Dear First Pres,
We have some important news to share. As of this fall, we are ceasing to gather as Community Groups.
When we launched Community Groups in the summer of 2014, in conjunction with our church's new purpose statement, we stated three driving goals: to build Christian community, make disciples, and live out the Gospel in our neighborhoods. Through God's grace and the good work of our Community Group leaders, they have been successful in many ways.
We've increased community and connection. There were many new friendships and connections built across generations and existing friend groups within the church. Plus, Community Groups quickly became a very effective way of connecting new people in our community.
We've increased our reach into our neighborhoods. Every Community Group worked in some way to connect with their city. Through prayer walks, baking of cookies, service projects, neighborhood parties, Christmas caroling, teacher appreciation, etc ... together as a body, FPC loved our neighbors in ways we have not done corporately before.
We've developed a new onramp for congregational care. Community Groups quickly became a mechanism to engage together in caring for those in need in our body. Led by our Deacons, Community Groups stepped up to provide meals for many families in need. And, those unable to attend to their yards or house projects were often supported by their Community Group neighbors.
We've grown in praying outwardly for our city, neighbors, and friends. Community Groups engaged in prayer together for those outside the congregation and supported one another in prayer as well. Out of those prayers, groups saw and heard of God's work in their lives and the lives of those around them.
We celebrate these great things that God has done among us in our Community Groups. However, we desire to go further and deeper as we live out our purpose as a church. So, in conversation with Community Growth elders and Community Group leaders, we have discerned that it's time for a new strategy to take us to the next level of engaging together in Christ's work of making disciples for the redeeming transformation of our city and world.
The Community Growth Committee is working hard with several leaders in our congregation to pilot a new initiative that centers groups around specific needs in our community. Our hope is that we can launch those groups more publically in the spring of 2018 with the incredible benefit of the lessons learned from Community Groups.
Community Groups are not completely gone, though. Because of the great success of the congregational care that happened out of Community Groups, we will maintain the groups on our database.
The pastors, Session, and the Community Growth Committee is thankful for the effort that was made in the past three school years around Community Groups. And special, special thanks to the leaders who gave much time, effort and energy towards making the meals and meetings happen.
In the meantime, we encourage everyone to attend WednesdayNights @ FPC beginning September 13.
Men, there has been a longing from many of you for an indepth study of God's word and prayer with other men. That is exactly what we are doing as we will study in small groups the Book of Mark.
Women are again going to meet together to discuss the godly wants and desires that are good and pleasing to God in a series called "Teach Us to Want" by Jen Pollock Michel.
Youth and Children ministries will be kicking off as well with much excitement this fall.
Again we encourage all of those who consider FPC their church home to make every effort to be at the church on Wednesday Nights at 6:30pm as we continue in growing as disciples of Christ together.
With much love, joy and hope of what is to come,
Pastor Jeremy & Pastor Chris