By Jim Plemmons, Long Range Planning Committee Chairperson
The Long Range Planning Committee issued a Long-Range Strategic Plan for First Baptist Church in November, 2009. This plan was the result of many months of prayer, research, and reﬂ ection as the committee and staff sought discernment as to the direction our church should take. The plan is structured around six fundamental areas of the church. Within these areas, goals were established to INCREASE participation, IMPROVE quality, and INVITE others to join us.
We are nearing the half-way point in this ﬁ ve-year plan. The current Long Range Planning Committee has worked with councils and committees to assess our progress to date and to facilitate additional plans which will continue to move us forward. Of the 121 goals in the plan, 89 have already been completed or are in progress. Council and committee chairpersons will be sharing more about our accomplishments and plans over the coming weeks, but some key highlights from the six areas are summarized below:
The Outreach Council has worked on 17 of the 26 goals in the plan. Among their accomplishments are increased use of our church building by groups needing space, such as the Next Door prison ministry. Improved communication has resulted from ongoing “thank-you-monials” in worship to inform visitors of the ministries of the church through sharing of personal stories. Upcoming plans involve consideration of a coffee shop to serve our downtown neighbors as well as an art show, the Gallery at Main Street, during the First Friday downtown activities. A chili cook-off on the front lawn is also planned for 2012.
The Worship Council has completed or started seven of 18 goals. Among their successes are the placement of the Celebrating Grace hymnals and the initiation of Passage, a children’s worship service. The Living Lord’s Supper was also well-received. A new initiative began recently which involves a weekly visit to the Arbor Terrace Assisted Living facility during the televised worship service; a rotating group of former ministers is providing an opportunity for relationships that would otherwise be missing. An exciting and creative revival is planned for 2012.
Fellowship & Hospitality
The Fellowship Council has engaged in 14 of 15 goals. A recent success was the “Talentine” Banquet – a church-wide talent show which substituted for the regular Valentine’s Banquet. Incorporating a “Year in the Life” celebration video of FBC ministries during the Love Feast has met with success as have “fellowship lunches” after church during the Nativity Pageant and the Dogwood Arts Festival. Perhaps the most successful event has been the creation of the annual “Scoop and Swim,” a new twist on our church picnic each summer at Court South Beach. This year the Council is working on a staff appreciation luncheon and continuing to rework the fellowship dinners to connect with more people.
Ministry & Missions
The Missions Council has made progress on all 30 goals. Consistent with the objectives of the plan, the council has sought to make all missions activities more relational as opposed to simply providing services. A Food Co-op has begun which involves clients in all aspects of planning, organizing, and running the Co-op. The recent mission trip to the Texas border has enabled establishment of relationships through multiple visits to the same community. Completion of a Habitat for Humanity house in 2011 enabled us to partner with the homeowner as well as First Presbyterian Church in serving our community. Upcoming plans involve partnering with Restoration House (of Extreme Home Makeover fame) to mentor a single-parent family.
The Discipleship Council has completed or started seven of the 18 goals in the plan. Among their successes is the 2010 Fall Festival of Faith. A creative approach involving a set of rotating “master teachers” was employed during this discipleship emphasis. A training session was also conducted for Bible Study teachers. Planned for 2012 is the implementation of a new small group initiative.
The Finance Committee has worked on all 14 goals. The Generosity Task Force has proven to be a success. This lay-led group has publicized the great accomplishments of our various missions and ministries as well as the blessings received from giving sacriﬁ cially to further Christ’s kingdom. In addition, great strides have been made toward debt reduction through the policies implemented by this committee. They will continue to establish and enforce budget policies that support the strategic plans of the other councils.