This blog will be a sampling of the articles I write for the Centennial monthly newsletter along with anything else I need to get off my mind. Sometimes there will be attempts at humor, and for that I apologize now. Other times, the subjects will be more theological in nature. I do not pretend to be an expert in any field, but I have an opinion on just about everything, and can usually make a pretty good defense if challenged. Enjoy my ramblings and feel free to share them with anyone else who may be blessed by them.
This is the fourth article in a series related to our new strategy and vision as an association.
Priority Four is to build unity among the churches culturally, racially, and generationally. We are blessed to have churches that understand unity. The cooperative spirit that exists among CBA churches is unlike anything I have experienced in ministry. However, there are still barriers which we struggle to overcome. We understand that the Kingdom of God includes people from every ethnicity, age, and culture, but we do not always know how to bridge our differences effectively.
The question I am asked most often is “How do we reach younger families?” Somewhere along the way we missed raising up a generation to whom we could pass the baton of leadership. There is also a growing concern that our limited amount of diversity fails to reflect God’s plan for His church. As the people of God we are to be on the forefront when it comes to wrestling with the tough questions facing our culture related to race. The Church should demonstrate to the world how people of various backgrounds and perspectives live a nd thrive together in unity.
The CBA Strategy Team set the following goals related to this priority:
Goal 1: Use Senior Adult Quarterly Fellowship Lunches to create awareness of diverse needs. Whenever I get the chance to address our seniors, whether at the quarterly lunches or in their churches, I remind them of how God entrusted the discipleship of younger people to them. If we are going to reach the next generation, we cannot leave the responsibility to the next generation.
Goal 2: Engage various ethnic congregations and populations by connecting to existing churches or planting new churches. God has opened doors and allowed me to have several conversations with existing Black churches about partnering with Centennial. Pastor Eddie Johnson of Macedonia Baptist Church has been instrumental in helping me understand the challenges we face. In the future we may also see a need to help plant churches for Spanish speakers or other language groups within our region.
Goals 3 & 4: Enlist a team to develop multi-cultural, multi-racial, and multi-generational ministry strategies and then to implement the strategy. As the Strategy Team worked, it became clear that this priority would take more than we could offer. The goal is to enlist a team by our Fall Meeting in October and then to have them develop a strategy by Fall of 2019. There is no quick fix to this complex issue, so we want to dedicate an appropriate amount of time and effort toward addressing it. If you feel called to participate in this process, please let me know.
I pray you will join us at Elevate on April 28 where we will host a panel discussion related specifically to this topic. We are at a critical time when it comes to reaching the next generation and bridging the gaps that exist even among God’s people. Pray with me that we will seek and find God’s will in these matters.