Monday, June 16, 2008

POC Visits

Grace Church is without question a dynamic ministry! I am just in awe at what I see God doing in this place on a regular basis. Each year attendance and offerings continue to grow and many lives are changed through the power of Christ. Each and every day I hear another story of how God is using our ministry to literally meet people where they are and help move them to where He wants them to be.

However, as is the case with all churches, Grace also has some weaknesses and some vulnerability. We certainly do not have our heads in the ground regarding these issues. The Staff and Elder leadership of our church realizes that our main weakness is in the fact that though our numbers continue to grow month by month in regards to our Sunday morning attendance, the vast majority of those who attend Grace Church are not connected outside of our worship services. Only 20% of our adults are involved in one of Adult Bible Fellowship Classes that we call ABF’s. Though these ABF classes are very good, they simply aren’t effective in getting these hundreds of new people coming to our church each year connected into intimate and transparent relationships and friendships where real growth and care takes place.

As a result, our ministry and lay leadership has set our direction as a church into developing an effective small group ministry where people can effectively connect with God, with Grace Church, and with one another. We see this as the most pressing need of our church in the immediate future. We don’t just want to start some small groups and be a church with small groups. We want to see small groups become the backbone of our ministry as we become a church of small groups. If we succeed in this, we will become a much stronger church that is ready to go to the next level of effectiveness in meeting people and moving people. If we do not succeed, we will most likely become a large yet weak church that ultimately implodes.

As you know, we have already begun training small group leaders with the goal and aim to launch our first phase of small groups this fall. At the same time we are seeking to hire the right person to be our Pastor of Connections here at Grace Church who will oversee as well as administrate our small group ministry and emphasis. Our Search and Interview committees in this process have currently narrowed down the field of prospective candidates for this position to two men. Beginning this week, my wife and I will be flying out to visit with each of these men and their wives. We will be gone June 18-21 making the first visit, and then after being back home for just 2 days in order to preach on Sunday, June 22, we will head back out for a second visit on June 24-27.

These visits are not interviews, but rather a chance for me to get to know these potential candidates and likewise for them to get to know me as their possible new boss. After these visits, I will discuss each person with the steering committee that is helping me in this search and decide if it is time to bring one or maybe both of these men to Lititz for a formal interview. Please be praying for these visits, these men, and the future of Grace!

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