Every so often, it’s helpful to take a step back from the day-to-day flow of life, duties, and obligations in order to reflect on end goals, big picture realities, and changing circumstances. Such times of reflection provide the opportunity to evaluate trajectories, assess effectiveness, and make mid-course corrections. This is true for personal reflections about one’s own life, which I like to do around New Year’s and early January. It’s also true for organizations, communities, and churches.
This Sunday is Vision Sunday, a day in which our whole congregation is invited to share in a process of prayerful reflection as we consider together our future. This, of course, is part of a visioning process our elders introduced in January, when they commissioned a team of 11 church members representing a cross section of our congregation to research community trends, gather congregational input, and reflect together on the question, “What can our church become to model God’s kingdom in the Conejo Valley in 2043?” This group includes Jon Mullican, a church consultant from HOPE Network Ministries, as well as Vincent Chambers, Jonathan Ditmore, John Downey, Eliza Erickson, Brittany Joyner, Kipp Landis, Daniel Overton, Suzanne Reynolds, David Rhoades, Andy Wall, and Penny White.
As part of this process, you are invited to participate in a congregational input session this Sunday, February 19, from noon to 4pm. This time includes lunch and will provide an opportunity for the congregation to participate in this process of envisioning our shared future. Please join us for this important time of reflecting, visioning, and prayer. Contact John Downey, the vision team chair, if you have further questions.
A question that several have asked related to this visioning process is, “Why are we thinking so far ahead? Twenty years is a long way into the future and it’s impossible to anticipate all the twists and turns to come. Plus, who knows where I’ll be in 20 years?” These are fair questions. My sense is that we’re not trying to answer the “How” question but the “What” question. “How” wrestles with short-term tactics and quick-response solutions to ever-changing circumstances. “What” is about durable commitments and long-term strategies, about “What kind of church does God want us to be 20 years from now?”
As we come out of several years of the pandemic and fully re-engage with our community, now does feel like an opportune time to gather and reflect as a church family on our shared future. May God bless and guide us as we engage together in this process.