This past Sunday morning we made a big announcement concerning our kinship groups.  Since we know not everyone was there, I wanted to post this letter hear to give you the rundown of what we’ll be doing this semester.

One of our major goals for 2011 is to  work on communication.   After thinking  & praying about it, it seemed the best way for us to begin working on this, was to utilize our kinship groups…which we look at as being one of the strengths of our church.

So over this next semester, we are going to be doing something quite different from what we normally do with our groups.  For this next semester, which starts February 3,  rather than meeting various groups spread through out the community…we are all going to meet at the church together on Thursday nights.

As we mentioned Sunday, we recognize that this is a big change & raises a number of  questions…in fact it did for us as we started working through it. At the same time, we believe that it is the best way for us to, as a community work on communicating our vision & values to the whole church & making sure we are all on the same page.

But again, recognizing that people will have a number of questions,  I want to take a few minutes to address some of them.

First off,  I want to clarify that we are committed to the small group model that we have been using here at this church for the past 12 years…this is not a permanent shift.

As a long-term plan, we am very much opposed to the idea of a mid-week service where people who are part of the church, come back and listen to the pastor teach.  That goes again to part of our philosophy of how we do church…and it was one of the biggest struggles I had in making this decision.

The model of our kinships where there are numerous groups…and leaders… and where the focus is discussion, as opposed to a bible teacher with a bunch of students.  We are 100% committed to that.   So if you’re thinking, “oh I guess Bob doesn’t like small groups anymore,”  relax…I’ve been in kinship type groups for 24 years now…when James, Liz & I started this church they were a central part of who we were…and they still are.

And while I hate losing even one semester, what has become more and more clear is that at this point in time…the most important thing we can do as a church is to make sure that going forward, is get as many people as possible on the same page concerning our vision, values, and all of the “ins” and “outs” of how we do church.

We want to make sure as a church family, we are all moving in the same direction.

Many of you have gone through our membership class. And at the end of nearly every class, people will tell James or me that “Oh that was great information.”  But when the two of us teach it, at the end we always feel a bit frustrated.

Part of the frustration is that, while I think the material is good…we basically overload people with information for 3 hours.  And based on what we all know, the percentage of that info that actually sticks, is pretty low.  And beyond that, even though we give out a booklet with all kinds of information, I doubt that it is something too many of our are going back & reading on a regular basis.

Tomorrow, I will write about what Thursdays night will look like and talk about child-care.  [in the meantime, if you have any questions, please write them here on the blog & we’ll answer them tomorrow as well!)

I really believe that this is going to be a important time in the life of our church…and at the same time, I think it is going to be a lot of fun!