Christ Charlotte IN THE HEART OF
FOR 200 YEARS AND INTO THE FUTURE
OUR STRATEGIC PL AN
F I R ST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH FO R CHRI S T I N T HE HE A RT O F CHA RLOTTE
OUR STRATEGIC PLAN 2017
Claiming the good from our past and embracing God's call for our future, our church yearns to broaden our membership, increase our impact in this community, and embrace our role as a leading voice for justice and faithfulness in the city where we began our witness almost 200 years ago. In doing so, we will be a church that more broadly represents the diversity of our city and maintains the warmth that has been a hallmark of this particular community of Christ's disciples.
…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” –Ephesians 2:19-20 The Balcony Group
God is always calling the Church into the . G
rounded in the Reformed Tradition, “Reformed and always being Reformed,” we trust that God is ahead of the church and calls us to follow. First Presbyterian Church has the blessing of moving from the foundation of a faithful past into our third century of ministry. As a church that was planted in the center of Charlotte 196 years ago, our location has always been central to God's calling and our mission. As the
center of our city has grown in number and diversity, our leaders have been smart, faithful, and wise in maintaining the vitality and relevancy of this great church as we continue to be "For Christ in the Heart of Charlotte." With our city changing in ways we have seen and anticipated for years, now is the time to dig even deeper into what it means to be a church in and for our city. Our church and our city need each other more than ever.
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Ward Davis - Co-Chair Kathryn Justis - Co-Chair Mark Caldwell Rob Grier Amy Hockett Claire Tate Pen Peery – Senior Pastor
I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart; I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: ‘Write the vision. Make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. For there is still a vision for the appointed time. It speaks of the end, and it does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it. It will surely come, it will not delay.’” –Habakkuk 2:1-3
First Presbyterian Church | Introduction
I II III IV Pillar One
• Honor the Sabbath • Broaden and Strengthen Adult Christian Formation • Deepen Our Relationships With One Another
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Welcoming Each Other and Our Neighbors
• Foster a Commitment to Hospitality • Offer Different Ways of Worship Within our Reformed Tradition • Reimagine our Physical Space
Serving Our City
• Embrace and Engage the Needs of Our City • Emerge as an Epicenter of Service • Expand our Pastoral Counseling Outreach in Charlotte
• Create a Financial Resource Development Plan • Cultivate Future Leaders • Craft a Campus Master Plan
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Sustaining Our Future
An extension of hospitality is mission and service. Our church now feels a strong calling to heighten our focus and impact on the needs of our city. The third pillar, “Serving Our City,” articulates strategies that help us study and discern what it means to serve Christ in the heart of Charlotte today. First Presbyterian seeks to be a church faithfully responding to the needs and issues of our city – claiming the city’s issues as our church’s issues, witnessing for Christ in the center of our city, empathizing with and serving the needs of God’s people.
years and beyond. The fourth pillar, “Sustaining Our Future,” emphasizes both stewardship and leadership development for future generations of the church. Through this pillar, First Presbyterian strives to be a church dedicated to our long-term sustainability in order to embolden Christ’s mission, cultivating generosity, leadership, and diversified approaches to giving.
Lastly, as we approach nearly 200 years of ministry, we reflect on how God will sustain the church for the next 200
his strategic plan is the result of more than a year of prayer, listening, and study throughout our church. Neighborhood gatherings, a congregational survey, officer retreats, church visits, and small group meetings were some of the mediums for God’s voice throughout the process. The strategies in this plan are intended to set our church on a path of continued faithfulness toward what God is calling us to be. This plan tells a story, reflected in four pillars. The story begins with the first pillar, “Life Together” – a phrase from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Bonhoeffer asserted that our communal life is a gift from God, one that is made possible in and through Jesus Christ. We recognize that authentic community is not a goal we obtain, but something we practice every day in our discipleship journey together. It is our hope that First Presbyterian will be a place that embodies and nurtures authentic community – graciously living together within Christ’s Church. In examining what “Life Together” may look like for First Presbyterian, a central theme arose: hospitality. Our congregation expressed a strong desire to be more welcoming, both to each other and to our neighbors in the Charlotte community. The second pillar, “Welcoming Each Other and Our Neighbors,” reflects an inside out approach to hospitality. It is our hope that First Presbyterian will be a church known for Christian hospitality – intentionally welcoming, inviting, and including all of God’s children in our mission.
First Presbyterian Church | The Four Pillars
It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brothers and sisters.” –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
irst Presbyterian will be a place that embodies and nurtures authentic community – graciously living together in Christ’s Church. Living our life together is by nature counter-cultural. It means moving away from individualism and moving toward a communal life in Christ. Living this way can be difficult
and messy, but our discipleship journey cannot be done alone. Our community grows when we cultivate a safe environment to challenge and support each other as we mature in our faith.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar One
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.” –Acts 2:42-47
I. Strategic Honor the Sabbath
or most of us, Sunday feels the same as the rest of the week – busy. We attend worship, but it is typically one of many things we do that day. We need a Sabbath experience that allows us to set aside the demands of the week, slows us down, and creates time and space to claim our deepest purpose. We envision Sunday mornings with more time before, after, and between worship and learning. We seek to boldly claim the Sabbath and create an intergenerational experience of worship, learning, table fellowship, and engagement. Ways to achieve this goal may include serving breakfast to our homeless neighbors, sharing a communal meal after worship, and/ or adjusting our worship and formation schedules to allow for more fellowship, connection, and engagement in the life of the church.
Broaden and Strengthen Adult Christian Formation
hristian formation is critical to discipleship. Study, prayer, and reflection bring us closer to God. Our church remains firmly committed to our formation programming, both on Sunday mornings and throughout the week. As we continue to provide learning opportunities for all, we will broaden and strengthen our adult formation programming with additional resources and a better balance of staff, lay leaders, and outside experts. We will support new ideas around curriculum and structure, providing instruction on the Bible, ethics, and Reformed theology that engages all of our generations, from young adults to senior adults, while also learning and discussing how we can carry out our call to serve Christ in the heart of Charlotte.
Deepen Our Relationships With One Another
ur church hungers for deeper, more authentic relationships that slow us down and get beyond the rushed encounters of our everyday lives. We will create more opportunities for members and non-members alike to establish and deepen their personal relationships so that people feel more engaged and connected with one another, and, in turn, more engaged and connected with the church. This may include a renewed commitment to young adult ministry, more frequent and intentional intergenerational fellowship opportunities, creation of a true men’s ministry, and/or an examination of staff allocation and resources for implementation of these initiatives.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar One
Welcoming Each Other and Our
Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.” –Hebrews 13:1-2
irst Presbyterian will be a church known for our authentic Christian hospitality – intentionally welcoming and inviting all of God’s children into our mission. Practicing hospitality allows us to experience and feel the presence of God in our lives. As recipients of God’s hospitality, we are called to embody that hospitality in our own faith journey. Hospitality requires vulnerability and hard work. To be done well, it requires deliberate, thoughtful
attention. However, before we can extend welcome to those outside the community, we must first welcome one another. Creating space in our busy lives to share meals with one another, care for one another, and worship with one another is vital to ensuring a vibrant, hospitable community.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar Two
Foster a Commitment to Hospitality
ospitality must be taught and nurtured. It does not always come naturally and is often in direct conflict with many of our societal values. It requires preaching, teaching, and modeling hospitable behavior. To that end, we will equip church members with staff and lay support to assist visitors to our campus and worship services. We will also build a welcoming infrastructure that anticipates needs and allows us to respond with hospitality and care. We will explore ongoing Christian formation regarding hospitality, training of members and staff with the Urban Ministry Center and other resources, and/or allocating staff and resources to greatly enhance our ability to practice and model Christian hospitality.
Offer Different Ways of Worship Within our Reformed Tradition
ur traditional worship service will remain central to our ministry. Additionally, to reach more of our neighbors in Charlotte, we must offer other ways of encountering God in the worship life of the church while remaining committed to our Reformed Tradition. Specifically, we should explore an informal worship service option that will draw in others and dramatically increase our capacity to welcome—and worship with—a broader cross-section of our neighbors.
Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.” –Henri Nouwen
Reimagine our Physical Space
e have the responsibility to create physical space that is intentionally welcoming to each other and to our neighbors in Charlotte. Effectively welcoming guests and each other into God’s house requires thoughtful use of our physical space. Is our church space approachable? Can only an insider navigate the building? Are we utilizing our common areas — both inside and outside — appropriately for fellowship and gathering? We will reimagine our physical space to create a more welcoming space that allows the Charlotte community to experience God’s hospitality more fully.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar Two
...but seek the welfare of the city, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your own.” –Jeremiah 29:7
irst Presbyterian seeks to be a church faithfully responding to the needs and issues of our city — claiming the city’s issues as our church’s issues, witnessing for Christ in the center of our city, empathizing with and serving the needs of God’s people. The church’s history, while not perfect, is a history of service and mission in the heart of Charlotte. It is a history inextricably intertwined with the history of the city. Our city and our church
have never needed each other more. We are called to love our neighbors, be in fellowship with our neighbors, serve with our neighbors, and be in true relationship with our neighbors. We want to — we must — respond to this need in this time and place to carry out our mission — God’s mission for us — for Christ in the heart of Charlotte.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar Three
Embrace and Engage the Needs of Our City
ur church has been a church of the city since its inception. Our church feels called to serve and lead our community in addressing the needs and issues our city faces, including early childhood education, affordable housing, homelessness, and racial inequality. We will establish a multi-faceted forum to study and discuss the intersection of Charlotte’s needs and our church. By engaging in candid discussion, a deeper study, and better understanding of such issues in our city, we can more effectively lead and respond as part of our mission “For Christ in the Heart of Charlotte.”
…the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” –Luke 22:26-27
Emerge as an Epicenter of Service
Expand our Pastoral Counseling Outreach in Charlotte
irst Presbyterian has a long history of serving Charlotte’s children and families. To sustain and enhance our history of service for future generations, we will make a comprehensive commitment to our city’s children and families that coalesces and builds on our existing ministries and responds to Charlotte’s needs as expressed in the 2017 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force Report. We will strive to make First Presbyterian an epicenter of service to the Charlotte community, drawing members and non-members to serve side-by-side in our mission. We will also explore the idea of establishing a non-profit to leverage community involvement and financial support in this mission.
entral to the mission and purpose of our church is supporting and caring for one another in our times of greatest need. The Church is often the only place to which we are able or willing to turn in times of need. We will find new ways to care for our community and congregation so that our church can be a place of wholeness and healing for our neighbors and members. Toward this end, we will also explore the possibility of building a partnership with a faith-based counseling center to bring a counseling resource to our campus.
First Presbyterian Church |Pillar Three
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land that he swore to your ancestors…a land with fine, large cities you did not build, houses filled with all sorts of goods that you did not fill, wells that you did not dig, vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant, take care that you do not forget the Lord…” –Deuteronomy 6:10-12
s we approach 200 years of ministry, mindful of the grace that has sustained us, First Presbyterian will continue to be a church dedicated to our long-term sustainability in order to embolden Christ’s mission, cultivating generosity, leadership, and diversified approaches to giving. The church does
not exist for its own sake, but for the sake of the world. Investing in our longterm sustainability is an act of faithful stewardship so that we can continue to be God’s instrument in the heart of our city and beyond.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar Four
The mission of God in Christ gives shape and substance to the life and work of the Church. In Christ, the Church participates in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity by proclaiming to all people the good news of God’s love, offering to all people the grace of God at font and table, and calling all people to discipleship in Christ.” –Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) Book of Order – F-1.01
Create a Financial Resource Development Plan
ur church has always depended upon the passion and generosity of those who call it their own. 93% of our annual budget income comes from member giving. This generosity and sense of ownership is a strength that needs to continue in the future. The cost of maintaining our beautiful and historic church campus and facilities continues to increase. We should consider new approaches to stewardship, including developing an endowment that will allow us to offset the cost of our physical plant so that more annual stewardship dollars can be dedicated to mission and ministry.
Cultivate Future Leaders
tewardship is about much more than money. Stewardship also includes investing in people. An Emerging Leaders Forum focused on faithful leadership, spirituality, and stewardship development is a way we can identify, cultivate, and equip disciples in our midst to be a part of the work of the church on our campus and in the world. We can also more effectively cultivate future leaders by more thoughtfully and deliberately allocating our resources to young adult ministries.
Craft a Campus Master Plan
o embrace our future, we must be clear about our needs, our steps, and their sequence. We need a campus master plan, including a comprehensive space-study. The plan will consider and account for recommendations in this strategic plan, recommendations from the West Campus Visioning Committee, and recommendations from the Property Committee about our physical space to provide us with a roadmap from where we are to where God calls us to be. We will also explore the potential need for a capital campaign to fund the appropriate phases of the campus master plan and the initiatives in this strategic plan, to make a bold commitment to our mission and to galvanize the congregation in a common stewardship goal.
First Presbyterian Church | Pillar Four
Now may God prosper the work of our hands.” –Psalm 90:17
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