Four congregations, First Christian Church - Cameron, First Christian Church - Centralia, First Christian Church - Chillicothe, and First Christian Church - Republic, have accepted the opportunity from CCMA to participate in the Hope Partnership New Beginnings program. Each submitted its application to take part in the process and the last week of April each congregation took part in an assessment.
Assessors met for a full day with each church. During the morning and afternoon there were conversations with the pastor, board chairperson, and financial leaders. In the afternoon the pastor, church leaders, and Regional Minister Team member embarked on a tour of the community. In the evening an evaluation and discussion time was held with members of the congregation. The assessors will now prepare a report to each congregation of how they evaluate what they learned. In addition, they will share four future stories of what the congregation may look like in five years if it chooses to take action in one of several options. The purpose of this is to help congregation have some ideas of its gifts and how God may be calling them to use those gifts. Each congregation is challenged to take a BOLD action or leap of faith. The decision is the congregation's, not a plan laid down by Hope Partnership.
In May leaders from each congregation will take part in a leadership training day. This will equip the pastors and leaders with the skills they will need in the coming year to move the congregation in its chosen bold action and to help sustain it as it moves toward its future. Personnel from Hope Partnership will remain available to assist if needed. but the decisions and actions of New Beginnings is the congregation's responsibility.
Story and photos courtesy of Rev. Dr. Larry Colvin.