Hello Restoration. We had a good parish meeting this past Tuesday (Sept 27). Here is my manuscript for what we talked about. It is long. I’ll try to bold headings so you can jump to the parts with which you are most concerned. Please ask questions in the comments and I will interact with you there.
We opened in worship and then I shared from Matthew 7: 7-11
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
There are three things I want us to apply from this passage:
- That we would be people who create space to ‘Ask, seek, and knock’ and that we would listen for how God responds.
- That we would regularly ask, how am I doing receiving what God gives me? Am I calling a fish, a snake? Do I call bread, a stone?
- That we would be people who ASSUME that God gives good things to his children– even when we can’t see it, don’t understand it.
Stories of Restoration since May 2011
- Team to West VA– over 40 adults and kids spent 5 days in Philippi, WV– repairing roofs, building decks, cutting firewood, and loving their neighbor.
- Kevan Hayes to Moldova– the transition home we support is going well. They are putting in 2 greenhouses and a tailoring shop so that the home can become financially self-sufficient. Our small groups prayed for these girls in the spring. I am so encouraged that there are 7 girls, in a country that most of us do not think about, (or even heard of), who are learning a trade, living in safety, and being a family in the Lord to each other.
I asked our staff to tell me stories about God’s work in our church:
Erin wrote this: In my last Esther sermon, I asked everybody to get together with another person in the church and share stories of what God has done in their lives. A woman in her 20s said she and a woman in her 50s were talking after the service and decided to get together and have coffee. She said it was a great time of sharing stories, making connections over similar experiences, praying together… And how much the 20-something enjoyed the chance to connect with an older woman in the congregation and hear some of the wisdom she had to offer. This totally made my day. And is a simple, accessible story of how community is built and people grow as disciples.
This is so encouraging to me. There are thousands of people who would love to have an older person come alongside them as a mentor. In our church that desire is being met more and more. Take a risk. Reach out to someone who is older or younger than you. Open your life to someone else in the name of Jesus.
We have had some staff changes. We hired kathy Kenyon as our part-time Parish Administrator. We said good-bye to Andrew Thompson. We hired Matt to be Full-Time on July 1. Here is a reflection from Matt…
“Full time – woohoo! These past two months of being full time music pastor at Restoration have been a great experience. Something that I have loved has been working with specific musicians. Very quick story: Jodie had been attending Restoration for only a couple months when she approached me after an eleven o’clock service. She sweetly introduced herself and said, “I play cello.” Those were magical words to my ears. She shared that she’d only had classical training and had never read chord charts before. She eagerly requested to meet with me, and I eagerly accepted. We went through some of the basics of playing “around the chords” and infusing musical interpretation into the music based upon the melody and the lyrics. She has excelled in her abilities and has become, with many others, a valuable piece of our corporate worship time.
And Shameless Plug…This very well could be you. If you play an instrument and have interest in learning what it might be like to play in a somewhat impromptu ensemble environment, I would love to work with you and learn from you as well.
If impromptu music turns out to not be your gig, we have two specific opportunities throughout the year (Advent and Holy Week) that would be great opportunities to put together a small ensemble to join the voices of the congregation in adoring our Savior and proclaiming truths of our God.
Louise wrote about our kids…
The kids at Restoration are growing in their faith in much the same way as the taller people in their lives are. They are developing relationships with leaders and mentors, learning from their peers, reading God’s word, asking LOTS of questions, and observing those around them to see what living out one’s faith looks like. I’ve seen kids settle in as they grow more comfortable in their skin. Some of this is just simple development — getting large muscles under control, gaining skills in reading, feeling more confident and independent as they separate from their parents. And, some of what we’ve seen in our kids is God revealing His gifting in them. There are some of our kids who already have the gift of hospitality, evident in the way they make others around them feel welcome. There are other kids in whom I’ve seen amazing wisdom; an ability to understand and explain the Scriptures clearly. On a few occasions, I’ve observed (with my jaw practically dragging on the floor) a child stating the day’s kids’ small group lesson with what appears to be deep wisdom and understanding. It is awesome. God is awesome and He is working in and through our kids at Restoration, too!
We’ve got lots of young people, which means lots of engagements and weddings. This spring/summer, the Terrys and Erin were trained in a nationally recognized premarriage course. We created a plan to train all of our Restoration marriage mentors. The Doolittles were one of several mentor couples who gladly offered to go through the training in order to be able to mentor future engaged couples. The training is essentially going through the program itself: taking inventory about their relationship, meeting with Erin 3 or 4 evenings to talk through results, identifying strength & growth areas in relationship, completing an exercise in communication, conflict resolution, other areas. Erin was grateful that they were willing to give their time to this — a significant commitment. (They also fed her dinner!) They said they were grateful for the training, as it gave them incentive to be more aware of their relationship and how they were or weren’t nurturing it… Over the summer, the Doolittles mentored Drew Hartley & Alicia Leite, who are getting married in the next few weeks. Drew & Alicia have said how much they’ve enjoyed getting to know the Doolittles, learned from their experience, and just really appreciated that another couple would be willing to invest time and relational space and prayer for them as they prepare for marriage. Cameron & Carolyn have really loved getting to know Drew & Alicia, have talked to Erin about how fun it is to get to be part of their lives — that mentoring others is really a part of what they feel like God has called them to as a couple.
You have also heard a lot about Cancer…
This is a new experience for our church– to have people we dearly love going through illnesses that are very serious. I appreciate our regularity in prayer– every week. I see you reaching out to these folks with meals, visits, hugs, and encouragement. Make no mistake, cancer stinks, it is of the devil, but it is not just a snake, it’s effect on our community has been a fish– the chance to celebrate little breakthroughs, and love through hard time.
Let me remind you of how we ended the spring– We believe that God has clearly called us to ‘make disciples’ in North Arlington. We are broken people, restored by grace, living God’s story. We believe that God gives good things to those who ask him– he restores them, he helps them find their place in His story. We are a church that is trying to be as strategic as possible in how we use our resources to accomplish His purposes.
Financials: Reporting on FY2011 and Budget for FY2012
6 Things You Need to know:
We created a Long Range Facility Team under the leadership of David and Kristin Cummins.
- Church is actively considering putting a modular on plot
- $12K for setup and takedown; $750/month
- Proposed use(s): Sunday Kid Small Groups, Vestry Meetings, Training events
- We have been using an architect to help us the facility potential of our lot.
- Remaining principal on current church is ~$725K
- We are aware that the house next door, 1807 Quincy St will list in a few weeks for $670K.
Restoration has 4 advisory teams that give recommendations and perform due diligence for our vestry: personnel (lead by Cindy Darnell), finance (lead by our treasurer, Jan Ryerson), Outreach (lead by Mitch Wallin), and the above mentioned facility team. If you have questions about what Restoration is doing in these areas, these are the people to contact. The members of these teams serve for 3 years with 1/3 of the team rolling off every year. There are always opportunities for you to serve, if this aligns with your interest, gifts, and experience.
- Summer– we had fun events every week. Part of that was for us to get to know each other, part of that was to provide invitational opportunities for you. We want to do more of that, so that you have the chance to bring your friends who are far from God, far from the church WITH you. Currently this initiative is dependent on your ideas.
- Bill Haley is coming alongside Restoration as a consultant for a few months to help us think about discipleship structures and programs.
- He is leading 3 spiritual formation retreats for our staff
- He will preach a few times
- He will facilitate a discipleship task force. The purpose of this team is to brainstorm, listen, and discuss ideas, structures, and programs that will help us make disciples in our unique Restoration context. They will get into the weeds, the nitty-gritty to suggest a plan of next steps for our church.
- Discipleship will be something we always talk about and programs will come and go. Bill is a known quantity to us. He has served on the staff of The Falls Church. He planted a church in DC. We know him and we trust him. In addition, he is ready to help immediately. So we brought him in now to bridge the few months while we seek to add to our staff team another clergy person who may have gifting in this area as well.
- It will not be Bill Haley
- We have had over 40 applicants. Hire team narrowed them down to about 12. On Wednesday (9/28) I spent the day interviewing all of them. I am encouraged by the processa and have a lot of hope we will find someone who fits our team well. I spoke with folks from Ottawa, South Carolina, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Birmingham, Vancouver, Raleigh, Lexington KY, and Arlington!
- We are looking for a strategic generalist– we have opportunities with youth, small groups, discipleship, outreach. But first and foremost, we need someone who fits with our team and has the character to persevere in this role.
Fall Retreat: Steve and Sally Breedlove are our speakers. Alex Mejias is leading worship.
- Steve and Sally wrote The Shame Exchange: Trading Shame for God’s Mercy and Freedom
- They both love investing in young leaders and thinking about discipleship.
- Artists– there will be opportunities for art on the retreat.
- They will help us think about sabbath, rest, and sustainable spiritual rhythms
Vestry election timetable
Our life together at Restoration depends on the guidance of leaders, elected by our congregation, whom God has gifted with wisdom, love of Jesus, and love of our church. If there is someone you believe God may be calling to provide oversight and encouragement to Restoration by serving on vestry, please email Cameron Doolittle or Ray Blunt. Nominations are due by Sunday, October 9. (Even if God brings no one to mind, please join us in praying for the next class of vestry)
- September 27: Nominations Open
- Oct. 9: Nominations Close
- Oct. 30: Slate announced
- Nov. 13: Election opens
- Nov. 20: Election closes