Bringing to Life God’s Story in Us
Across the spring, the Center for Congregations has helped First Baptist Church of Asheville craft its “desired future” statements. These hopes are based on the stories 285 of our church members and friends told to one another as we met around tables early in 2018. The five declarations set the horizons we see as the Spirit leads our walk together.
Now, our ministry councils have been assigned the task of breathing life into each of these statements. Over the spring and summer, the councils will work to identify new relationships or programs as well as strengthen some of the things we do best. In everything we do, we will remember relationships (personas) and begin with where we are best. Beginning with our assets will make the most difference. You’ve heard this before. Lead with your strengths!
Here are our five desired future statements:
- First Baptist will be a place where the parable path of Jesus is a way of life.
- First Baptist will be a church that welcomes and includes all in a way consistent with God’s love and wisdom.
- First Baptist will wrap its arms around the city of Asheville.
- Worship and music will remain essential and move beyond the doors of the church.
- First Baptist will be a church of spiritual transformation grounded in Scriptural imagination, communal discernment, and lived faith.
Consider these invitations as you pray for our leaders and ministry councils as they come together to respond to God’s calling in these statements:
- Imagine following Jesus in ways that leave our community surprised and convinced of the truth of the resurrection of Jesus.
- Listen for God’s loving voice inviting us to open wide the doors of our congregation to the all who are our neighbors.
- Consider the commitments it would take to wrap our arms around the city of Asheville.
- Capture a sense of the joy of our music and worship moving out across our city.
- Open to the transformation that unfolds as we journey in prayer, sit with the scriptures, and covenant together to live our faith.
Imagine the Faces of God’s Children
How do you discover our church’s vision for the future? One place to begin is with the stories about people who might be reached if First Baptist Church of Asheville lives into God’s dream for us. At the Center for Congregations, they call such “made-up” stories personas. They are the imagined tales of people God can love through us if only we offer God’s friendship openly and without limit. In addition, personas represent partners who bring real gifts of time and talent to join with us in sharing the good news. They help us begin with relationships as we shape our desired future as Jesus’ followers. Here are some personas from deacons and councils…
A Family Affair
This family has one teenage daughter and one elementary-aged son. They are regular attenders of another church in town, participating mainly in worship. This past year, their daughter joined the Asheville Youth Choir, and after being invited by some of the other teens in her grade, began staying after AYC and attending the FBCA Sunday Youth gathering, “Koinonia.” As she has become more regular in the youth group, her family is now more interested in FBCA. They are exploring new connections here, including worship and retreats and camps.
New to Faith
A young couple in their 30’s grew up in homes where faith was not a big focus. They have little interest for religious things but appreciate the ways in which our church engages social causes, like the environment or making a difference in the lives of the poor. Helping others motivates them. They show up for a river clean-up and share news of their two toddlers at home.
Finding a Way Home
Suzy is 54 and lives with her significant other. She has an adult child who is married and pregnant. Suzy was recently laid off from one job but has found a new job. She has had a roller coaster kind of life. Suzy is from a traditional Methodist background and is civic minded. She needs friends and connections. She wonders if FBCA can offer both faith and community.
Gerald and Amanda were regular members at FBCA twenty years ago, but they gradually stopped attending after their children went to college. Gerald and Amanda were feeling there was nothing “new” for them here. They visited other churches and eventually stayed at home on Sundays. They are in their mid-fifties now. They long for the variety of opportunities that a large congregation can offer, but they want a sense of community at church, too.
What’s your story?
If you were writing a persona, where would you begin? As you imagined our church wrapping its arms around the city of Asheville, who would be included in your narrative? For what do they long? What might be this person’s open door into the life of First Baptist? Why not write a story and share it with your Bible Study class or a friend?
First Baptist Church of Asheville is committed to working with church leaders to creatively and effectively share the events and ministries of our church with our members and the greater community, and to encourage involvement. We are grateful to leaders who help vision and implement these ministries of our church and want to partner with them to make each ministry an opportunity for spiritual growth in our church family.
Online Resources for Deacons
First Baptist Church of Asheville
Thank you for serving as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Asheville. At any point, you are always welcome to contact David Blackmon. He can assist with other questions you might have. Much of the information that you need is covered in the Deacon Handbook that you received. Click here to view the deacon page and link to online resources.