Vision and Formation

Our Church Vision Summit is this Saturday! 9AM to noon! I hope you have made plans to be there because we to hear from you. The vestry, the transformation team and I need your help to round out and add to our vision and emphases. We want everyone to be excited about the future and about direction in which we are headed.

Last week, I wrote of some characteristics of St. Thomas’ that maintain and build upon our distinct DNA and ethos. Today, I want to talk about formation: formation for adults, families, youth, and children; formation that builds upon who we are and in the field where we have planted our flag in the past.

Robbie Robertson, the grandson of our founding rector, told me a few weeks ago why the founders of the church started the school. It wasn’t to outsource Christian formation but rather to use the whole week to build upon what we do on Sunday, educating our children and youth from within a Christian worldview. The time spent on Sunday, they believed, was not enough in itself to form the Faith in our children and youth.

But, even though an hour or two on Sunday is not enough, that time is the wellspring from which weeklong education flows. The formation we do in the church is the source of all the rest of our missions: preschool, school, evangelism, work in the community — everything. Our ministries flow from a proper understanding of the Gospel and if our lives in light of what Christ has done for us.

So, we must be clear, substantive, and vital in the formation of our parishioners, especially our children and youth. As people in the past saw the vision and were excited about it, many of them joined in and there was a sense of vitality, purpose, and drive. We have been working in these areas for some time and things have happened slower than we would all like. There are many reasons for that, but it is now time to, in the words of a friend of mine, “get on the solution side of the fence” and make this happen.

Children’s ministry needs to happen. It needs to be the best we can possibly have. Youth ministry needs to happen. We are doing a lot of thinking and planning and it is time to get to work. Not only is it our Christian duty, it is also our joy: we love our young people and want them living faithful, courageous, loving lives as children of God, especially in the post-Christian culture in which we now live.

In order to get on “the solution side of the fence”, we need your input and help. We have tried some things; some have worked and some — not so much. There’s no shame in trying things and improving- in fact, it is to be commended. It is important. We are trying. It is time, though, to come up with a plan we can all get behind, be excited about, and support. This will be a powerful and galvanizing pillar in the reconstruction, rebuilding, and renovation of this church. I invite you to help us think about this.

Think these things through and have them in mind as we pray and work together.

May God richly bless you,
In Christ,