Scott's Thoughts: Sun, Oct 10, 2021

Trying to keep these to around 5ish mins. At ~6 mins today. That's "ish."

If You Missed ‘Em, A Few Past Important ST Blurbs Worth Your Time (click here)
  • “Temporarily Wonky Preaching Schedule During Oct-Nov” – I’m not preaching as much as normal for about 6 weeks. You’re welcome? I’m sorry? You pick.
  • “Few Important Updates Are Forthcoming ASAP” – Re: 3rd Campus timeline, launch of Next Steps, changes in worship service times/flow, changes to membership, and upcoming Annual Membership Update Renewal & 7 Habits Survey. Wish I/we could tell you more but Elders and Staff have got some details to hash out first. Even though we’re certainly not a change-averse church, in a tightly-integrated structure like ours, such decisions shouldn’t happen hastily. The teaser and basic items are in the past ST blurb, with a little more detail below re membership.
  • “We are Designed Such That ‘The First 3’ are Essential” – A really important point about how we’ve designed our strategies at FCC for your growth and care.

Great Questions Answered re “What Should I Look for in a Local Church?” Almost Ready – Will be (theoretically) posted in the next couple days. Famous last words. Well, not famous at all. Actually quite not famous. I guess that makes ‘em last words? So, lemme go ahead and just avoid the future shame of personal failure and publicly declare that I’ll post it when I’m ready. Don’t you wish you could just go through life posting and presenting whenever you’re ready?! I think I’m gonna start taking that posture everywhere in life. You wanna hear my sermon?! I’ll letcha know when I’m ready. Methinks that would greatly hinder my/our effectiveness. This has quickly become a rabbit hole of my personal depravity. Better move on…

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes – Thanks to all y’all who picked up a shoebox or 7 last week! If you haven’t yet, pick ‘em up on your way out and bring ‘em back packed and paid for! We’d love to have you join us in this simple and creative way to communicate the gospel to children all over the world. In past years, we’ve had adults come personally share about how their first true exposure to the gospel happened when they received a shoebox as a kid! Pretty cool, eh?! Instructions are inside each box. We’ll letcha know in the next couple weeks when the deadline is to bring ‘em back.

Candy For CatalystCatalyst Coffee Company ( could use our help with the upcoming “Halloween Happenings” that the Town of Greeneville sponsors each year alongside downtown businesses. For years we’ve helped collect bags of individually-wrapped candy to hand out to a couple thousand folks who walk by Catalyst’s doors. I’m sure Nathan, our GM, could also use some help handing it out! So bring a few bags of candy to church next Sunday, hand ‘em to the Guest Team on your way in, and email Nathan if you’re interested in helping hand it out (and eating the leftovers?!)

Random: I Don’t Feel So Good This Week, i.e., Sorry I’m Way Behind – I think I’m having some physical adjustment to a recent medicine change. No worries, I’m fundamentally fine, but I’ve been dragging bigtime all this past week with extra fatigue and headaches, so if you’re one of the many awaiting an email, phone call, message, etc., just letting ya know, you’re gonna be waiting a little longer. My apologies.

Update re Elders: Thank You, A Couple Finishing Terms, Please Pray – Our Elders serve 3-year terms from Oct–Sep that are renewable once, with 1-yr off, so up to 6 “on” and at least 1 “off.” A couple weeks ago Bill Richards and Mike Schubert rolled off, leaving 5 of us: Chuck Bowlin, Carl DelSorbo, John Hamilton, Mark Liebert, and me. (For pics and bios, go to For veteran FCCers wondering why there was no Annual Vote on the 4th Sun of Sep, ‘twas because we put forward no new Elders for a vote. Among other reasons, we decided keeping 5 for the sake of consistency as we work toward a 3rd campus was wisest for this next year. Bringing new Elders up to speed on FCC leadership culture in a fast-moving and fairly complex multisite church strategy takes a solid year. Anyhoo… Bigtime thanks goes out to Bill and Mike for their years of faithful sacrifice for the sake of leading FCC with integrity. Also, special thanks to spouses and families who are unsung heroes in that service! I often brag on our Elders. They are not only men of integrity who take seriously their role as overseers, but they are actually leading and serving every Sunday. No one is beyond picking up a broom to make things work and Bill and Mike have consistently and faithfully done exactly that! Also, wanna ask you to please pray with us as we are currently seeking God’s wisdom for how to budget wisely, work toward a 3rd campus, and lead toward greater health and effectiveness in Helping People Find and Follow Jesus!

Today, A Tweak From Pre-Recorded Online Service to Live-Streaming of Sunday Morning ServicesMy sermon oops of last week has become the catalyst for a relatively easy-to-make but perhaps-very-helpful change that we’ve been talking about making for a long time now, to transition to livestreaming of the Sunday morning services instead of the pre-recorded mini-service we’ve been doing in the studio. It’s not a done deal. We’re gonna try it for a bit and see how it goes. But our tactic of the last 18 months, of having a distinct presence for both the online and in-person contexts, has become unwieldy to maintain and not as effective as it should be given the time involved. Also, consolidating a few such production processes will help simplify things before we go to 3 campuses (“Nail it before you scale it.”) and, we hope, provide a more authentic experience of what we really do and who we really are on Sunday mornings!

Elders Letter, Membership Requirements, Confession of Faith, Annual Membership Renewal & 7 Habits Survey – There’s a ton to cover here and, I promise, there’s an actual (already mostly written) Elders Letter coming to you in the actual mail in the next couple(ish) weeks about much of this, but a bunch of extra things like Covid, some 3rd campus launch training, a conference, and vacations have gotten in the way of being able to finalize some things as Elders and Staff. (<— Yes, that’s a run-on.) So lemme give some basics on some upcoming things:
  • Membership (Already) Means Completing the Next Steps Process – For the last couple years, we have required new members to complete the Next Steps process. We’ve made some really awesome changes to NS that we think are going to be critically important for deepening discipleship and personal engagement, especially as we go to 3 campuses. We’ll tell you much more in the coming weeks, but for now, go to to find out more.
  • Membership (Now Also) Means Agreement to Uphold our Confession of Faith – We have long required anyone in leadership or who is teaching at any level to agree to uphold the “Teacher Covenant” (TC), but this past Summer, the Elders decided to begin requiring all members, as of 2022, to uphold this “Confession of Faith” (CF, which is the same content as TC was, but with a different name. You can read it at More coming soon on what “agreement to uphold” our CF means. (“Agreement to uphold” is not an official wording, but my own. Elders/Guys, my basic proposal, to get the discussion rolling is this… (And yes, I know, this probably isn’t the best place to propose this, but I keep forgetting to raise this issue at our weekly meetings.) … In simple terms, I think basic subscription to our CF means agreeing to 2 things: (1) to maintain our doctrinal commitments in areas of agreement and (2) to not teach against, promote, or practice otherwise in areas of disagreement. Such areas of disagreement must be named and stated up-front, in writing or in person, to a Pastor or Elder, not as a disqualifying matter for membership, but as a matter of unity, integrity, honesty, and learning to act with a brotherly love and affection for one another that respects our differences on matters that needn’t divide. Much more about this could be said, but that’s enough for now.
  • Annual Membership Renewal & 7 Habits Survey – For new folks, we take our membership roll down to zero at the end of every year and have a month-long time of renewal and recommitment that is accompanied by a 7 Habits Survey. This year we’re going to try to shift that month to January, at the beginning of the year, to see how that goes. Much more coming on all this soon enough.
  • Why All This Emphasis on Membership? – Because the world we used to take for granted no longer exists. Because fulfilling our church’s vision and producing producers who are the answers to the needs in our community won’t happen by being lax when it comes to personal responsibility. Because you cannot assume a once-taken-for-granted doctrinal unity for the sake of healthy church life. Self-proclaimed Christians are not only incredibly disconnected from God’s vision for their lives but they are less aware of the basics of the gospel, how to grow as a believer, and the vital importance of the local body. Plus, beefing up membership means less bait-and-switch for new folks, less organizational sideways energy, better understanding of our vision, and more discipleship, meaningful engagement with our strategy, and protection of our people and the definition of the gospel, just to name a few other such benefits. For far too long we have let people think they were true believers simply because they were once dunked, attended youth group as a kid, and sat in worship occasionally. It’s on us if we allow that kind of easy-believism because we were not clear enough about what it means to be a Christian. (Btw, if you’re wondering if “membership” is a legit concept, see this GQA: “Is Church Membership Biblical?”)
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