Milestone moments, those points and places where we stop and survey how far we have come and what lies ahead. Annual General Meetings are often milestone moments to take stock of what God has done and recall the ups and downs of a year gone by.
As we talked in a group at AGM 2022 about the last 12 months it struck me just how much had changed. Twelve short months have been packed with pivots and adjustments, changes and challenges. A year ago, we were still meeting primarily online, Glasgow was just emerging from 9 months when all nonessential travel outside the city was prohibited, and even masked singing was still a no-go area.
Soon we were operating two in-person services to manage numbers (one “all-in” and the other a more classic style worship) but worship teams had not played or met together for 18 months, and life groups and youth groups were working out how to meet outside. Slowly we were able to meet together as one community whilst continuing to offer an online service. Finally, just a matter of weeks ago, we were able to sing freely without masks! What a journey! What I envisaged as a brief 6 week pause in activities became a two-year stoppage and a slow and challenging rebuild.
So, what can I say?
Thanks to God whom we encountered in unexpected ways in these years – through screens and in socially distanced conversations whilst walking around parks. Thanks for his faithful presence that has sustained us.
Thanks to one another – those who reached out to us to share friendship and support and those we were able to connect with. Of course, we all feel we could have done more and many of us feel disappointed that certain people or communities seem to have overlooked us. We must remember that in this strange time we have been blind to what has occupied some people’s lives and drained their capacity to support others. So, let’s choose to heap forgiveness and grace on one another and decide to treat others in the way we would like to be treated. (Phil 2:3)
Of course, a great big thanks to those of you who have helped our fellowship in so many ways. It has often felt like we have been held by a flimsy thread. So, a big shout out to all of you who were and are that thread that kept us going – technical team, worship team, pastoral visiting team and life group leaders, children and youth ministry teams not to mention those who have willingly offered to rebuild service teams and serve in so many practical and operational tasks. So much of our life together is the uncelebrated and essential “housekeeping” tasks that go unnoticed week by week. To all of you, thanks!
More to come
Milestones indicate there is more to come. Now, hopefully at the tail end of Covid, there are massive challenges and opportunities for our mission as a church community.
Core to these challenges is the opportunity to reach a new generation. All around us and on our doorstep young adults are relocating into our neighbourhood (from all over the world!). Our conviction as a leadership team is that this is the focal point of our task: to reach and disciple young people and young adults.
Rather than restarting what has been, we need to seek God for strategies for engaging this new community. This feels like an even greater challenge as we need to reduce our staff costs.
The process of redundancy and redeployment has completed. The formal process required making three positions redundant yet also enabled us to create two new positions, each of which give 50% of the role to outreach
Pastor: Mission and Community Life
Lead: Youth, Student and Young Adult
Sadly, this means the end of the “Point Director” position which leaves Jamie facing redundancy. Caz has chosen not to take forward the youth position and will take her redundancy package after the summer. Clearly this is tough for them, hard for the teams they work with and difficult for the rest of the staff team. Positively, Brodie was offered the position of Pastor for Mission and Community life and has accepted this role. In addition, Mairi will shift to a hybrid role which will involve general administration management for 10 hours per week. The bulk of these transitions will take place over the summer but will have a knock-on effect on other staff and teams.
As well as producing more outreach focussed positions, we must recall that our aim is not to delegate our mission to a handful of employees. Rather this is a reminder that we are “all in” this together and that our impact on our communities depends on all of us getting stuck in.
Last weekend we celebrated Pentecost. The church exploded into life as the fire that fell on the first disciples spread through all of them. The account on Acts 2 reminds us they were “all together” in one place, when tongues of fire broke out on “each of them” and “all of them” began to speak as the Spirit empowered “each one.”
If you look closely at our new logo, you will spot that “calling our city to life” contains the words “all in”. As we look forward the opportunities before us will certainly ask that we are “all in”.