that announcement and come to help make those decisions.  We are thankful for this year’s Nominating Committee: Tony Burnette, chair,  Jessica Jones, Susan McConnell, Tina Still and Allen Wedincamp.

The Transitions!

The following transitions will be made by our current ministers little by little over the next several months as we live into the proposal that our church has adopted:

  • Tony Tench will transition to Executive Connections Pastors when an Interim Pastor is called to serve with us. “Executive” in the title means he will be functioning as business manager while helping systems be ready for an actual Business Manager as soon as possible.
  • Carol Ann Hoard will transition to Youth and Faith Community Pastor as the new year begins in 2019.
  • Missy Smith will transition to Children and Families Pastor upon graduation from seminary later in 2019.
  • Perry Holleman will retire at the end of this year and transition to part-time Senior Adult Pastor.

Also, as we finish up the renovations to our Sanctuary we will be looking to call out a part-time Technology Coordinator to lead in the tech needs of our church and the training of volunteers as we begin to use new equipment in the Sanctuary.

Future Story Steering Committee!

Architects rendering of the Sanctuary

Since 2014, we have been blessed by a very faithful team of members who have led in the follow through of the Future Story Fulfillment Map that our church envisioned for the coming 10 years of ministry.  This committee was charged with three main directions:  (1) branding, (2) buildings, and (3) staffing.   The branding component was accomplished first as our church adopted a new logo and colors and we began using them in all publications.  This part of the work also positioned us to launch a new website that has given us a greater and more engaging internet presence.  The building component took a while to flesh out but eventually the details came together and we are currently now living into them via the renovations to our Sanctuary, the creation of a Welcome Center and a Youth Center, along with upgrades to the Breezeway and restrooms nearest the Sanctuary. Now, with the adoption of the future staffing recommendation last Sunday, the staffing portion of the committee’s charge has been set into motion.

Welcome Center adjacent to Sanctuary

Concurrently, our ministries have been working to accomplish several other areas of strategic need from our Future Story Fulfillment Map [The map is attached at the end of this blog post].  We have made such good progress in the various steps along the way.  As our Deacons met on Sunday night, they realized that either we have accomplished the varied parts of the map OR the new staffing plan is addressing the parts of the map OR the on-going parts of the map are always, well, “on-going.”  That being so, they agreed that we can release the Future Story Steering Committee from its overall work. They have served us faithfully.   Of course, the Capital Campaign Future Story Group will continue to meet until we are at the end of the building project, but they were a separate group from the Future Story Steering Committee.  On that note, thanks to everyone for your pledge commitments – keep them coming on time – we are tracking so very well in receipts toward our goal!

Thanks to the members of the Future Story Steering Committee:

Youth Center, 3rd-Floor B-Building

Bob Watson, Chair, Jessica Bridges, Webb Cabiness, Mike Gammons, Dana Graves, David Grose, Jack Hamrick, Millie Holbrook, Stephen Padgett, Linton Suttle, Stephen Wallace, Tara Warrick, Jane Young, Eduardo Steibel, Deacon Chair, Chuck Burch, Deacon Chair, Jim Corn, Deacon Chair, Carol Ann Hoard, Perry Holleman, Missy Smith and Tony Tench.

Thank you for your prayers for our church over these next months.  We are at an exciting juncture in our history and God has so much he is looking to do through our faithfulness in the process.

And now…

The Story in Our Logo

We continue to remember who we are – a story well-told by our logo:

Jesus said, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself.” Thus, atop our spire in the logo, we lift high the cross of Jesus! His death there brought him into the depth of our reality – he bore our sufferings, our sins, and our griefs. He understands the cries and questions of our hearts and draws us into the merciful arms of God’s love. Our new logo celebrates this blessing!

The Two Crosses in the tag line are there to remind us, first, of Jesus’ death which demonstrates that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us, and second, of Jesus’ call to discipleship as he says to us, “If anyone would come after me, they must deny themselves, take up their cross daily and follow me!”

The word CHURCH is at the heart of our logo. It is because we are the ‘church’ – ‘called out’ to follow Jesus. Jesus, who declared, “I will build my church and the gates of death will not prevail against it.” That’s who we are – people who confess that Jesus is the son of the living God – our Lord, our Savior, who calls us to live the way of his kingdom in Shelby.

The colors of purple and green come right from our sanctuary stained glass. The lead theme in each of our tall, narrow windows is the ‘vine and branches’. We see the clusters of purple grapes hanging beneath the green leaves on the branch upon entrance to the sanctuary. Jesus said, “I am the vine and you are the branches, the one who abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit. But, without me you can do nothing.” These colors expect from us a growing relationship with Jesus.

“Community” — Just as God said through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile,’ God intends for his church to make the greatest impact in our community! He’s called us as believers to be “one” so that Shelby and Cleveland County will know him. We walk together, a community of Christ Followers, to know him and make him known in our Shelby community.

“Compassion” — Jesus looked out over his town and said, ‘How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.’ And, at another time, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. His compassion for us now is to live through us as we share our faith and his love in Shelby.

“Service” — Jesus said that he did not come to be served but to serve. He also said there is no greater love than to lay down our lives for our friends. So, here at First Baptist Church, we are seeking to live ‘on purpose’ as Jesus’ presence in Shelby. Like Jesus, we seek to live life beyond ourselves.

Mission in the Heart of Shelby

“Community, Compassion, Service” — a noun, an emotion, and a behavior. “Community” is who we are, loving one another and then loving our neighbors. “Compassion” is what we feel, as our hearts break for our friends and neighbors who hurt, are lost in sin, and struggle against life’s burdens. “Service” is what we do, as each one does his or her part to ‘serve one another humbly’ (Gal. 5:13)

“The Circle and the Point”– Since 1847, First Baptist Church has lived to celebrate and to share the unending love of God with a world in need of a Savior. The ‘circle’, therefore, reminds us of that never-ending love, the full extent of which was shown us by Jesus’ death on the cross. The circle also represents the world and inside the circle is our church spire denoting our place in Shelby, and in the world, from which we ‘point’ people to Jesus who saves us from sin and who saves us for his kingdom work transforming the world around us.