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Cliff Notes...






Okay, having spent the last several “Cliff Notes” on frivolous topics, I decided this month to be serious. By the time this comes out most of our “Unmasking” sessions will have taken place, at least the first round. If you were in one, you will know that a lot of topics were discussed. In the maelstrom of questions, issues and topics that are swirling around in your head regarding the future direction of FCC add these.

First, have you taken the time to thank the people who worked so hard to get the process to where it is? I can tell you that Jim Wallace and Karen Palmer have worked tirelessly on this project and I CAN’T tell you how many times April had to redo the presentations. Those three deserve our appreciation.

Second, the process is designed primarily to find out two things, where does community wisdom tell us that God is calling FCC in this new and dynamic future and what are you willing to do to help that happen. What has gone unspoken so far, however, is the fact that it all hinges on people being honest; honest with themselves and honest with others.

It doesn’t do any good for Jim, Karen and April to work night and day processing this information and helping the congregation formulate a plan for the future if we aren’t all brutally honest. It is also important to live in the real world. Who we CAN be is limited by our resources. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t step out in faith, but in my opinion, it does mean that step should be based on reality, not just hope. It is one thing to say we (the community) want something, but what are we willing to sacrifice to make it happen? We want a dynamic youth program but we can’t get a Sunday School teacher. We want to bring in new members but we are unwilling to change our worship services to attract them. 

When one looks around our community at the churches that are growing, it appears two things are present. One of those things is a high level of excitement about bringing people to that church and the second seems to be a message wrapped in cutting edge technology. That doesn’t mean that is the only way to grow but the information is instructive. As I look back over the last fifteen years and consider how we have done, I see mixed results - but mostly positive.

We were growing slowly but steadily. We had and continue to have a remarkable number of ministries. On the other hand, our youth programs were not flourishing and our volunteer pool was on a downward spiral. Then came the pandemic and everything changed. No one can say with any certainty what “Church” will look like when the pandemic is over but one thing is certain, if we aren’t willing to make the sacrifices necessary to rebuild the church, its future is sealed. That sacrifice means both time and financial commitments. As I look down the road I think maybe the most important commitment is a personal one. Are you willing to do that?


Cliff Caton