Thursday, April 26, 2007

ask anything speed round

For six months we've been informing and inviting feedback about our Building on the Legacy Vision. Based on the overwhelmingly supportive feedback and the unity of our elders, staff and broader leadership we have moved forward by faith.

But even this last week, a few have come forward with questions. If at all possible, I want you with us, so let's get those questions answered.

I tried to answer some of the most commonly asked questions in last Sunday's message, but with three days before the Celebration Pledge Banquet, I thought I could use the forum here at "Life Together" to tackle a few more.

So here, once more, is a formal invitation to get your questions asked and answered. At the end of the day, we may still disagree, but hopefully we will have heard and understood one another. You can email me your questions, ask them in an anonymous comment or whatever and I will attempt to answer them as quickly, straightforwardly and succinctly as I can. Because of time constraints, my answers will be "quick and dirty" and "from the hip", rather than theological dissertations . . . .

To get things started, here are the questions I tried to directly or indirectly address in last Sunday's message:

  1. Why continue to build a Place?

    We believe planning by faith for the next 25 years and beyond is good stewardship, especially given 1.) our hope for continued growth in the church, 2.) our landlocked footprint, and 3.) anticipated changes and growth in our community. We sure don't need a place to worship, but we believe it's a helpful gift. The church is not a building, but meets in a building. Furthermore, as I tried to show last Sunday, I believe that God validates and blesses the whole idea of place and matter throughout the Scriptures. Our spirituality is an embodied spirituality rooted in place. Not, any more, one specific ordained place, but place nonetheless.

    (Incidentally, when I compared the temple to Grace Church in my message, the comparison was intended to be a loose, general comparison, not a tight, one-to-one correspondence. I was careful in what I did not say. Clearly, Grace Church is not equivalent to the Temple, where the Glory of God rested. My point was that even then the people gave by faith for a place of worship. We do the same. I think God blessed their faith then, and I think that God has blessed the faith those before us at Grace. I believe we stand squarely in the stream of Biblical practice in our continuing prayers, planning for our place of worship.)

  2. The vision seems undefined in some ways. What about the uncertainties of the future?

    The people of David's day gave 1.) toward an eternal future, 2.) toward the future of their community, 3.) toward the future of the next generation and 4.) toward a future that was uncertain and unknown. I believe that our vision, too, also has all these future components. But our vision, like the future, is full of contingencies. We know much more about Annex Renewal than we do about Property Acquisition. By faith, we are trying to do our best to prepare and lay a financial foundation for an uncertain, unknown future, even as the people of David's day did. While we could come to the congregation when an opportunity arrived, we do not think that strategic prayer and planning is opposed to faith, but an opportunity for faith. We trust a Sovereign God who holds the future in His hand. As we'll discover in this week's message, our vision of God will determine our vision of the future.

    The faithful Lord may have other plans for us. We'll only discover those plans as we continue to pray, live and give by faith. As leadership, we feel compelled to ask, "What next, Lord?"

  3. What's up with this Parking Priority?

    If there's been a spot of misunderstanding it's been in this area. By highlighting parking as a vision priority, we are simply identifying it as an area for continued planning for the future. When we lose the Osos lot and if our church continues to grow, we'll need to have a plan. We're trying to develop that plan now.

    No one wants to purchase a parking lot! That is not our aim. The acquisition of a nearby property may help us meet some of our city mandated staff parking requirements, but that would not be our primary reason for purchasing a property.

    The parking issue is a complex issue involving city requirements and congregational needs, present and future concerns. We are not looking at this issue so that we can all be more comfortable and not have to walk very far when they come to church. We are looking at this issue, because we believe it is of crucial concern for our seniors, handicapped folks, visitors, neighbor and city relations, and long term growth.

  4. Why a Celebration Pledge Banquet? Isn't that a waste of money?

    1. Celebration: A Biblical desire to eat and drink before the Lord with gladness. God is worthy of our celebration. This is the Biblical pattern in 1 Chronicles 29. The people pledged and partied. We celebrated God's faithfulness over 75 years a year ago. It seemed fitting to the planners to return to that very spot to celebrate as we look forward to the next 25 years.

    2. Space Constraints: We simply can't fit 525 people for dinner on our facility. We think there is great value for us to be together as we pledge, rather than spread across three worship services.

    3. Desire to Involve All: Our All Church Events Team does so much throughout the year. We refused to burden them with an event of this magnitude. We want them to celebrate with us. Outsourcing as much as we can enables us all to enjoy the evening together.

    Let me toss in one more question that came up after the third hour on Sunday . . .

  5. Why are we talking so much about "our legacy?" Why is the legacy "plastered on the walls" and such? Why is there so much talk Building on the Legacy?

    First, the legacy is not ours, but the Lords. God has been faithful. Whatever we have accomplished, He has done. He commands us over and over to remember the wondrous work that He has done. All of our information is intended to be a part of our celebration of God's work among us and in spite of us. In the Scriptures, looking back on God's faithfulness is meant to be a stimulus to live by faith in the future. This has been our intent throughout. If this has not been clear, please understand that now.

    Second, our purpose in spending so much time (6 mos) talking about the Building on the Legacy Vision is the same of my purpose in this post: To properly and effectively inform the congregation and invite feedback and questions. Despite all the vision forums, service spots, newsletters, brochures and emails, some poeple still have misunderstood parts and pieces of the vision. Part of that is the nature of our church. We figure there is at least 1/3 of our church family missing from the worship services on any given Sunday. Part of that is the complexity and multidimensional character of the vision. Given the sheer amount of information that people are processing today, they need to hear important information multiple times and in different ways.
There's "from the hip" answers to 5 frequently asked questions. You're hearing it, not from the horse's mouth, but from the pastor's mouth (or more accurately, his keyboard!). I hope that's helpful.

What questions do you have?

If no one submits questions, I'll submit a few more of my own over the next three days.

Let the "ask anything speed round" begin . . . .


Kim said...

Hey Pastor Tim,

I just wanted to let you know that we are excited about the banquet this Sunday. We have been attending Grace since January, and are blow away at the warmth and love that radiates from the body of Christ at Grace church. It feels weird that I'm so suprised, but with the way many Christian communities can be now a days, it is rare to find one that has it's arms open wide.

I really appreciate that and God has really blessed us since we arrived. Now, our goal is to get involved and serve this community.

Oh yes, and the pastor that leads this church is awesome!

For His Glory,

Kim Harvey

GoWoCo said...

Great thoughts Tim.

I've always appreciated you 'lifting Jesus' as first. First in everything.

O' that we might see Jesus!