HOPE for First Christian's Future

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  May 10, 2014

    A new day is dawning for First Christian Church and the promise of a new future is on the horizon! On Wednesday, May 28, 2014 the Rev. Sandhya Rani Jah, a  highly trained consultant with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Hope Partnership for Congregational Missional Transformation, will be visiting First Christian along with the Rev. Charlotte Hoppe, our Area Minister. Sandhya’s visit is the first step in the exiting transformational process that the board as selected for the next chapter in the rich history of our congregation. 
    For many years, the modest growth and genuine strength of this congregation has failed to keep pace with the rising cost of operational necessities as a church. Fortunately, we have been able to depend on cash reserves and bi-vocational pastoral leadership to keep things running. We have also recognized that such an arrangement could not be maintained indefinitely.
    Beginning in 2001 at the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), then General Minster and President, the Rev. Dick Hamm, called on the church to become intentionally mission-oriented and transformational in very powerful areas. One of the bold areas he called for was the transformation of 1,000 struggling Disciples congregations by the year 2020. In addressing this ambitious endeavor, the church created the HOPE Partnership. 
    Following many years of successive deficit spending, our local Board called a special task force in March to seriously study the continued drain on our reserve funds and make a formal recommendation to the board. The team then proposed to the Board in April to contract with the HOPE Partnership and bring one of their highly trained and dynamic consultants to Carlsbad to start along the bold  and exciting process of serious transformation. 
    The visit will include meetings with congregational leaders dealing with congregational finances, ministry, mission, property, and transformation opportunities. 
    At 7:00 the entire congregation is encouraged to attend a special meeting with Rev. Jah, facilitated by Rev. Hoppe as we all have the opportunity to share our hopes and fears, challenges and blessings for this congregation we all love so much. 
    Everyone who can is encouraged to place this time on your calendars as a vital time for prayerful and vital sharing for the future of First Christian Church. 
    Within a few months of the initial consultation visit, we will be scheduling additional visits and designating key congregational leaders to assist the congregation in moving forward as a church together in prayerfully discerning the future for our congregation and the role we will play in providing Christian ministry to the community of Carlsbad. 
    The success of the HOPE Partnership is incredible. Capitalizing on their experience and expertise, churches all over the United States  have found new and dynamic opportunities to bring relevant ministry in the face of challenging circumstances and situations. 
    First Christian’s Board is fully in support of this venture and is ready to stand behind the process because of its vital importance for the future and asks the prayerful support of every member and friend of this great congregation as we begin transformation! 
    For anyone wishing additional information on the HOPE Partnership, including details on the HOPE process, testimonies of church congregations who have experienced the transformation first hand, as well as stories of how it has truly changed congregations, please see their website at      http://www.hopepmt.org.