by Jeff Brown on January 13, 2023
New prayers for communion
March 03, 2023
The first town hall meeting of 2023 was a big success thanks to all who came and filled the Fellowship Hall. Town halls are an opportunity for staff and lay leaders to provide in-person updates on key ministry initiatives, give previews of what’s to come, and answer questions our members may have.
Although Pastor Clay is currently out of town at an EPC conference for pastors of larger churches, he still led off our time together via video. He shared the vision for the winter/spring ministry season to be aligned with our sermon series “A Heart for God.” Rather than focusing on duty and doing things out of obligation or because we “should” do them (even when that’s true), instead, true transformation goes much deeper, and involves a heart change. How does the Lord change our hearts? What does he do within us to create a heart for him? Clay challenged us to spend time in prayer, asking the Lord to transform us through his Gospel.
Clay was followed by Tim Page, and both reminded us that the focus of our ministries - from classes to sermon focus - isn't by chance. Rather, the choices made are all part of our annual vision of ministry planning. Our session and staff work together to seek out how the Lord is moving in and among our congregation. This winter and spring our focus is on "heart connecting." The goal is to make Central a place to connect and grow. Tim reminded us this isn't a passive exercise, something that just happens. Rather, we need to go deeper, and actively seek connection.
Next, Pastor Ben spoke about Evangelism. Our denomination, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) has named as a priority a recommitment to evangelism and keeping it as a major focus. To help support this effort and to enhance what is already happening at Central, Ben will be forming an evangelism team. Similar to the missions team, this group will not be the “designated evangelists,” but will be tasked with identifying opportunities for local evangelism and ways to engage our congregation. The EPC focus and our local evangelism efforts are perfectly in sync with our goal of making Central a welcoming place where people can connect and grow.
Pastor Ben also shared the news that connection dinners are coming this winter and spring! After a very successful “soft launch” in the fall, numerous Central members have graciously volunteered to host dinners in their homes as a means for members of our community to connect with one another. Watch for more information coming soon!
A Shepherding update was provided by Pastor Charles and Central elder Scott Wait. Our shepherds are elders and lay leaders who minister to our members through regular contact, prayer, and are a means of helping us connect with ministries and our overall church body. They help make a big church feel smaller. Scott emphasized getting to know who your shepherds are, and encouraged us to proactively contact our shepherds as a resource for getting involved at Central.
Pastor Charles also gave a preview of this semester’s EquipU lineup. Similar to last fall, the classes have been designed to address some of the common issues many are dealing with as we come out of COVID. This semester, the focus is on “how is a heart transformed by God reflected in a person’s life?” EquipU returns January 18.
Rosemary Oliver and Eric Schmidt then provided an update on the session’s exploration of adding projection/screens to our sanctuary. As you may already know, hearing and seeing video testimonies from some of our missionaries a few years ago so moved one Central family that they generously offered a donation to make this possible on a regular basis through the addition of screens. After much discussion and after consulting with other churches and subject-matter experts, last November our session agreed in principle to proceed with this project.
Eric emphasized nothing was imminent as there were still many questions to answer and issues to resolve. The primary focus is to enhance our current worship style, not distract or detract from that. To that end, your session will be forming a committee to work on establishing guidelines as to how this technology will be used. Much more information will be coming in the future as this exciting project progresses!
The meeting was concluded with a time for questions. Despite the size of the crowd, there were only a few questions asked.
Q: Since the pandemic, concerned about my health, so I haven’t been able to attend church as often as I’d like. How can I still get involved in evangelism?
A: Particularly if you have health concerns, you are encouraged to focus on evangelism right where you are! For example, spending time with neighbors, connecting with co-workers, etc. are all important “opportunities” for evangelism. We are happy to provide resources such as the Christianity Explored materials to help you. The evangelism team being formed will be designed to help identify and create opportunities for people like this to engage with.
Q: Will we put worship lyrics on the screen? This would be helpful for people who don’t read music and struggle to follow along in our bulletins.
A: We don’t know at this time. The session ”use” committee will be creating guidelines, but however the screens are used, we want to be careful they do not become a distraction.
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