Renewal Update, January, 2022

We’ve begun another new calendar year in earnest, friends! As we begin our 3rd year together as congregation and pastor, I remain so grateful to be with you on our renewal expedition both personally and communally.  I see mounting evidence of the Holy Spirit’s presence, leading, and blessing, especially over the course of the last couple of months. Here are some of the evidences we see and celebrate:

  • New attendees who are not only joining us for worship, but engaging with us relationally, in prayer, and joining us in seeking and following the Spirit’s lead.
  • One congregant willingly began  a meaningful engagement with another social media platform called Instagram for Gibson Church. In these couple-times-a-week posts, we share encouraging words, Bible verses, invitations, worship preparation, sermon reminders, Laketown items of interest, and more. We are seeing some nice engagement with these posts.
  • The “Growing the Church in the Power of the Holy Spirit” conference which I (Pastor Rod) attended at the start of December continues to have a powerful ripple effect in my life and at Gibson fanning a passion for prayer and listening, and responding to the Holy Spirit’s presence and leading.
  • Our pre-worship prayer time continues to grow from 2-3 to 7-8 when all are present. There is still room for you to join the group at 9AM before worship. 
  • We are so grateful that we have received a couple of significant financial gifts from congregants in support of renewal initiatives, as well as the support of community partners when we partner with them in missional hospitality for Laketown. 
  • The Holy Spirit’s leading and affirming of our emerging status relationship with Calvary CRC allowing us even greater flexibility and nimbleness to follow and respond to the Spirit’s leading.
  • The Spirit’s blessing and affirmation of our recent offerings of missional hospitality for Laketown in the 25 Welcome Bags we put together and delivered prior to Christmas to new neighbors, and our presence at the Frostbite Marathon Relay. 
  • A continued unified spirit and responsiveness to the Holy Spirit in our existing council and Renewal Lead Team in the process of renewal and the life of our congregation.
  • And more….Watch expectantly with me for more of the Spirit’s blowing in and through us personally, as well as communally as a congregation.

Renewal Lead Team

The Renewal Lead Team continues to be busy and actively engaged in the renewal expedition as we meet monthly, and pray and reflect between meetings, too. Here are just some of the items we’ve been working on from our last couple of meetings:

  • Evaluating our first delivery of #forlaketown welcome bags, and planning for the next and future rounds.
  • Planning and praying for our Frostbite Marathon Relay missional hospitality.
  • Anticipating ALPHA pilot rollout in March.

Pastor Rod participated in our 5th quarterly CRL learning lab with our cohort pastors on Thursday and Friday, January 20 and 21, and the whole Gibson team with the rest of our cohort church teams on Saturday, January 22. We always begin by sharing where each of our churches is in the renewal process, then we focus in on specific practices or principles for renewing congregations, and then coming investments we are encouraged to make in the next quarter. 

The focus of January’s learning lab was “Bless.” How do we live out the biblical principles and markers of God’s people to be Gospel communities of justice and mercy that bless others? These gatherings are always informative, encouraging, challenging, empowering, if not a bit overwhelming. We have one more learning lab scheduled for the end of April, after which we will continue to build off from and act in accordance with all the Holy Spirit has been showing us and leading us in through the course of our renewal expedition so far.

Gibson’s Vision Pyramid

The largest project in front of the Renewal Lead Team right now is discerning and building a Vision Pyramid for Gibson Church. This vision pyramid will seek to answer these questions: 

  1. Mission–What is God doing everywhere in the world according to Scripture?
  2. Vision–How will God’s mission be lived out in our neck of the woods?
  3. Values–What are the vital elements of our culture that sustain and energize this mission and vision?
  4. Objectives–What are the exact 5-year, big, God-sized goals we hope to see accomplished by living out our mission and vision by 2027?
  5. Actions–What are our near-term investments?
  6. Practices–What are the expectations for how every member contributes to the vision of Gibson Church?

We are prayerfully and thoughtfully working from the bottom up, and are currently about half-way through the process. We are eager and enthusiastic to share this with you when this work is complete, hopefully in the next couple of months.

Next Steps

Once our Vision Pyramid is complete, the Renewal Lead Team will put our heads and hearts around identifying a clear discipleship pathway for any and all who are part of the Gibson Church community. What is the identified, intentional pathway for anyone and everyone at Gibson to continue to be formed by the Holy Spirit and to grow as a disciple of Jesus? Are we each equipped and confident to disciple another, as well as willing and seeking to be discipled by another? The Team is reading together the book Move: What 1000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth by Hawkins and Parkinson to inform our reflecting and planning. 

Along with a discipleship pathway, another project will be to identify an outreach strategy for Gibson Church. We have already discerned that ALPHA is a great place to start. How will we be equipped to individually and congregationally to reach our neighbors with the Gospel? 

Intentional discipleship and outreach are key biblical principles and key for Gibson’s future.

A.H.O.D.

We are still, as always, in a state of “all hands on deck.” Are you feeling moved to participate on our lead team? Would you like to be part of a small team that monthly assembles #forlaketown welcome bags for delivery? Is the Spirit nudging you to be part of ALPHA? If you are discerning the Spirit’s nudges to participate in any of these exciting activities, please see Pastor Rod or any member of the Renewal Lead Team.

Most importantly, each of us is called to faithful prayer covering all that has been communicated in this update, and more. Please, do start, or continue to pray daily for Gibson Church, for the Spirit’s blowing, for our neighbors and neighborhood, for our individual and congregational renewal.

Please join together in eager expectation for what the Spirit is doing already, and is going to do in us, with us, and through us in 2022 for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom, for our neighbor, and for Jesus’ name and his fame. 

Shalom,

Pastor Rod