Decisions of the past are having a positive impact on what’s happening in the present. It was one year ago in January, during a church planning session in the Fellowship Hall, that the two top priorities for our church were identified as: 1. promote Progressive Christianity and our progressive church in the community; 2. transform our church to meet the needs of younger generations.
2016 was another good year of growth and exposure for our church and our brand of progressive faith. Sometimes we grew by intentionally planned events and ministries, such as the Historical Jesus class in the fall that attracted nearly fifty people. At other times events beyond our control, such as the fall election, contributed to people seeking us. The change in start of worship time to 9:45 AM, a request initiated by our families with children, has also helped increase attendance.
The effort to transform the church to meet the needs of younger generations has taken subtle but significant steps. One area of ministry that has drawn in younger adults is music.Tina Peterson’s contact with present and former students at Irvine High School, as well as a quality yet diverse music program, has helped.
One project that has the potential to advance both goals is an update of the sanctuary audio-visual system. Finance Ministry and the Cabinet have affirmed this as our top need. One of our leading young adults, Justin Underwood, engineer trained and head of our church audio-visual team, has been receiving bids on upgrading our system to meet the needs of a 21st Century Church. Estimates are that what we need would run upwards of $60,000.
For many years we talked and dreamed of having solar panels. Only when a generous donor pro-vided seed money in the amount of $50,000 did the church raise the balance and panels were installed (one year ago!). Now we are look-ing, and I am praying, for seed money for a new audio-visual sys-tem. Such designated gifts need to be above and beyond pledged mon-ies. But to more effectively promote progressive Christianity and our church, and to reach younger, tech savvy generations, we need to act.
Dreaming with you…