The Joy of Improvements

So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  – Galatians 6.9

This summer has been one of major improvements here at FPC.  It started with the improvement of restoring of our most valuable stain glass windows.  The brilliance of light that now pervades the sanctuary is truly breathtaking.  The second improvement we made was in the planning and execution of our block party in mid-July.  We scheduled it on a fantastic weekend, improved on many elements from last year, attracted a larger crowd, and built stronger relationships with those who attended.  Lastly, we completely resurfaced our upper and lower parking lots.  Now, when folks disparage the parking situation at FPC, I can confidently respond we have the nicest parking lots of any church in town!  Safety has been improved with the elimination of the “bird bath” in the upper lot which was more a “skating rink” in the winter months and with the ending of pieces of asphalt breaking loose in the lower lot.  Additionally, Session will no longer spend precious time wrestling with what to do with the lots as we have for the past 15 years.

Improvements indeed!  We have made so much progress in transforming our congregation to become one which solves problems and moves forward in the proclamation of the Gospel!  I have the good problem of trying to figure out when to schedule another new member class this fall.  So, we have plenty to celebrate.  That said, we also have plenty of room for growth as well.

One area of needed growth that has become acute recently is how we engage and welcome new folks who come check us out.  Obviously, every once in a while we will drop the ball when it comes to visitors but I witnessed or was made aware of, three distinct instances which occurred in the last two weeks of August of times when things didn’t go well.  First impressions do matter.  If folk’s first impression of FPC is that we are a bunch of folks who sit with ourselves and show no interest in getting to know anyone new that does not bode well for a future.

As I mentioned in my sermon last Sunday (9/17), our holiness is most principally rooted in our love for both each other and the other.  One way to show love is through curiosity in another’s life.  I see curiosity as essential to ministry.  It is through curiosity that we begin to grasp the powerful work of the Holy Spirit among us.  It has been said that folks love being able to talk about themselves.  When new folks swing by, instead of telling them about yourself or even the history of the church, why not instead approach with curiosity.  Questions such as: “How did you decide to worship at FPC today?”, “What is your church background?”, “How have you experienced Christ’s work in your life?”, “When have you had to really depend on God in deep ways?” are all great openings.  A common phrase thrown around in evangelical circles is the statement, “You need to earn the right to be heard.”  In order for us to minister in the lives of others, we must first listen and listen well.  May we let this be the next improvement we make here at FPC, being great listeners!

Respectfully Submitted in Christ’s Service,

Pastor Jeremiah

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