Thanksgiving for 10 Good Years

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Christmas 2008 RestoKids

A Good Gift of Thanksgiving

In light of all that God has done at Restoration, and in anticipation of what he will do, we’re providing an opportunity to make a special gift to Restoration as we celebrate the fact that Good Things Grow Here

Special offerings have always been a tangible part of worship.  They provide an opportunity to rejoice by giving something extra.  This financial gift would be above and beyond what you were planning to give at the end of 2019. 

The vestry has designated this ‘Thanksgiving for 10 Good Years’ gift to go in to our operating fund.  They may use it to fund a curate (i.e. recent seminary graduate) position, to pursue an initiative of our new strategic plan, or to pay down part of our mortgage debt.  We are so grateful for your generosity, so grateful for God’s faithfulness, and so grateful for the chance to give a visible demonstration of our joy and thanksgiving.

You will have 2 options for giving your ‘Thanksgiving for 10 Good Years’ gifts:

  1. We will make special envelopes available on Nov. 17 and at the party on Nov. 22.  On Sunday, Nov. 24 we will turn in those envelopes as part of the offering during our worship services.
  2. If you prefer to give through CCB, we will make a menu item available called, ‘Thanksgiving for 10 Good Years’ available from Nov. 18-24.

Sunday, November 24 at the 9 and 11.  During the response song after the sermon, we will invite everyone who wants to give a gift in ‘Thanksgiving for 10 Good Years’ to come forward and place their envelope on the Lord’s Table.  In your envelope will either be your actual gift or a card that says what you gave electronically through CCB.  Our intention is to provide a chance for you to worship and give thanks for what the Lord has done.  We want to recognize that by doing something we normally don’t do.

Later in the service, we will take up our ‘normal’ offering for that Sunday.  2 Offerings??  Yep.  We never do that.  But, we have deliberately invited you to give a gift that is above and beyond, so our actual giving will be above and beyond as well.

All of it will make sense on Nov. 24, we just want you to be prepared for what’s happening!

We pray that your generous thanksgiving will launch us into the good things that God will grow here.

-David

 

Restoration 2025: Update and Request for Plans!

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Restoration,

We have been hard at work gathering input about the things you love about our church and the hopes you have for what our church will become.  Thank you!

This is a (long) update about what we know and what we don’t know in July 2019 about our Restoration 2025 Strategic Plan.

Here is an overview of what you can read below:

  1. It starts with a preamble that isolates some of our ‘unknowns’.  We want to acknowledge that we need to ‘save space’ for the unknown ways that God might surprise us.
  2. It then pivots to what we do ‘know’ because of your excellent feedback given through your survey responses and congregational input sessions.
  3. Then it employees a thought exercise about the answers we would like to get to a hypothetical congregational survey in 2025.  Imagine our joy in getting those responses!
  4. Finally, it asks for your input:  What plans should we put in place now in order to get the ‘2025 survey responses’ that we desire?

We are ready to read and to hear your tactical and specific ideas for plans that we should implement.  As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.

We are SO grateful for the way our congregation has engage this process.  Thank you for praying, for responding, for writing, and for peering forward with hope to what God has for Restoration, next!  We can’t wait to see it!

-David

(As a note of clarity, when I use ‘we’, I am referring primarily to the Restoration leadership team of vestry and staff, but ‘we’ also reflects the over 300 survey responses and hundreds of sticky notes from Restoration members.)

Preamble:  Isolating Unknowns

From the vantage point of July 2019, Restoration leaders are trying to see where God is taking Restoration in 2025.  Your feedback through our congregational input sessions, hundreds of sticky notes, and over 300 survey responses has really helped the leadership of Restoration to hear what you like about and what you are longing for in our church.  Thank you.

There are a few things that affect our visibility to 2025.  They are not bad or good.  They just are.  As followers of Jesus, when we encounter stuff that makes it hard to see, we increase our prayer and we cry out for discernment.  And we trust that God will help us.  He will.

Here are the ‘unknown unknowns’ that we are trying to isolate so that we can focus on the tangible plans we want to make. 

  • Unknown #1:  We are a church full of people with ideas and resources.   The creativity and potential within our community is astounding.  We want to pursue and build the ideas we have now, in 2019.  We also recognize that lots of ideas grow here.  So we want to ‘save some space’ for those ideas that might emerge in the next 5 years.  We are not sure what it means to ‘save some space’, yet, but we know it is important.
  • Unknown #2:  We don’t know what new ideas will come through our doors or grow up in our pews.  Most of our church is in a stage of life that fosters change and transition:  Kids are growing from nursery to APEX.  Adults have changing jobs, increasing responsibility, and growing incomes.  Our area has a lot of transience.   Generally we experience a turnover of about 100 people each year.
  • Unknown #3:  Restoration has the potential for a lot (more) staff transition between now and 2025.  Specifically the addition of a new Director of Worship Arts will significantly change our most visible experience:  our Sunday Liturgy.  We must be praying every day for this person and the way music and art will change in our church.  (Remember how much staff change we have already experienced in the last 5 years: 14 people were added to our team and 9 people left our team.  That’s a lot of change for a staff team that has hovered around 8 people for those five years.)
  • Unknown #4:  What is the threat or opportunity that is represented by our mortgage due date (July 2023)?  How do we continue to be a good steward of our building-  managing the capital expense (mortgage), the maintenance expense, and seeking to make it available to everyone that we can?

We are isolating these ‘unknowns’ so that we can focus on the ‘knowns’ for which we are trying to plan.  We invite you to pray about these things.  Perhaps God will grant us more clarity in the months to come. 

What we DO know:

May 2019 Survey

Here is the most salient feedback that we received from our May 2019 Congregational Survey.

[338 total people took the 2019 survey. 

  • 82 out of 338 (24% of respondents) used the link that was sent to our core leadership team (for this document, ‘core leadership team’ refers to the 135 vestry, staff, and small group leaders of Restoration).
  • 82 out of 135 represents 61% of the people on that core leadership team. 
  • 255 out of 338 survey respondents attend Restoration. 
  • 83 respondents no longer attend Restoration.  Those who no longer attend were not given the feedback questions about current Restoration programs.]

The 2019 congregational survey said these things: 

  1. The primary things that people are looking for when they choose a church:  preaching/teaching (98%), music (85%), ability to form friendships (82%), Small Groups (81%) are things that Restoration is doing well.
  2. Restoration does a great job serving kids (92% said that Resto serves this group well) and families (91% said that Resto serves this group well).
  3. Restoration is not great at sharing the Gospel with those outside the church nor teaching people how to share the Gospel.  This is a place where we could improve.
  4. Restoration members are passionate about growth.  They want to grow closer to Jesus and they want to see an increase in the number of people making commitments to follow Jesus because of the efforts of our church. 

 

What if we offered another Restoration Survey in 2025?

The leadership of Restoration is working to articulate 2 goals that came out from our 2019 survey feedback:

  1. We want to use the resources of Restoration to seek after strategic groups of people that are under-served by Christ-filled communities. We want to build/create things together that will compel people who are outside the church to come in to friendship with Jesus and friendship with people at Restoration.
  2. We want people who attend Restoration to grow closer to God by trusting Jesus in everything and being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We think these people will have a compelling story of God’s power to restore broken people by grace which they can share with those in their sphere of influence who are not in a church.

If those goals were accomplished in the next 5 years, how might people respond to a 2025 congregational survey?  Here are some examples:

  1. In response to the question, did you decide to follow Jesus in the last 5 years, we would like over 100 people to say ‘yes’. This would be one of the products of Restoration growing disciples who tell a compelling story about life in God’s Kingdom and seeking groups of people around us with winsome invitations to consider Jesus and gracious acts of service. 
  2. In response to a question about being an active member of a small group, we would like 100% of people to have been in a small group in the previous year (1 out of 3 trimesters). We would like the diversity (kind, length, focus) of small groups to increase.  We believe that small group involvement is still the primary metric for measuring people choosing opportunities to help them grow.
  3. We would like an increased correlation between age (mid 20s to mid 30s) or location (The Orange Line Corridor) and involvement in:  a Restoration service, a Restoration small group, a Restoration mentoring relationship.  We think this group of people is strategic for Restoration because of the people who attend Restoration and the location of our building (very close to Metro).  The service or small group might be something new that we created or it could be a concerted effort to integrate people in that age and location into current services and small groups of diverse demography.
  4. In response to the question, “in the last year, how many times have you served at RILA or one of our local outreach partners?”  We would like an increase in involvement by people who regularly attend Restoration.  We think that our partnership with RILA is critical.  We want to more holistically serve RILA clients.  We want everyone at Restoration to have an opportunity to serve RILA clients.
  5. In response to the question, ‘Do you give a 5-10% portion of your annual income to the work that God is doing through Restoration?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  In response to the question, ‘Has this percentage increased in the last five years?’  We would like 100% of people to say yes.  We think generosity and trusting Jesus with our money is a critical discipleship issue for people in our congregation.
  6. In response to the question, ‘Have you told a friend or neighbor about your relationship with God in the past 6 months?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  As a follow-up, ‘Have you invited that person to follow Jesus?’  We would like 100% of people to say ‘yes’.  Restoration is currently good at engaging the nuance of spirituality in Arlington County.  We need to grow in boldness and willingness to ‘close the deal’ with our friends.

 

Plans that might lead to those survey results

If these potential survey results get us excited, what kinds of things would Restoration need to do to bring them about? 

The leadership of Restoration is very engaged in ‘plan brainstorming’ right now.  If you read these goals and potential survey responses and think of plans that might help us achieve them, we would love to know.  As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.     

Here are some notes to help you articulate your ‘plan’ idea:

  1. Please be very specific and tactical in your plan.    
  2. If you can estimate cost in terms of dollars in the budget or hours per week needed from staff/volunteers, that would be helpful. 
  3. If your plan is to hire someone, be as specific as you can about characteristics this person would need to have. 
  4. If your plan is to create a structure or a program, tell us how it will work.  Would we need to eliminate or change a current plan to implement your plan?

To help you think of plans that might lead to those survey results, here are 4 questions to get you started.  We invite you to share them on this form.

How do we maintain/sustain and improve what we do well today.  What would help us decouple the things we do well from the individuals who do them?  

Potential things to focus on include:  Gospel teaching & worship, Small groups, Kids small groups, Global outreach

  1. In five years, what would success look like?  E.g., Restoration has amazing kids small groups, and a strong set of volunteers and clear ‘succession planning’ to backfill key staff.
  2. What are specific ideas or suggestions we should consider to achieve success?  E.g., Have each staff member/volunteer leader build a ‘handbook’ for their core responsibilities (calendar, cheat-sheet of names/numbers, policies/procedures, etc.)

 

How do we grow disciples within our church?  What plans will catalyze people who attend Restoration growing closer to God by trusting Jesus in everything and being filled with the Holy Spirit?

    1. What would success look like?  E.g., Restoration is a church full of first-time visitors and new Christians who came because they were invited.
    2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?
      E.g., community/teaching events (like the technology for families event) every month
      E.g., specific classes or small groups talking about apologetics and/or how to share the gospel

 

How do we serve our local community better?  How do we grow our partnership with RILA?  Are there new local partners whom we should engage?

E.g., Restoration is known in the community for our service to our neighbors, and there are members of our church who got to know us through this service.
E.g., We have increased our support to RILA by doing…

  1. What would success look like?
  2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?

 

How do we use the resources of Restoration to seek after strategic groups of people that are under-served by Christ-filled communities?  Specifically how do we seek and invite young adults and people who live along the Orange Line Corridor?

E.g., Restoration has a vibrant young adult ministry or a Fellows Program or a second van to pick people up at the Metro on Sundays or…

    1. What would success look like?
    2. What specific ideas or suggestions should we consider?

 

As your ideas materialize, we invite you to share them on this form.

We are excited to share a draft of our 2025 Strategic Plan at our Congregational Vision Night on September 10 at 7pm in our sanctuary.  Until then, please pray and share your ideas!

-David

Here is the form for your ideas.

Resto2025 Congregation Survey

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Restoration 2025

This is our 10th year as a church!  We have a big birthday to celebrate when we get to November.  One of the gifts that our leadership is giving to the church is a strategic plan that will guide us over the next five years.  We are grateful for all of the input our congregation has given so far and we look forward to many more fruitful conversations in the future.

From May 8 until midnight on May 19, we are hosting a survey for you to give your feedback about the things that Restoration is doing well, the ways that you are growing closer to Jesus, and the opportunities that we have to be more effective in the work God has given us to do as a church.  The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete and I hope that all of you will choose to do it.  We thank you in advance for the investment of your time.

You can access the survey, here.

We have been working on this plan since September 2018.  Want to read an archive of our progress?  Click here and pray as you go.

Thanks for being a part of the first ten years of Restoration.  We are excited about what’s to come!

-David

Restoration2025: report from congregational input #1

Congregational Input

We hope that you will join us for each congregational input session.  The next one is Sunday, March 31 @1pm.  We will provide food and childcare.  You can also submit ideas, questions, and things you are hearing in prayer to this email address or through this form.

Thanks for reading and praying along with us.  Here is a summary of what we heard on March 17:

Key Highlights

~25 members gathered to pray with us, in thanksgiving for what God has already done in and through Restoration for the past 9+ years, and in anticipation of hearing what He will do for the next 5.
Some things we heard about what we do well (and should probably continue doing!):
  • Kids small groups (Nursery through 5th grade)
  • Adult small groups (the model makes it easy for people to jump in)
  • Use of liturgy, music, and other arts to invite people to connect with God on more than an intellectual level
  • Open communication and sense of welcome from the leaders
There was excitement about possibilities with the following:
  • Youth and Young Adult Ministries (roughly defined as age 14 through 30)
  • Fostering spiritual development and growth of individual members
    • training and equipping folks to ‘invitationally’ talk about their relationship with Jesus.
    • providing resources for life’s hard stuff: parenting, death, transitions, etc.
    • more rigorous, in depth Bible Study / Scripture study
  • Increasing local outreach – thinking about how we integrate into the immediate community
    • using our facility/space creatively
    • more conferences/seminars on topics that concern those in our broader community
    • short term local missions trips
    • caring for the vulnerable
    • connecting w/ young professionals new to the area

There is a chance that this list doesn’t have the idea you want our church to pursue over the next five years!  So make sure that you bring it with you on March 31 @1pm so that we can hear it!

Moving towards Jesus

One of our stations on March 17 was for input about who we want to serve and invite into this story…
Broadly speaking, people fit into the following categories:
  • Jesus Who? — Never met Jesus
  • No Thanks Jesus — Don’t care to meet Jesus because they a) don’t care or b) simply not appealing
  • Yea, I Met Jesus Once — Met Jesus long ago and consider themselves “churched” or too busy
  • Jesus Betrayed Me — He didn’t come through on something they wanted, didn’t protect them from pain
  • What Now Jesus? — Newly met Jesus and looking for a home and a place to fit in and grow
  • Following Jesus — Looking for my calling, to grow deeper, to give with a purpose

Ultimately, our goal is for people to a) meet Jesus, and b) be discipled by Jesus together with others being discipled by Jesus.

We want to develop a plan that engages Restoration’s unique gifts to help people meet Jesus and be discipled by Jesus.  The people we want to befriend, serve, and love are:
  1. Unchurched – and either a) Never been exposed to Jesus, and/or b) Don’t see the point.  Our neighbors.  Our fellow professionals (Gen X, Y, Z) looking for a home and a place to belong.
  2. Under-resourced– our neighbors who are financially poor, undereducated, families in foster care
  3. Unseen-  our elders, our friends who experience depression, anxiety, loneliness

We are seeking God’s leading and His compassion.  We want to run with anticipation and excitement towards the things He is doing and inviting us to join.  Keep praying with us!  Keep listening!

We hope to see you on March 31 at 1pm.

Restoration 2025: Congregational Input #1

Congregational Input

You are invited.

Restoration, I invite you bring the enthusiasm, energy, and ideas you’ve always shared with me to the first congregational input session on March 17th.  We will not have childcare.  But we will have snacks!

There are 2 more congregational input sessions on March 31 @1 (at Restoration with childcare) and April 10 @7:30 (at the Weimer Home).  If you can attend all 3 input sessions, GREAT!  I imagine that they will build on each other and you will enjoy the sense of momentum.  If you can only attend 1 or 2, GREAT!  We want to hear what you have to say and you will have an opportunity at each session.

As things occur to you, this form is a place you can share more ideas, concerns, and things you hear in prayer.

To make the best use of our sessions together, I want to summarize some of the feedback we have already received, share the questions with which our vestry and church leaders are wrestling, and give you an idea of where we would like to focus our time together in the coming weeks.  

What we have heard so far.

On September 6, 2018, we hosted our first vision night (this is the link to the audio summary) with over 100 of you participating.  We had stations setup around the building and welcomed the chance to hear your thoughts about our strengths and weaknesses across a variety of topics including evangelism, discipleship, how to celebrate our 10th anniversary, the church mortgage, church planting, kids and youth, etc..  It was a great session and we received a ton of valuable input.

Out of Vision Night, we prioritized 6 important areas for the vestry and staff to consider for Restoration2025:

  1. Church Planting  We believe there are communities that would benefit from the kind of church that Restoration could plant.  Is this the time to keep pursuing those opportunities?  What is the place?  Who is the person?
  2. Serving and partnering with the Spanish speaking population in Arlington.  We love how God provided an opportunity like RILA-  we identified a need (immigration legal aid) that Restoration people could meet with great effectiveness.  Are there other opportunities to serve and partner with our Spanish speaking neighbors? 
  1. People aged 14-26 who live around us.  We want to build on the vibrant growth in Kids’ Small Groups and APEX.  We want to build up and equip those just starting out in their careers. What programs would disciple them?  What needs can we meet?  How can we offer vibrant community for them as well?  Programmatically, we have seen that a Fellows Program (like TFCA) or a mentorship program (like the CS Lewis Institute) has been effective.  Should Restoration pursue a similar programmatic initiative? 
  1. Disciples are connected, available, moving, healthy, and thankful.  They are living God’s Story and they know their place in it.  How do we help people grow deeper and closer to Jesus?  Our small group system has been very effective for a number of years.  Anything we need to add, edit, or delete in relation to this core structure of Restoration?
  2. We want to be a church where people choose to follow Jesus  where they move from curious to convinced.  We want to invite the tens of thousands of people around us to follow Jesus.  How do we do that more effectively?  What could we create to foster relationships that move people closer to Jesus?
  3. 2025 feels far away and it will be here sooner than we think.  What should we be doing now to be ready for what comes after 2025?  Specifically, our mortgage will be due in 2023.  The vestry has commissioned a capital campaign team.  Should we orient ourselves to be in a place to pay it off by 2023?  What other areas should we be working on now so that we are ready for 2025 and beyond?  A rector succession plan?  A pipeline of young(er) staff who are coming up to fill staff gaps that will emerge in the next 7 years?  

The vestry and staff have been praying about and discussing these questions.

We invite your input on Sunday, March 17.

  1. In our Restoration community, who do we serve well?  Who could we serve better?
  2. What are programs or events that we do really well?
    What are the programmatic gaps that require concentrated effort to develop?
    What are things that we are currently doing that we should consider not doing in the future (for the sake of something else)?
  3. Which communities in and around Arlington do we want to pursue?  (could be categories of geography, ethnicity, vocation, avocation, or other demographic descriptors)
  4. What does growth look like in the next 5 years?  (more attendees, more churches, more sites, more fruit, more disciples, etc)

On Sunday, show up ready to dive right in with ideas and prayers.

Our time will feel tight.  We want to use every moment of our 70 minutes together.  That means you need to arrive ready to listen, pray, and share.  (Little known fact:  the highest number of goals in soccer are scored in the last 2 minutes of each half.  After 45 minutes, the play takes on a sense of urgency and things happen.)  We invite you to come in with a sense of urgency and quickly share what is on your mind.  Don’t take 45 minutes to get warmed up.  We want to hear from every person who has something to say.

And if you can’t come this Sunday, we invite you to provide input on this form. and to join us on March 31 and April 7.

Parish Meeting Recap (Audio at end)

Parish Meeting

The Audio from our 30 September 2018 Parish Meeting is at the bottom of this post.

Restoration is a gathering of the body of Christ, a household of God, a community of broken people who are being restored by grace.

We worship together, pray together, serve together, and live life together.  It’s more than just a place to show up on a Sunday; it’s the messiness of real life.  When people are connecting to God and experiencing what it means to be loved, forgiven, healed, and empowered by Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, church is happening.  And church is a foretaste of God’s Kingdom— a day when all that is broken will be healed, all that is incomplete will be made whole, all that is old will be made new.  A day of Restoration.

A few times a year we get together to talk about what God is doing in our church.  It’s a family meeting:

  • We check in about our resources (a financial update, opportunities to volunteer your time)
  • We celebrate what’s going well (we just launched a church plant!)
  • We anticipate what needs our attention (we are starting a visioning process).

We have one of these gatherings this Sunday, September 30 at 12:30pm…  right after the 11am service.

Food:  You always eat at a family meeting.  So we will have pizza and grapes and cookies.  Yum.

Childcare:  The kids need to know they are included but the adults need to be able to talk.  So after we eat pizza, we will provide childcare for kids and we need to know if your kids are coming.  Can you drop Louise a line?

Topics: Here’s where the conversation will go…

  • Restoration turns 10 in 2019!  We are creating a team of people to help us plan the celebration.  Do you enjoy hosting a party or helping folks to remember their joy?  Want to be on the team that is preparing for a grand celebration in the fall of 2019?  We’d love to get your name.  We will mark you as ‘interested‘.  And we’ll will be in touch.
  • Vision Night Recap:  Were you at Vision Night on September 6?  Wondering what was discussed?  We want to share things that we heard and update you on next steps.  Your input is so important to us as we look to where Restoration is headed over the next 7 years, Restoration 2025!
  • We ended our fiscal year strong in August.  We will give a financial update and show a slideshow from the first few weeks of our church plant, Incarnation.  We will talk about opportunities that are coming for discipleship, to engage our mortgage, and to visit our global outreach partners.

All of that in an hour!  Hope you can join us on Sunday.  Family meetings are fun!

-David

_________________________________________

This is what David shared concerning the vision night and follow-up questions:

Restoration Vision Night

a turn in the road

The Inflection of 2019

Restoration began almost ten years ago, in 2009, as a small group of 70 adults and kids who were aware of our brokenness, aware of our need for friendship, and thoughtful about how a new church community might be formed in Arlington County. 

During the summer of 2014, five years into our existence, we completed a brand new, $4.6M building.  While contractors were building our facility, our vestry and leaders were building a strategic plan that would guide the next 5 years of our life together.  We wanted to move back onto Quincy Street with a sense of urgency:  to serve our neighbors, to disciple people in their relationship with Jesus, and to plant churches.  We imagined that we might be a part of making 2000 disciples by the year 2019:  a thousand of them in our weekly worship and small groups around Quincy Street and a thousand through five church plants in the DC area and around the world.  It was a huge goal and it framed almost all of our subsequent conversations about plans, budgets, and ‘next steps’.  I am grateful for the leaders, volunteers, and staff who were willing to take it on.

We can now see 2019 on the near horizon.  It seemed so far in the distance when we first moved back into our building.  How did we do with our strategic plan?  What did God do in and through our church?  We are beginning to ask those evaluative questions.  The easiest place to start is the numbers.  We keep careful track and they are objective in their clarity. 

2014 Hope: We want to shepherd 1000 coherent, fully-integrated disciples in our facility on Quincy Street.

2018 Reality:  There are about 600 adults and children who worship on Quincy Street each Sunday. 

We had a significant jump in attendance in 2014 when we moved into our building.  From 2014 until today, our attendance has continued to grow but at a flatter rate:  from 507 to 580 over 4 years (about 5% growth rate annually).  We expect to be over 600 in 2019.  In addition, these increases represent the net change in people–  they mask the turnover of people coming and leaving at Restoration (which is over one hundred people annually).  As a result of this turnover, there are well over a thousand people who have worshiped and served with us in the last five years.  We thank God for everyone who continues to worship with us-  and for those who have come and left.  Based on our current reality, it seems unlikely that we will grow another 66% to 1,000 worshippers by 2019.

2014 Hope: We want to shepherd 1000 disciples through five 200 person church plants.

2018 Reality:  We have been involved in four church planting initiatives.  Are you aware of all of them?

  1. Incarnation Anglican Church is a church plant in the most traditional sense of the term.  Restoration identified and developed three leaders:  Rev. Liz Gray, Rev. Morgan Reed, and Amy Rowe.  We encouraged them to gather a launch team, to find a new worship location, to build the initial infrastructure that would support a new church community.  They have done that with excellence and skill.  On Sept 2 we will pray for their team of over 50 adults and children and send them out to establish this new work.  We are grateful for their courage, grateful for the generosity of Restoration to provide people and resources, and grateful to God for the opportunity to be a part of something new in South Arlington.  Incarnation is our first local church plant.  Thanks be to God.
  2. Phnomh Penh.  We sent Jesse and Sarah Blaine to Cambodia in 2012.  They have learned the language and made a home there.  Jesse did seminary from a distance and then was ordained by Bishop John Guernsey in 2016.  Jesse is the leader of a Khmer-speaking congregation and is hoping to plant another Khmer congregation in their city.  Restoration helped the Blaines to discern their call.  We have supported them financially and we have refreshed them with visiting teams from our church.  It has been a privilege to be a part of this new work in Cambodia.
  3. West Asia.  For about 3 years, Clay was on our staff team as a priest and Director of Youth Ministry.  In 2016, we sent him and his family to live in a strategic city in West Asia and to think about how to serve Christ and His Church.  They have learned the language.  They have made friends and put their kids in school.  Clay has been given the opportunity to take on leadership of a faithful church.  We have supported them financially and we are grateful to be a part of a steady work of God that is being regularly strengthened with new people and opportunities.
  4. Bolivia.  Over the last 4 years, Restoration has been sending a team of people to Cochabamba each summer to encourage the people of La Trinidad Anglican Church, to pray for and support the children of Niños con valor, and to teach on topics that help people grow closer to God.  As we have come alongside the leadership of La Trinidad, we have gotten the opportunity to support their church plant in the town of Puntiti.  It has been yet another way for Restoration to learn about church planting-  not by leading it ourselves, but by partnering with those who live there and offering whatever resources we have to the endeavor.

I submit that Restoration’s involvement in these 4 ministry initiatives happened BECAUSE we embraced a strategic plan that had a huge goal for church planting.  We were attuned to ideas that could become church plants.  We were full of prayer for brave initiatives to start new church communities.  The goal of five 200 person church plants served us well—  even though we fell short of the actual numbers.  

The strategic plan of 2000 disciples served us well:  We were ready for the growth that comes with a new building.  We were looking outward for opportunities to start new initiatives.

We are turning to a new chapter…

The leadership of Restoration is beginning to explore the opportunities that God is bringing to us for the years to come.  By the end of 2019, we would love to have a new strategic plan that would take us to Restoration 2025.  Here are some of the things we have identified as potential areas of focus.  There could be more.  I hope you will bring them to our Vision Night on September 6.

  1. Evangelism in Arlington County.  Inviting our friends and peers to consider a relationship with Jesus that makes a difference in their life.  We recognize that the opportunities around us for evangelism are huge.  There is so much misunderstanding about Jesus.  There are so many people living along Route 50, along the Orange Line, along Washington Boulevard, along Lee Highway…  As a church, we believe evangelism is important, but the activity of invitation has been a challenge for us.

  2. On November 22, 2019 we will turn 10!  We need to celebrate!  We need to party!  What would be an appropriate expression of gratitude to God for all he has done in our church?  What are the stories we need to tell?  Who are the people we need to remember and thank?
  3. We are completing our first local church plant launch.  We could do more.  There are other clergy who would like to join our staff as potential church planters or leaders in training.  What would be the location for the next church plant?  Who would be on the launch team?  How many more local church plants should we pursue?
  4. We want to help people grow deeper.  It’s not enough to just have bodies at Quincy Street, we want people to grow as coherent, fully-integrated disciples….  We are working to memorialize and clarify the communication about how our church grows disciples.  It has taken us a while to learn how we do what we do-  what are the programs and opportunities that have been most effective for disciple-making at Restoration?  What do we mean by ‘coherence’ and ‘integration’ in our Arlington context?  This fall we are excited to present a descriptive document called ‘Finding Your Place in God’s Story’.  It describes the traits of a coherent, fully-integrated disciple and it highlights the opportunities Restoration provides to help you grow in them.  We think it will be a help to people who are wanting to plug in to our community.
  5. We have a mortgage.  In our first capital campaign, we raised about half of the cost of our building. Our mortgage originally had a balance of $2.4 million, and we have paid about $0.5 million in principle and interest since then. It will be due in 2023.  If we continue on our current course of payments, we will owe about $2M.  This debt would either need to be re-financed or paid off with a capital campaign, or some combination thereof.  Alternatively, with some significant changes in our giving or spending habits, it is possible to adjust our current course of payments and seek to pay off the $2M from our operating and building funds over a 5 year period without re-financing or a having capital campaign.  The discernment of the right course of action needs to happen presently.
  6. We love Spanish speakers.  We have sung songs with Spanish lyrics.  We have served people who speak Spanish who are working through the immigration process (RILA).  We have partnered with Casa Chirilagua by providing financial contributions, tutors, staff mentorship, and prayers.  We have sent over 40 people to Bolivia on short term teams.  God is bringing us opportunities to serve and build relationships with people whose first language is Spanish.  What should we do next?  Should we have songs in Spanish more regularly?  Should we think about hosting a Eucharist service in Spanish?  What role should Spanish play in our strategic plan?

  7. We are at a transition point with the leadership of our outreach strategy.  Liz Gray did a uniquely incredible job of laying a foundation of partnership both locally and around the world.  We have not found a point person to build on this particular part of Liz’s legacy.  What should Restoration outreach look like in the next 5-6 years?

Restoration Vision Night: September 6, 7-9pm  

This reflection is designed to get the gears of your soul moving.  As you pray and think about the things that God is doing in our church, what are the images, words, and Scriptures that come to mind?  What gets you excited?  What is not included but needs to be?  What do you want to see happen? 

There will be opportunities to share your thoughts verbally on Sept 6.  You can also write them to me. 

Vision Night will be the first of a few.  Join us in giving thanks for all that God has done.  Join us in listening for all that He wants to do next. 

-David

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