Unlike the strategic plan, which is set, the tactical plan for 2015-2018 will be developed and revised over time. The elders are interacting at meetings and via an internet group to advance the planning. This third update explains progress to date. The headings in all bold capitals below are some of the priorities from the strategic plan. The bold regular-print items are part of the tactical plan.
TEACH THE HISTORIC CHRISTAN FAITH IN A GOD-CENTERED WAY
Address the issue of human sexuality in seminars and by sermons. Pastor Howard addressed the Supreme Court decision about same-sex marriage in a sermon on 7/12/15. Pastor Howard also preached a sermon series on human sexuality entitled “Goodness.” Soon a complete collection of the audio and print resources from the series will be available. We plan to offer various seminars to cover the following issues: youth, science, law, and gospel witness. The first seminar, about raising sexually healthy youth, is set for April 2.
Teach about worldviews and interact with people who hold various views. Pastor Mike has been teaching the youth about various worldviews. He is now training youth for a special summer trip to Salt Lake City to interact with Mormons. Ron Divestea’s adult Sunday School class addressed a wide range of world views. The Gospel Project class continues to help believers understand and present the biblical worldview. Dewey Lee is developing a worldview forum on a local college campus in which Pastor Howard hopes to take part.
Completely revise the web-site to feature more evangelistic and discipleship tools, to be easy to use, to be graphically clean, and to feature pod-casting for sermons and seminars. Work is progressing and the reboot should be done early in 2016. At new church logo has been developed that reflects our Christ-centered, gospel-centered ministry of God’s Word.
Improve audio/visual capabilities in our sanctuary and classrooms. This many-faceted project is still in process. Various talented and knowledgeable people from our congregation are involved in enhancing these important communication capacities.
Develop open forum opportunities for exploration of biblical and theological issues. OurStudent Ministries hosted an open line night for the church family and guests in which people asked wide-ranging questions by multiple means. Answers were provided by Pastor Howard, Pastor Mike, and Ron DiVestea. The elders intend to provide other venues and methods for apologetics and applied doctrine in the future.
STRENGTHEN CONNECTIONS IN THE BODY THROUGH MUTUAL MINISTRY
Promote personal growth and accountability by means of individual and small group mentoring. The elders are considering ways to promote a culture of mentoring. We are examining the best books about mentoring and looking at methods other churches are using. While this kind of ministry is happening organically in our fellowship to good effect, we are seeking ways to be more intentional and comprehensive. This is one of the most challenging undertakings in the plan. The best formal work is being done at FBC by adults who are mentoring youth.
Host and participate in prayer services with other churches. We hosted a prayer service for CB churches and others from our region on 5/31. Plans are in process for similar prayer gatherings and other forms of fellowship. Pastor Grant from the Ossining CB church preached at FBC in August.
Do more to invite newcomers into the life of the church. Natalie Bush, Christine Yalanis, Pastor Howard and Pastor Mike worked together to create a booklet to introduce FBC to people who brought children to VBS. Many copies were taken. We will use the booklet in other ways including the newcomer’s lunch.
Use social media more effectively to connect people. We created a new email group for church news. We have also developed our Facebook presence.
IMPROVE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Complete Pastor Mike’s ordination process with CBNE. Pastor Mike is now writing a doctrinal paper as part of the Conservative Baptist Northeast process. Create an elder internship program to develop directional leaders. See the document “Elder Interns” for the details. This is a pilot program for other teams and ministries. Our first two interns are David Bush and Nicholas Kamwela.
INCREASE OUR LOCAL AND GLOBAL REACH
Meet with community leaders to see how we can be of service. Richard Birney and Pastor Howard met with community leaders including Robert LaColla (Supervisor of the Town of Fishkill), Larry Cohen (Councilman), Thomas Fazio (Chief of Police), Kieran Lalor (Assemblyman, 105th District), and James Miccio (Mayor of the Village of Fishkill). We are building relationships to see how FBC can be a resource to the community. Pastor Howard is now available for chaplain functions to the police department and serves as an official chaplain for the MTA.
Be a satellite location for the Redeemer Counseling Services. Debra Smith is the counselor and materials are available at the Information Center. FBC provides the facility, but the service is provided by the RCS organization, rooted in Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC.
Send people to Quebec to serve church planting efforts there and to support the work of SEMBEQ. Pastor Howard, David Bush, and Rev. Gershwin Grant from Ossining travelled to Quebec to explore avenues of direct involvement in that mission field.
ENHANCE OUR COMMUNION PRACTICE
Enjoy an agape fellowship dinner each month. The early church often had communion in the context of a meal. Some call the approach an agape meal from a Greek word for love. We had the first agape meal in January. We share food, testimonies, prayer time, and enjoy the Lord’s Table together. The result will be two communion times per month – the regular morning communion service on the first Sunday of each month and the agape meal.