What’s upcoming for Chapel Hill?

What’s upcoming for Chapel Hill?

When I was about eight years old, I started to realize I couldn’t see the whiteboard at school. The letters were getting blurry, and instead of copying what the teacher wrote, I would copy from the person sitting next to me. A year later, my dad got reading glasses, and when he brought them home, I told my parents, “I think I need glasses, too.” They thought I was just trying to be like my dad, so they told me, “Don’t be silly.” Another year went by, and my mum and I were walking down the High Street in my home town when she pointed at a sign about 100 feet away. She saw me squinting to read it, and all of a sudden, she realized that she and my father had made a huge mistake. I couldn’t see things in the distance and I did in fact need glasses!

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no prophetic vision the people are discouraged.” Eighteen months ago, our Session—our board of elders—realized that we were reaching a season of stability, following two years of tumult, and we began to ask the Lord, “What is the prophetic vision for the people of Chapel Hill?” or, “What do you want to do through Chapel Hill in the next five years?” And last November we shared with you what that vision was: care, share, prepare. Five years from now, we see our local community so impacted by the care of Chapel Hill that if we ceased to exist, our neighbors would weep. We see thousands coming to faith in Jesus Christ because of the people of Chapel Hill sharing the gospel. And we see every graduate from Chapel Hill’s student ministry having been prepared so that they are so on fire for Jesus that everyone around them is captivated and drawn like moths to the flame.

Of course, it’s great having a five-year vision, but if you can’t break that vision down into actionable steps, it won’t become a reality. So, earlier this year we began the work of asking the Lord, what is it that you are calling us to in the next 12 months? What are you calling us to focus upon in the next year, so that we can achieve what you are calling us to in the next five years? And through much prayer and discussion, we believe the Lord is calling us to focus on three areas in the next 12 months: praying for revival; pushing for momentum; and, planning for the future.

Praying for revival

If we see our local community radically impacted by the local church, thousands coming to faith in Jesus, and students leaving Gig Harbor as missionaries to the four corners of the US, I think we would probably call that revival. And the history of revival tells us that it always begins with prayer. We believe that in the next year, God is calling us to double the number of people who are praying for revival, individually, with their households, and corporately, as the church. To that end, we launched 366 Days of Prayer for Revival through our app, through Facebook, through Instagram, and paper handouts. I know I am praying every day for revival using this tool, and I’ve been using it with my kids, too; I invite you to do the same. We also have an upcoming corporate Prayer and Worship night on August 27 at 6:30 pm, where we will be praying for families as kids are heading back to school one week later. If God is going to move through Chapel Hill like we expect in the next five years, it must begin with prayer. So, please join us in praying for revival.

Pushing for momentum

If we are going to sustain a focus on this vision for the next five years, we will likely get tired and need some momentum to carry us through. Generating that momentum is the work that we believe God is calling us to in the next 12 months. And the easiest way to generate a large amount of momentum is to activate our greatest asset—our people. To that end, in the next year we want to double the number of people participating in some aspect of our five-year vision. We have identified three areas where we believe this is realistically achievable. First, half our LifeGroups are already serving with local partners or projects, and we believe that by the end of this year all our LifeGroups could join them. Second, following on from our For The One initiative, we believe God is calling us to empower individuals to engage in spiritual conversations in their spheres of influence. Third, we are launching a number of family discipleship events this year, such as a Grandparenting Summit, a “parenting 101″ class called Confident Parenting, and the Marriage Course, and we hope many of our people will participate in these events. Through this, we believe we will generate momentum towards our five-year vision that will carry us through.

Planning for the future

Some aspects of our five-year vision that we shared in November were pretty big, hairy and audacious. We believe God is calling us to launch a care center, to plant another church, and to launch a family discipleship academy. While we recognize that these things cannot happen without God being the one at work, we have a duty to spend time planning for how we can participate with him in these endeavors. To that end, we will spend the next year creating plans for these Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goals or BHAGs, as we call them. Moreover, we will also need to create plans for financial sustainability and facility usage that will enable us to follow through on those plans. In so doing, we believe that we will be enabled to take what is a captivating vision, and turn it into reality.

Praying for Revival, Pushing for Momentum, Planning for the Future. That’s what we believe the next twelve months hold for Chapel Hill. And there’s one way you can help us with this right now. We would love to know how we are doing, as your church leaders, in engaging you, the congregation of Chapel Hill, in your walk of faith. Are we helping you to grow and mature? Are we empowering you to engage in this five-year vision? Are we activating the body of Christ to do the work of ministry?

To help answer those questions, we are asking if you would complete a brief survey letting us know how we are doing as your church leaders. The information from this survey will affect our planning for the future, and so the more responses we have, the more precise our planning can be, and the more likely it is that we will be able to empower our congregation to participate with God in this five-year vision.

You can find a link to the survey here. It should only take around five minutes to complete. Thanks for taking the opportunity to let us know how we are doing at empowering you.

Pastor Ellis

P.S.—Sunday’s worship services at 9:00 and 10:30 am will have a slight twist to them. All week, a team has been working to sand down and refinish our stage floor (we call it a chancel, but most don’t know what that means). It’s not quite ready to walk on, so we’re going to be leading you in worship from the floor tomorrow morning. I hope to see you then!