First Reformed Church of Zeeland
FRCZ Study Team Update
Imagine the following scene: Dark storm clouds roll in, blotting out the bluebird sky and hiding the warm summer rays of the sun. A crack of thunder is followed by torrent of rain pelting the ground. To a couple setting out on a summer picnic, this turn of events is disappointing or even upsetting. However, now, consider the farmer who has been waiting weeks for the heavens to pour forth the needed nourishment for parched crops. To this farmer, those storm clouds bring hope. Perspective makes all the difference.
As a congregation, we are in a time where the forecast for the future seems uncertain, and possibly threatening. The perspective from which we choose to view our current circumstance will greatly influence our outlook. As our Study Team works to discern the best possible staffing options for the future of our church, would you join us in an attitude of hope for what the Lord Almighty has planned for our church and in prayer as together we discern His will?
The Study Team has been charged with the responsibility to look at staffing needs alongside our church’s mission and vision statement and to make recommendations to the administrative consistory regarding staffing for the future. In this space, I hope to provide narrative of the discussion, the ideas presented and the plans of the Study Team. For those who are curious or anxious about progress towards our staffing changes, my goal is to communicate some highlights of what our team is working on. This is not an exhaustive explanation of everything discussed. At this point, none of the material being shared has been ‘decided upon.’ We just felt it important to allow the congregation a peek into the discussions taking place at our Study Team meetings so you can not only be informed, but also add your voice, your perspectives and ideas by connecting with members of our team and sharing your thoughts.
FRCZ Vision 2022:
The FRCZ Leadership, over the past year, developed a vision for our church’s future and this is the guide we as a study team are using as we envision what our staffing needs will be for the future. The Vision 2022 states:
We see FRCZ as an attractively vibrant, diverse and growing people that are generous with Jesus. This generosity begins in our own lives, and extends into our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, communities and the world. Furthermore,
June 28 Meeting Highlights
At our meeting at the end of June, here are some of the highlights of what we covered:
Our Regional Synod Consultant, Doug McClintic, proposed that our team has two alternatives. We can either look at our staffing needs, crunch some numbers and say, “New people, same plan as last year.” Or, we can look the Vision for 2022 that our Consistory worked all year to develop and step into some uncharted waters by discerning creative new ways our church can live into our mission and vision. Doug provided is with a set questions to help us discern the unique aspects of our church and our community to help us determine our unique pathway for First Church to serve the Lord in our specific location.
Below is a sampling of these questions that the team is considering and discussing:
July 16 Meeting Highlights
Church Visits: During this meeting, along with beginning to discuss the questionnaire, we narrowed down a list of churches to visit and study. The selected churches have demonstrated a new vision or ministry and have seen growth in some way. At Doug’s recommendation, we will visit the selected churches as a group, so that we have many sets of eyes to see various aspects of each church.
Staffing Transitions: Another insight that the consultant shared was related to staff changeover. In his experience helping churches navigate change and take on new leadership, he suggested that the best option for a smooth transition is for the current leadership to finish and for an interim pastor take that place for an amount of time. This allows the congregation a time of ‘grieving’, but also for the new leadership to start fresh. He also intimated that the process of finding a new teaching pastor may take 18 months. While this is not what our church initially hoped for, this information and recommendation seemed important to share, and we can trust God’s grace and timing.
Study Team Retreat: This Sunday, July 30, after the service, our team will be spending most of the afternoon together. We hope to use this time to work towards the mandates our consistory has given us to complete. Following our meeting, please revisit the blog for an update of what we discussed and worked on.