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  • Writer's pictureVirginia Callegary

What's Up With Our Mission Study?

TLDNR (Too Long Did Not Read): The goals of our Mission Study are to figure out who we are as a church, what the needs are of our community, and who God is calling us to be in the future.


I’ve been getting a lot of questions about our Mission Study, so now I’m going to tell you about it in more depth.  The Mission Study will be an invaluable aid as we discern what gifts we are looking for in our next pastor.


You already know about the Congregational Assessment Survey.  Thousands of Churches have taken this survey, so our answers will be analyzed in relation to other churches to give us a unique sense of who we are.


Many of you have commented that it was frustrating to not be able to give long answers in the CAT survey.  Rest assured that we are building in many opportunities to do just that.  We have already had one “open invitation” event to share with the Mission Study Team on April 28, and there is another one coming up on May 26.  The team is also visiting various groups in the church (Bible Studies, Committees, Men’s and Women’s groups, Youth Group, Deacons, Parents of Sunday School Children, etc.) to get input.  In addition, we are doing some special focus groups (Pakistani members, African American members, African members, LGBTQIA+ members) to make sure that we have heard from them.  We probably won’t hit every group in the church, but we certainly will get a representative sample. 


If we happen to miss hearing from you at one of these events, you are still welcome to speak to any of our team members to give your input.  The members of the team are:

·         Agnes Reid

·         Tom Woods

·         Lisa Saunders

·         Bruce Johnson

·         Zafar Gil

·         Coach Ken


Our team is very clear that they are not the people who get to decide the future of the First Presbyterian Church of Howard County – they are the people who get to listen to you, listen to our community and then discern where God is calling us. 


As this suggests, a concurrent effort to getting input from the congregation is to get some input from the community.  We are working on interviewing:  A couple local school principals, a couple local business owners, three or four of our non-profit partners, a couple near neighbors, a couple local pastors from different denominations, a couple local government entities, the counseling center that lodges at FPC, etc.  We are looking to learn from them:

·         What are the biggest needs of our community?

·         How do you think a church could meet those needs?

·         Have you ever heard of FPCHC?  If so, what have you heard?


We are also recruiting a couple friends of team-members who don’t go to church to come to FPC worship.  We’d like to know if they feel welcome; what are their first impressions; is the signage good; was the worship uplifting?  We may learn some interesting things from these folk.


With all this information, the team will then begin to discern where God is calling us.  What is the intersection of FPC’s gifts with our community’s needs?  What is the particular church-niche that God has called us to inhabit?  What efforts does God want us to strengthen?  Are there any historical foci that we could let fade?  What should this ministry of Jesus Christ look like in this place for the near future?

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