How do we see the future of our congregation?
In January 21 and February 11, we will come together in the Salle Théodore de Bèze to discern God’s vision for our future as a congregation and to develop a strategy for our “near future” (about three years)
Rob Rawson will be jetting over from Scotland to help steer us through this process.
But it’s not his vision for our future. Neither is it the vision of the minister, the kirk session, or the congregational committee.
It’s our vision for our future.
After morning worship, we will go up to the Salle for a quick lunch, and then begin the meeting.
11:00 Morning worship
12:15 Lunch in the Salle (soup and bread-and-cheese)
13:30 Future Focus in the Salle
Future Focus is a spiritual process, as we discern God’s vision. So we will begin each session with a short time for devotion.
Then we shall work in table groups of six or seven on exercises that cover:
- Setting the scene – a bit of history and a bit of geography!
- Assessing our strengths and weaknesses
- Building on the strengths and addressing the weaknesses
- Dreaming dreams and agreeing on the very first steps to making them real
Everyone has an equal voice. The table format is to encourage us all to participate. What is important is that we all have some fun!
In our first get-together, we will look back at the previous 30 years of our congregation’s life and the life of our local community. We will draw up a timeline, listing both the good things (‘celebrations’) and the bad times (‘struggles’) and allowing ourselves to disagree on what may have been a celebration or a struggle! This will help us understand how we have got to 2024 and how things have developed over time.
We will then move on to our groups being invited to draw simple maps of the local area and marking out those features that matter to us, as well as discovering where our ‘hubs of community’ may lie.
After a short break, we will then move on to assessing our strengths, using the Five Marks of Mission as our guide. We will tease out what our strongest ‘mark’ is and yes, what our weakest one is! In our groups we will be invited to agree on some simple measures that will build on the strongest mark, but also what may address the weakest mark.
After a brief re-cap of the previous session, we will begin to dream dreams. There need be no limit to the things we would wish to see and hear in three years’ time, but when, in our groups we pool those dreams, we will discover some common themes and agree on what the key themes are. As we compare with other groups, there will always be dreams common to all of us and these will help form the beginnings of a vision.
After a break, we will be invited to agree in our groups on the initial practical steps to the key dreams. This is important to avoid inertia when the Future Focus sessions are over.
We will conclude with some practical tips on casting the vision to the rest of the congregation unable to attend and a very short presentation on how each of us can gently share our faith with family and friends, without feeling embarrassed!
Rob Rawson is the Church of Scotland Mission Development Worker and has been facilitating Future Focus for over 14 years, working with more than 40 congregations. In 2015, he completed training in facilitation with the Kinharvie Institute (Glasgow).
Formerly an actor, presenter and teacher, Rob also helps to lead his local Messy Church. He is married to Lara and lives with his family in Callander, Stirlingshire.
Rob loves Future Focus and will do his best to make sure we all enjoy engaging with it!
Not strangers but pilgrims
Lord God, we thank you
for calling us into the company
of those who trust in Christ
and seek to obey his will.
May your Spirit guide and strengthen us
in mission and service to your world;
For we are strangers no longer
But pilgrims together on the way to your kingdom.