I love telling the story of how our 2015 Vision Statement came to fruition. It was this past May and our session was hunkered down at Davidson College Presbyterian Church one beautiful Saturday afternoon for our annual session retreat. Art Ross, my pastoral coach and our session’s consultant, was leading a discussion on how, as the spiritual leaders of the church, our session is tasked with honoring the past while leading forward into the future. And as the sun shone through the large windows of the church’s Congregation House, it was as if the light revealed exactly what our elders needed to see…
Over the next few months, through follow-up meetings and numerous emails, the members of the 2014 session created a bold vision for the coming year – one that lays out why what we do matters, as well as what we plan to do. As someone who has gone through this process with other churches, I was struck by how well the group coalesced around the task at hand and how quickly the vision materialized. What this tells me is that this vision had already been there for some time, waiting for the right moment to be tapped into and revealed. Indeed, God is good!
For months since, I have been telling you how proud I am of the session and the strength of their leadership, which is absolutely crucial for any church desiring to move forward. But what I want to make clear is that I not only support the session, I support their vision as well. In my opinion, it is a perfect blend of continuing meaningful traditions and ministries while being very intentional about pursuing new initiatives that match well with our congregation’s culture. The plan to eliminate the budgeted deficit in four years is a particularly bold but very necessary goal that thrills me to the core. I’ve shared this vision statement with many ministerial colleagues of mine, and they agree – this is the sign of a strong session and a strong church, and a God who is in the midst of doing great things with both.
There is nothing in this vision that is too much of a reach; to “out there” for us to attain. At the same time, there is much in this vision that cannot be realized if we as a congregation simply maintain our normal levels of giving and support. Make no mistake: this vision will require a lot of us. It will require us to become “generous givers” in our time, talents and treasure. But this vision is undoubtedly worth our individual and collective efforts to bring to fruition – of this, your session and I are convinced. If there has ever been a time in Trinity’s history for something like this to take place, it is now.
As I shared in the Montreat worship service, I love that our church refers to the conclusion of our Stewardship journey as “Response Sunday.” The language makes the correct theological assertion that God has acted first – in this particular case, providing our spiritual leaders with a vision for the coming year. Thus, it is our turn to respond. And my hope and prayer is that, if you haven’t already as part of our worship service, you will in the coming days.
We have a vision, my friends – and where there is a vision, the people most certainly flourish. And for that, thanks be to God!