In September 2015, our church entered a multi-month season of prayer, fasting, spiritual renewal, and discernment that culminated in May 2016 with our new Vision statement (“Vision 2016”). By God’s grace and through his strength, we will spend the next 3-5 years working toward accomplishing Christ’s Vision for our church.
Here is a brief timeline of the Vision discernment process. When available, links are provided to original communication items that contain more information.
- September – November: Preparing our hearts to hear from God (“being precedes doing”)
- A three-month period of time for spiritual renewal.
- Community Groups did the Experiencing God Bible Study.
- Revive sermon series focusing on spiritual renewal and revival.
- 40 days of prayer and fasting.
- December: Preferred future vision feedback
- Partners had the opportunity to participate in one of two vision meetings facilitated by Earl Gray of Sparkplug Coaching, LLC.
- One post-Worship Gathering feedback opportunity was made available for those who could not participate in a vision meeting.
- January-March: Vision feedback categorization
- Elders, Deacons, and their wives reviewed the feedback from the vision meetings (see above) and categorized the feedback into 8 macro categories.
- The categories were distributed to the Partnership who then had the opportunity to choose 3 of the 8 categories that they believed God wanted us to act on during our next season of ministry.
- March: Partnership Retreat
- Partners who attended the Retreat crafted vision word pictures for the 5 categories that received the most votes (see “Vision feedback categorization” above).
- April-May: Elders crafted Vision statement
- The Elders reviewed the vision word pictures from the Partnership Retreat and crafted a vision statement from them.
- The vision statement was presented at the Partnership meeting on Sunday, May 22, 2016 and then discussed during the sermon, “Ephesians Part 7: Unity in Christ” (CLICK TO LISTEN).
Three guiding themes
After reviewing the vision word pictures from the Partnership Retreat, the Elders noted these 3 themes that were evident:
- Mission is the driving emphasis. Result-oriented missions and evangelism must be the driving emphasis of Vision 2016.
- Families are the strategic focus. The evangelization and discipling of both children and families must be the strategic focus of the next 3-5 years of ministry.
- Discipleship is the critical need. Discipleship must consist of an intentional and clear pathway that involves training, leadership development, and increased ownership among all Partners of the call to disciple someone.
The Elders determined that Christ’s vision for our church reflects these 3 themes.
Every person a lamp for Christ;
Every family a lighthouse of salvation;
Every Community Group a refuge of faith, hope, and love;
Our church a Gospel city on a hill.
Every person a lamp for Christ…
We will equip every believer in our church to live an evangelistic lifestyle so that those with whom we have regular contact know a committed Christian and how to become one.
Every family a lighthouse of salvation…
Every husband and wife, parent and child, single adult, and grandparent in our church will actively pursue discipleship to Christ so that our homes are known as places where the Bible is read regularly, prayer is practiced daily, generosity is cheerfully embraced, and hospitality is shown to the nations.
Every Community Group a refuge of faith, hope, and love…
We will gather regularly in Community Groups to apply Scripture and live out our Christian faith, hope, and love in spiritual community so that the lost, marginalized, forgotten, and hopeless find refuge in Christ.
Our church a Gospel city on a hill…
As a church Body, we will be good neighbors to those who live, work, and play in the Ellicott City historic district area so that our church is known as a people in whom the Spirit of God dwells.
(Note: The historic district area includes Roger Carter Community Center, Burgess Mill neighborhood, Main Street (businesses, residents, tourists, and patrons), Howard County government offices and court, and the police and sheriff departments.)