Scott's Thoughts: Sun, Nov 21, 2021

Total Reading Time: ~5 mins, tops, I promise, for even slower ADHD readers like me.

Happy Thanksgiving! – Hope you have some time with family and/or friends to recognize God’s provision in your life (Romans 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 Timothy 4:4). After a long few months in-and-out-but-mostly-in the hospital, looks we’re probably going to have Dad home for Thanksgiving after we almost lost him a couple times. Thanks to all who have mentioned, texted, and emailed your encouraging words of prayer. (And I’m still sorry for not getting back to you all yet. See “Quick Personal Word” below. I’m thankful, I promise!) I know holidays are times of both thankfulness and struggle, for a host of wonderful and complicated reasons. Praying for everyday boring faithfulness for us all. (<— That’s a good thing, new FCCers unaware of that weird phraseology. It’s one of the ways we speak of how God is producing producers whose lives uphold the institutional strength of the body of Christ as well as our marriages, families, and community! (Yes, I’m generically antidisestablishmentarian, but not in the historical sense of being pro-state church. ‘Huh?!’)

If You Missed ‘Em, Quite A Few Past Important ST Blurbs Worth Your Time – To get to any of the following, just go to fccgreene.org/st (or on the “Pulse” tab on the app) and scroll down to the appropriate date, or go to the linked date below.

Nov 7
  • Quick Personal Word of FYI, Apology, Thanks
  • Thank You For Showing Up to Worship & Serve and Pray/Care For One Another
  • IMPORTANT Book For You to Read & Study With us on Brown Bags & Bibles (& Books!) (I.e., (BB&B, (&B!))
  • Please Be Patient With Transition to Livestreaming
  • Changes to Sunday Service Times & Flow (from Recent Elders Letter)
  • Some Thoughts Re FCC Being More “Confessional” & Requiring Members to Affirm our Confession of Faith

Oct 24  
Update Re Changes to Membership, Timeline of 3rd Campus Launch (look for “Few Important Updates Are Forthcoming ASAP”)
  • Re:gen Q&A and Intro Night
  • Couple Worthwhile Christian Worldview-Based Daily News Podcasts
  • Why Membership Matters

Oct 10 – Why All This Emphasis on Membership? (last bullet point)

Sep 27 – We Are Designed Such That ‘The First 3’ Are Essential

Few More Thoughts & Details Re Upcoming Service Tweaks – Starting Sun, Dec 12, there are a few changes to be aware of. (<-- Sorry, Grammar Nerds. I’ve given in. I can’t be always perseverating over everything. See–it’s like a virus.)
  • In general terms, these changes are about more effectively scaling to 3 campuses in a way that allows us to maintain smaller campus size with better connection and care. They also largely reimplement pre-Covid systems-that-once-worked-well in a new post-Covid way (that will also likewise hopefully work well now and for the future.) Cool, eh?! (At least, theoretically cool, hopefully scaleable, and agile for our future. Ugh… Can’t we go back to ‘knowing how things should work?!’ Believe me, we’re trying (to adapt while upping the ante with Biblical fidelity to the centrality of the gospel, what it means to be part of the church, how to reach our community best, etc.)
  • Service Times – On Sun, Dec 12, they go to 9a and 10:30a and add 5 minutes to take us from 60 mins to 65. It’s not as long as I’d like, but adding more sermon time somehow doesn’t seem to be everyone’s top priority!? Weird.
  • Next Steps – These tweaks enable NS to be a hybrid of both 7-Habits-Intro-Class (of 10 mins) and personal-engagement-through-a-Next-Steps-Helper that can be integrated into Sun mornings, at the end of every service. There’s a much larger long-term vision here related to easily equipping all our people to be effective NS Helpers and disciplemakers, but for now, we’re starting small.
  • Campus Pastors – CPs will be more present during the service itself, helping to guide the overall theme, recapture some of the place and meaning of the Lord’s Supper, and maintain cross-campus focus certain overall FCC initiatives and plans, (while also having time to highlight campus-specific outreach.)
  • In case I haven’t yet mentioned it enough, sadly, the sermon time is still at only 35 minutes total, including the pre-sermon banter, Scripture Reading, and Prayer, as well as the concluding prayer. In fact, I actually lost 15 seconds and I've only got 34:45! I know, right?! I’m feeling like a grassroots petition and mostly-peaceful protests are in order. Who's with me?! (Some may call this use of this platform abuse of power. Some may call it wisdom. While we're at it, can we make sure the volume level in the worship space is such that the congregation's voices are the primary instrument?! And the lighting during the sermon time needs to remain well-lit enough so people with Old School Paper Bibles can see! Am I right?! Who's with me?! "More sermon time! More sermon time!")
  • Printed Worship Guide – We’re going back to pre-Covid Worship Guides being handed out at every service. Current app offerings that apply to Sunday mornings will remain (Connect Card, Sermon Guide, etc.) but will also be printed for folks to follow along. It will be a brief one-page kinda thing, with the following sections: Welcome, What To Expect, How to Engage in Worship, Connect Card, and News, (but sadly, without space for a Sermon Guide and taking written notes, at this point.)
  • Re the “Sermon Guide,” Scripture Passages Onscreen and On The App – Believe me, I’m no Luddite, but I’ve been long feeling like the move to putting all the Scripture passages onscreen may have the long-term effect of discouraging personal Bible use, loss of the ability to look up passages, etc. I’ve been hearing for the last few years that our kids and youth increasingly don’t know how to look up passages for themselves, e.g. So during my sermons, for the coming weeks to perhaps months, we’re going to be experimenting with things like having no passages onscreen, perhaps only certain passages onscreen, building in time to have people look up more passages during the sermon, tweaking how we put together the Sermon Guide on the app, etc., so you may see some absence of passages we usually have onscreen or on the Sermon Guide on the app. Trying to figure out how to best navigate both digital and physical comms and admin is a long-term… lesson… frustration… effect of the curse?! So anyway… Consider yourself part of a long-term anecdotal experiment called something like “Tech Effect on Bible Engagement during Sermons in Southeastern Ruralish Greene County”!
For more detail, see “Changes to Sunday Service…” above, under “Nov 7”, where the recent Elders Letter that also covers such changes is linked.

Quick Update re Students Director Search – Long and frustrating story short, the final two candidates with whom we were about to have more formal final interviews both recently withdrew, one to stay in a current position that has become more promising than it seemed and the other to take a position at a church closer to family. So, please pray while we try some new and more creative options closer to home, to convince some folks we know, love, and trust that God’s will is to come onboard with what He’s doing here at FCC and to help lead our Next Gen ministry of kids, students, and young adults, and to build a juggernaut of faithful emerging leaders who will keep Greene County strong for generations to come! (Yeah, that’s right, person who is hopefully reading this who needs to say yes and listen to Scott’s, I mean, God’s call—I’m looking at you! Come help build a juggernaut of Next Gen emerging leaders to keep our church, our families, and our community strong! … ‘Dear Lord, please use my Scott’s Thoughts silliness to prompt something in someone and to bring us your person, because the normal avenues ain’t working because of… the supply chain… and because the pay isn’t awesome… and there is a dearth of people crazy enough to say yes to church ministry….’) Seriously, please pray with us. We need someone to take on this important work. There’s great bones and adults and students and resources to work with. But we probably can’t (shouldn't?) launch a 3rd campus until we get this position nailed down as we are gerrymandering things right now by involving 4 staff members, 2 of which are giving considerable time to it, and all of which are important for being able to launch a 3rd campus.

Thanks for Pursuing Generosity, Pray for Budget Planning, Financial Update Coming – Briefly... Thank you so much for pursuing generosity and being faithful givers. As we say in the Next Steps video about Habit 5, Pursue generosity., when we give first, save second, and live on the rest, it shows we give God first place! Your faithfulness in financially contributing to the work of God at FCC is crucial to us faithfully stewarding the mission of God in our community! Long story short... Elders and Staff are in 2022 budget planning season, we are closing in on finished in the next week or so, we are financially healthy, and we will be making the budget public ASAP. So please pray with us as we make some decisions about allocation of finances, staffing changes/additions, 3rd campus launch, etc.
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