From the October 23, 2016, edition of The Adventurer’s “Word from the Dean”
We are embarking on a process of prayerful discernment of God’s vision for the Advent. Our identity is firm: we already know that we are a “Gospel-centered church, with a ‘living, daring confidence in God’s grace’.” Each of us comes to the Advent because we need the life, hope, and courage that the Gospel alone can give. That is not going to change. But we want to take some time to look at our programs and structures, making sure they are in sync with who we are.
This may cause some to pause and think, “But I like things just the way they are!” Of course, and I’m with you in so many instances. But as we move forward into the next season of our life together, now is a good time to discern prayerfully what God is doing at the Advent, now and in our near future. What brings us all together is a common commitment to the Gospel. If anything ever changes, I pray it is only for this commitment, and how it is manifested in our heart for those who haven’t heard of Jesus, for those who have been burned by the Church, and for Birmingham itself.
This is an exciting time at the Advent. All of us here are a part of something so much greater than ourselves. As I mentioned recently in my Stewardship Sermon, our “trellis” is in great shape; now is a good time to discern how God wants us to tend the vine.
To that end, a group of 25 Adventers from all four of our services – relative new-comers, old-timers, men and women from across the age spectrum – will gather to consider prayerfully our vision, purpose, and what areas the Lord is calling us to especially. Soon, there will be many opportunities for small conversation groups to gather around this process, providing input along the way.
This is an exciting time around here. We want this process to be a listening process, where we hear the Lord’s direction as we also listen to one another. Look for regular updates and opportunities to be a part of the conversation groups. And above all, please join me in prayer for the Advent, as we discern the Lord’s vision for this part of his Church.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – St. John 15:5