Recently, our church voted to implement several strategic changes that were presented on Vision Sunday. Over the next several blog posts, I want to share the vision FBC Gadsden has for the future. Today, I will show you the basic nuts and bolts of our plan for FBC.

This is the letter I gave each person in attendance on Vision Sunday. It was an introduction to a packet of information that I provided for each member who wished to see it.

Dear Church Member,

I am as excited about the future of FBC right now as I was on my first day as pastor. One of the things that I find to be essential to the life of a congregation is to know what God has called us to do. I have spent much time thinking and praying about the best way for this church to embrace what God has called her to do. I have been thrilled to receive much feedback in manifold ways from the congregation. Much has been informal. I always listen carefully to the way you speak about your church and her mission. I also had the opportunity to read the surveys everyone filled out about the facilities. As you well remember, those turned out to be more about the church’s ministry and direction than her facilities. Based on congregational feedback, the clear teaching of Scripture, the rich history of this church, and the glorious future to which we have all been called, I have formulated a vision for the future of First Baptist Church Gadsden. I sincerely believe that the Lord is leading us in this direction. Vision 2025 is primarily composed of two things: a mission statement and the five foundations which will guide us as we fulfill our mission.

I endeavored to do this because every church has great need of a clear mission and clear ways to achieve it. Historically, this church has asked this of her pastors. Note what the constitution says: “One of the prerogatives and obligations of the pastor is that of formulating a general program for the church, in its spiritual work as well as its material welfare. The pastor has a right to call upon all workers, officers, and members of the church and has the right to expect and receive the wisest counsel and the most sincere and prayerful cooperation of which they are capable, in formulating such a program. When the program is formulated, it is to be presented to the church, adopted and placed in the hands of the pastor to carry out, the pastor and the church have the right to expect and receive the hearty, sincere, and prayerful cooperation of all members and leaders in carrying out such a program, until it is changed, modified, or superseded by church action. The church will ever retain, unimpaired, its sovereign power to recall, change, modify or substitute any program, or do anything it deems necessary for its welfare.”

It is my constitutional obligation to this congregation to present a “program,” or what I am calling a vision, for achieving the Lord’s mission for us. As I put hours of work into formulating this vision, I was thrilled to see the way that what the Lord has placed on my heart lines up with what our church has historically seen as her purpose. In 1987, the church adopted “Vision 2000.” During that time, she adopted this as her purpose:

“We, the members of the First Baptist Church of Gadsden, Alabama, in order to fulfill God’s will, shall have as our purpose the following:

1. To be a worshipping body of believers, glorifying God, filled with the Holy Spirit, submissive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and obedient to the Word of God.

2. To be an evangelistic and missionary church striving to bring the lost in our community, nation and the world to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord.

3. To seek the edification of the body of believers and the use of each believer’s

Gifts for the good of the church family and all mankind, continually striving to bring each Christian to spiritual maturity and responsible Christian living through Bible study, prayer and training.

To develop and communicate genuine Christian love in a caring fellowship, accepting and ministering to all peoples.

5. To commit our time, talents and possessions to provide abundant resources for the accomplishments of the total purpose of the church.

To accept the Bible as our authority for faith and practice and to adopt for our church The Baptist Faith and Message statement as adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1963.”

As you read and hear the material that I am presenting in Vision 2025, I believe you will be encouraged to see how the Lord is continuing the work here that began so many years ago. We are at a place where we are poised to honor our past and embrace our future in unique and challenging ways. My prayer is that, as you see and read what is being presented, God will quicken your heart to give “hearty, sincere, and prayerful cooperation” as we embrace the future God has placed before us.

In Christ,

Pastor Mat

Below is the slideshow that was presented on Vision Sunday. We will look at these things in more detail over the next few weeks.