Applying our Vision in 2017 and Beyond
God has called Westgate Church to be a gospel-centered community living each day on mission for Christ across the Metrowest. But what does that look like lived out practically, for this particular people, in this precise time, in this specific place? Are there any specific goals God wants us to trust him to accomplish? What pathways should be in place for that to happen? How do our various ministries fit together into a coherent strategy? How do we nurture the vitality we see in our church? What shape should the life and ministry of Westgate Church take in the months and years ahead?
In order to answer these questions, the Elders are beginning a process we’re calling RE:FOCUS. We are inviting the congregation into a season of prayer, discernment, and planning in order to refocus our vision with greater clarity and specificity for the months and years ahead.
What does this process look like? We’ve laid it on in several phases, with specific goals and steps, all designed to seek God together as a church body, for the sake of living out gospel ministry together here in the Metrowest.
PHASE 1: Review (January – March, 2017)
Our goal is not to start from scratch, but to build on the vision God gave us in 2011. We want to take that vision and discern how to apply it with greater focus and specificity. That means the first step is reviewing what God has already called us to as a church.
We have already begun this process, beginning with Pastor Brandon’s sermon on January 8. We will continue that review with a special sermon series during the months of March and April, even as that series also introduces the second phase of praying, listening, and dreaming together.
PHASE 2: Pray, Listen, Dream (March – April, 2017)
Lent, the forty days between Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday, are traditionally a time of fasting and refocusing on the Lord. It’s a fitting time for us to begin a season of prayer and discernment.
As we do so, here again are some of the key questions the elders have identified, and are hoping for God to answer as we seek him together as a congregation (there may be other questions we need to raise and explore together as well):
- What should it look like to live out our vision look as this particular people, in this precise time, in this specific place?
- Are there any specific goals God wants us to trust him to accomplish in the months or years ahead?
- What pathways should be in place for that to happen?
- How do our various ministries (current and new) contribute to those pathways and fit together into a coherent strategy?
- What are the staffing implications of applying our vision moving forward?
- How do we nurture the vitality we see in our church?
In order to discern this, we are taking a multi-faceted approach, so as to provide as a many opportunities as possible for reflection, prayer, and conversation.
PREACHING AND WORSHIP: During the months of March and April we will step out of Exodus again for a special series entitled, “A Gospel-Driven Church: Lessons from Colossians.” The goal of this series is to help us think about ways to apply the gospel faithfully and practically in the life and ministry of our church. In tandem with that series, we’ll be featuring several personal testimonies of what God has done and is doing, to remind us of his power and inspire us to dream big gospel dreams as we prayerfully look ahead.
PRAYER AND DIALOGUE WITH THE ELDERS: Nothing will happen apart from prayer—entrusting ourselves to God and seeking his guidance and grace. And nothing should happen without praying and talking together as a congregation. For those reasons the elders will be hosting several opportunities to pray and dialogue together as we seek God’s guidance for what lies ahead.
- Pray for the Mission: We’ll be hosting two special Pray for the Mission meetings, on Sunday, February 26 (as a kick off to our season of discernment), and Sunday March 26 (as a response to what we’ll learn through the Life on Mission Conference).
- Congregational Meetings: We’ll enjoy a potluck lunch following the service on March 12, where we will spend some time in prayer and dialogue, getting our wheels spinning as we begin to seek God’s direction. Then again, after the service on Palm Sunday, April 9, we’ll have another potluck lunch where we will share and reflect together on what God has been showing us so far through this process.
- Home Group / Bible Study Visits: During these months, the elders would like to hear specifically from home groups and Bible studies. One or two elders will contact each group about a good week when they might join the group for a time of prayer and conversation concerning our vision.
- Open Meetings: The elders will also host two more general prayer and conversation meetings, open to anyone in the church (especially if you’re not part of a home group or Bible study). The dates and times for these meetings will be announced shortly.
PASTORAL DIALOGUE WITH STAFF AND MINISTRY LEADERS: It’s important not only to hear from the congregation, but also from our staff and current ministry leaders, who are on the ground, providing direction and care among our various ministries. For that reason, Pastors Brandon and Bruce will also be meeting with our leaders to hear from and pray with them.
PRACTICAL TRAINING: Even as we seek to hear from God, we also want to continue being equipped for gospel ministry right here in the Metrowest. This is the purpose of our Life on Mission Conference, March 24-25, where guest speaker Trevin Wax will help train us for gospel conversations in everyday life.
PHASE 3: Plan (April – August, 2017)
Once we’ve had a chance to prayerfully listen to each other and to God with respect to refocusing our vision, the elders will enter into a season of processing and planning. This will likely involve further times of prayer and discussion as a church. We may decide to enlist some outside help (e.g., our district superintendent for the EFCA, or a ministry coach). We will certainly involve other boards and ministry leaders with any ideas that impact their areas of service and responsibility. We won’t really know what this looks like until after phase 2, and so we will keep you informed as it develops.
PHASE 4: Launch (May – December, 2017)
We anticipate that some goals and initiatives will be able to be put into practice immediately, while others will require more planning and preparation. We do not want to put arbitrary deadlines that might cause us either to rush or delay unnecessarily; we want to follow the Spirit’s lead in putting his vision into practice in the best way and time possible. And of course as this is Westgate’s vision, not just the elders, we will all be a part of what God is doing moving forward.
We are thankful for how God has been at work in and through our congregation, and excited for what this next season of Westgate’s story will look like. It is a wonderful privilege to be united in Christ as a family and joined in gospel ministry. Thank you for your love for the Lord, for each other, and for the lost. May God be pleased to make much of his name through us in the months and years ahead.
Your Servants in Christ,
The Westgate Elder Board
Doran Abel, Adam Anderson, Mark Bauer, Dave Brown, John Cuozzo, Bruce Daggett,
Steve Hope, Brandon Levering