We have been blessed by growth recently; and that is without much ‘intentionality’ on our part! Our Leadership Council is concerned with the implications—and hoped-for-expectations—of its continuing. Here is the question that was raised at our meeting last Saturday:
‘What happens when we add 30 more people in worship?’
That question opened a conversation that focused on the realities of our facility; both in the present moment and the not-too-distant future. Two main foci came into view, one logistical, the other missional. Let me explain:
The logistical is the easiest to discern. We are fast approaching the limits of our current space, both in terms of worship capacity, and in terms of secondary space. The question then becomes; what do we do then? Do we move to two services (effectively forming two churches) or seek a new facility? If we are to seek a new facility, do we seek to lease or to purchase; that is, do we seek another interim site (assuming there is one available) or a more permanent setting?
As an aside, let me assure you that the Council has agreed that IF a permanent site is in our future—whenever that future arrives—that we will enter it in partnership with other ministries; another church, or a school, or some other Christian ministry. This conviction is based on two factors: one, we cannot justify possessing a building that would not be used seven days a week; two, we do not see ourselves ever large enough to completely finance such a facility on our own. But this raises yet another question: Given this desire for partnership in any permanent action, if we are being led to consider such a move, are we also being led to ascertain that (those) partnership(s)?
As you can see, as you address one issue a host of other questions quickly come to the fore.
And what about the missional concern?
There are three primary ways that an Anglican church grows: Tribally, Attractionally, and Missionally. By ‘Tribally’, I mean the growth that occurs when people who are already Anglican, or who are on the proverbial ‘Canterbury Trail’, move into our area and seek us out. By ‘Attractionally’, I mean the growth that comes when members of our community invite friends and neighbors into our community, most often through our home groups. By ‘missionally’, I mean that growth that comes through our own active ministry in the wider community, both evangelistically and through compassionate service.
The reality is that we at Christ the Redeemer are seeing growth through the first two means- Tribally and Attractionally—but not yet from the third–Missionally. Why is that? And what impact might our current conception of our location have on that question?
Let me put that another way. We are actively engaged in supporting multiple ministries in and around Norfolk. Fully 5% of our budget is directed towards this end (Currently we support the Ghent Area Ministries, Park Place School, Focus Center, and the Foodbank of Southeast Hampton Road). However, we have not seen a true ‘partnership’ develop with any of these good and godly ministries. Why might that be?
Could it be partially because we have not settled on a permanent location? Because we can do ‘anything, anywhere’ (that is, we are able to choose to partner with any number of worthy missions regardless of their location), that this has impeded us from doing ‘something, somewhere’ (that is, discerning a specific partner within a specific location).
Would discerning a permanent location, and a permanent partner, unleash our missional growth?
These are the questions that are gripping the minds and hearts of our Leadership Council. On Saturday we authorized a search committee to begin to ascertain viable sites for lease or purchase on the west side of Norfolk. We also authorized a finance committee that is charged with addressing the financial implications of either a new lease (and renovation) or a possible purchase. If you are feeling called to participate in either of these endeavors, please let us know.
But for now, can I ask you to join with the Council in praying through these issues? Again, we do not want to think our way into strategy, we long to pray our way into them. Where is the Spirit leading us? What is the Spirit asking of us?
Pray for continued – and yes, ‘intentional’—growth; tribally, attractionally, and missionally;
Pray for our next site; and for whether it needs to be another interim one or a more permanent one;
Pray for the discernment of our specific, local, missional partner; one who will allow us to live into our local mission effectively, as well as bear the burden and the blessing of a ‘home’ together.
Pray, as in all things, that God’s will be done and God’s Kingdom come, even in and through these logistical and missional concerns.