By Dr. Kevin Thomas —
At the invitation of the North Alabama Annual Conference, the Forest Lake Administrative Council decided to engage in the Antioch Project to help us continue to improve our ministry and our ability, with God’s help, to create the life that Christ intends. Forest Lake is honored to be one of the first 12 churches selected by the cabinet to begin this process. They chose us because they see good things happening here.
What’s Been Done So Far
With the help of numerous volunteers, the church has prepared an extensive self-study that includes our history, mission, ministry, staffing, programs, and finances. That document is currently being reviewed by a group of people from the Antioch Project called a Barnabas Team. A “mystery worshipper” has attended our services to give us an objective view of our facilities, friendliness, preaching, worship, and other first impressions. (All in all, our mystery person says it was a good experience!)
On August 25 and 26, a Barnabas Team will visit with staff, key leaders, the Administrative Council, and a cross-section of other members to further assess the ministry at Forest Lake. Two weeks after that meeting, Rev. Bob Alford, who leads the Antioch Project, will share their findings with us and make recommendations to help us continue to grow the church forward. Once we have the recommendations, I will host at least two listening sessions to discuss them. These sessions will not be a time to vote, but to discuss, explore, and probe what the Barnabas Team shares with us.
After the listening sessions, we will have a church conference to vote on the recommendations. In a church conference, every member gets a vote. We will proceed with the recommendations only if we get a 70% majority of the members present and voting. We do not want to instigate significant changes without a clear mandate! If the church conference approves the recommendations, the Antioch Project will assign us a coach for a period of 1 ½ to 3 years for encouragement and accountability.
What Can You Do?
First, pray! This is Christ’s church, and we will accomplish nothing meaningful for it without prayer. Please pray daily for this process! Also, stay informed. Please plan to attend one of the listening sessions. Then, attend the church conference and prayerfully cast your vote.
If you have questions, please contact me. I will be more than happy to share with you about this process. The only changes that will happen are things on which we have prayerfully agreed.