This was the long anticipated week when the Courageous Proposals events were held. On Tuesday night, at least forty people showed up to give their input on the three goals – Believe, Belong, Bless – that the leadership has adopted for our church. Another forty plus, including our high-school students, gathered on Wednesday night, with still more to come on Saturday morning. “Dreaming events”, the planning committee called them. Man, did we dream.
On the first night, my table of four participants focused on the “Bless” goal. We began by listing all of the things we are already doing. Service Saturdays. Disaster Response Services trips. Our support of local agencies like The Refuge, The Gate, The Pregnancy Help Centre, St. Vincent’s Kitchen and the Hope/Zion Food Bank. The Seeds of Hope youth camp in Toronto. Not to mention the service projects that are incorporated into all of our youth programs.
We also celebrated the way our building is used. Did you know that we have four regular tenants? They are a Spanish church called Hechos 29, the Life Care Counseling Centre, the New Heights group home that rents a classroom for its high-school students, and Courtice Clubhouse, the daycare that fills the church with children’s voices five days a week from 6 am-6 pm. Did you know that we also rent out the building regularly for concerts, dance and music recitals, family conferences, and even nuclear hearings? And did you know that all of the rental income goes directly to paying down our mortgage? Now you do!
When it became time to actually formulate new courageous proposals for the future, the ideas flowed freely and passionately. It would not be fair to mention the ones that came only from our table. Suffice it to say that many courageous proposals from every table were forwarded to our facilitators.
We were also asked to list the potential obstacles that would make the proposals difficult to implement. Many felt that money would not be a problem for any proposal that is truly visionary and well supported. But we recognized that people are very busy already, and that setting certain priorities may mean letting some things go.
I do have a worry. In the past week it became apparent that all of us are very passionate about certain ministries that we would love to see at Hope Fellowship. That’s great. But it may set some people up for disappointment if and when their particular idea does not get adopted, especially if they’re absolutely convinced that their idea should be a main focus. Let’s remember that Hope Fellowship can not be all things to all people. It is better to do a few things well then to do many things poorly. As you hear all of the courageous proposals that have been generated, please understand and even be glad that they will be whittled down to a select few. May the Holy Spirit’s work and our prayers keep us together as one while the planning team reviews and rates each proposal and assigns them high, medium or low priority.
My worry and reminder not withstanding, we should have great expectations. In the movie Home Run, the main character, Cory Brand, tells a little leaguer, “Nothing great happens when you hold back.”
Last week we did not hold back. We provided a forum for every hopeful dream that lives in people’s hearts. Now we’re waiting to see what great things God will do with us and through us as we strive to bring people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ in the next chapter of our Journey of Hope.
- Pastor Peter