Every so often I hear one of our church members express frustration in that they aren't sure what our vision here at the church is or on a more personal note, they're not too sure of their part in the story. I hear this and it bothers me. I have to ask "What about our vision isn't clear?"
It hit me the other day. our vision has never changed - it's based on the Great Commission and Great Commandment, but perhaps that's such a broad vision that people just don't know how to internalize it. What good is it to have a vision as a church if the church (i.e. the people) do not have a strategy or plan to fulfill it.
The vision of our church is the same as it is for all evangelical churches - to honor God and serve Him by loving Him and others and growing disciples. This is to be done in our local communities and throughout the world. But, the question remains, "How do I fit in?"
Beginning in January, we are going to implement a strategy that I believe will help each member and attender grow personally and begin to understand the role of the individual in the bigger story.
On Wednesdays in January, we invite everyone from both campuses to our Main Campus on Kingsley Avenue. Dinner will be served beginning at 5pm in our Family Ministry Center (as we do each week) then at 6pm we will begin our STEP Classes (No, they're not aerobics classes.) These classes will last until 7:30pm.
STEP ONE: Newcomers & Worship Connection
This first class is our newcomers class and is designed for all who think they may want to join our church (either campus) as well as describe the unique things about Orange Park First Baptist. You will understand what it means to be a believer in Christ, what baptism means and why we baptize by immersion, the significance of the Lord's Supper or Communion and why we observe this ordinance the way we do and the importance of worshipping God and how we express our worship to Him. At the close of this class, you will have the opportunity to join our church if you so desire. Some of you who already are members may be wondering why you would want to take this class again. I encourage everyone to go through this again as a refresher and this time, invite someone to go through it with you.
STEP TWO: Spiritual Maturity & Small Group Connection
What are the habits necessary to grow as a believer? This class will cover this information. Also, details about why we believe small groups are essential for personal growth. This is more than a commercial for joining a group. We wish to explain and share how and why this is part of God's plan for every believer.
STEP THREE: Serve Connection
This class is one that many people in our church have been asking for. The focus is to help each believer determine their unique SHAPE for ministry. This includes discovering their spiritual gifts, heart for ministry, abilities, personality and experiences. Everyone has been shaped to serve in God's church and unless we know our shape, we will all feel like puzzle pieces with no guide or direction.
STEP FOUR: Community Connection
Our church is committed to love the people and serve the people of our community. By doing this, we are serving and loving God. How big is our community? Read Acts 1:8.
Plan to be a part of these classes. They will be offered three times a year. The next offerings will be in May, then in August. Beginning in May, they will be offered at The Creek (CreekChurch) on Sunday mornings following worship.
I know it will get to the point that many of you have taken all four classes. Remember, the goal is to bring someone through them the next time through, so be thinking and inviting new believer, members and potential members.