written by Harold Tessendorf, chair

The Master Plan Committee recently consulted with Rickey Letson of the CBF Foundation.  Rickey, along with Kelly Rhodes Jones, is the co-author of a two-volume study entitled Sacred Spaces Innovative Places: Reimaging Church Property and Facilities as Assets.  Rickey and Kelly studied rural and urban CBF congregations that have adapted their campuses to continue living out their mission.  Rickey complimented our congregation on our courage to have this conversation, endorsed our process and, drawing from his research and experience, shared three pieces of advice.

  1. Find the option(s) that energize most church members and move forward in that direction.  Do not expect consensus or unanimity.
  2. Find out what your local zoning code will allow you to do with your campus.  (In case you are wondering, our FBCX campus is zoned HR-3).
  3. Share the 10 Characteristics of Sacred SpacesCongregations with your congregation.

Here is summary of these characteristics.  Sacred Spaces Congregations:

  1. Took the time, were patient, and engaged with many stakeholders to find the best partners to share their campus with.
  2. Were willing to fail, and often tried several options, before they found the one that worked best for them.
  3. Accepted that sharing space with outside groups would be hard work, but were committed to building deep relationships with their campus partners to resolve issues when they arose.
  4. Did NOT make their Pastor also serve as their property manager.  Instead, they assigned this responsibility to a lay- or staff member.
  5. Remained transparent with the congregation by providing them with regular updates.
  6. Pursued, and continue to pursue, multiple facility-use agreements by constantly thinking of new ways to share their space and generate revenue.
  7. Were creative in how they monetized their assets.  They did not avoid asking their partners to share costs or make donations to cover the use of their facilities.
  8. Believed that how they used their campus was a visible and public expression of how they approached Stewardship and Discipleship.
  9. Built relationships with local experts so that they could carefully consider the tax and business implications of every opportunity they considered before embarking upon.
  10. Adopted an entrepreneurial spirit by being willing to explore areas where they had limited expertise, to learn from those experiences, and then to try again.

This is a wise checklist for us as we use this season to commit to where we want to go as a congregation, search for our next pastor and reimagine how our campus can allow us to thrive.  Please make plans to join us on Wednesday, January 24th  at 6 p.m. or Sunday, January 28th at 9:45 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall to hear more about options we are considering and to offer your feedback.   We look forward to hearing your insights.

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