Faithful Ministry: To Be Continued….
For almost 140 years, Yates Baptist Church has been a place of worship, ministry, fellowship and service. Through multiple facility renovations and additions, as well as congregational changes and challenges, Yates has remained an active and healthy congregation.
Much of our past has been characterized by growth in membership and overall church attendance, activity, and ministry. Our more recent past, not unlike many churches in the state and nation, has been characterized by, overall, downward trends in membership and attendance, while fellowship and missional involvements remain strong and vibrant. Having now entered into our newly renovated facility, and in light of recent trends, good stewardship compels us to consider “the places we can go” as a church. It is time to consider God’s vision for Yates and its ministries as we move forward.
With a major renovation of the Yates campus completed, we are faced with the opportunity to consider how best to use the newly renovated facility to fulfill the mission and vision in the way God leads us. Our stated vision is: “Yates Baptist Church is a community of believers who seek to bring people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and encourage each other toward spiritual maturity.” Taking steps to to refresh this vision and plan the strategies needed to help us continually become the family of faith we feel God is calling us to be is timely.
In this book entitled, All the Places to Go: How Will You Know?, a book many of you have read recently at Yates, John Ortberg challenges us to be “open door people” characterizing “open door people” as:
1. Trusting God, moving on the open door even when we don’t feel ready, but trusting God with all we have.
2. People who have been blessed and who seek to bless others.
3. Unwilling to give in to discouragement but willing to resist it and persist in faithfulness to the mission before them.
4. Keep going, even when they make mistakes, and learn from them, striving to stay focused on the goal.
Sustaining a healthy Yates calls us to be open door people, planning and working with a renewed sense of intentionality. While we have a wonderful history of faithful ministry and sustaining growth, recent overall growth trends at Yates, just like in many other churches, remind us we cannot take sustaining growth for granted. As faithful stewards we must do our part to grow and sustain God’s church here, believing in Him to provide the growth (I Corinthians 3:7). The deacons feel a way to prepare for continued successful ministry at Yates is to begin a process with the congregation in which we talk together about the church we envision, and the steps necessary to become that place.
To this end, a motion will be put forward by the deacons during the January business meeting to initiate a visioning process. The proposed motion is printed below.
In the meantime, deacons and staff will continue to look for ways to improve outreach, enhance fellowship, create mission opportunities, and seek God’s guidance as we move through the doors open to us. Which doors? How will we know the way? In John 14 Jesus declares to his disciples that they know the way to the place he is going and Thomas responds, in paraphrase, “How can we know the way when we don’t even know where you are going?!” Jesus’ answer is clear: “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (v.6). We will find our way by following Jesus, each step of the way, each day. He promises to “be with us always” (Matthew 28:20), and give us all we need as we seek his kingdom (Matthew 6:33).
Pray that we will, in unity, use our God given gifts to find His way forward for Yates Baptist Church. And, as the visioning process unfolds, participate by giving your input and feedback.
– Sam Haithcock
Deacon Recommendation: Visioning
The Deacons recommend that Yates Baptist Church initiate a visioning process to be known as “Faithful Ministry – Yates Vision”. Through this process the church will prayerfully strive to refresh, seek anew, and discern God’s divine calling on the faithful ministry of our church. The stated goals are to:
1. Refresh our stated vision and mission, and
2. Plan, and put into action, strategies that will enable the church to continue to be the family of faith that God is calling it to be.
A leadership team, in collaboration with the deacons, will facilitate the process. The leadership team will be appointed by the deacons with input from the Senior Pastor and the ministerial staff, and subsequently approved by the church. Throughout the process, opportunities to participate in the process will be provided for all Yates members, lay leaders, and specific ministry/mission stakeholders.
Recommendations resulting from this process will be brought to the church body for discussion and agreement.
– As approved by the Deacons on November 6, 2017