Wow, what a day we had for our 50th celebration at Friendship Church!
We even interviewed our living charter members and previous pastors and allowed them to speak on video about the last 50 years! It was fantastic and what an inspiring story they told. That story was a great introduction for what we’d hear that evening at our Friendship Future 50 celebration event.
As you entered the Friendship parking lot you were met once again with the two HUGE tents with over 600 seats. Then as you walked under the covered awning you were greeted by faces of the past and present with our wonderful history walk. Our history walk detailed the last 50 years through pictures, and were there pictures! Each one depicting various periods in the life of Friendship Church. Big hair and awesome attire were in full force. Then as you came to the end of the history walk you spotted the Brain Freeze Ice Cream truck! You should have seen the eyes on the kids as the truck pulled in. Heck, you should have seen the eyes of the adults as that truck rolled up! But before you could be seated you would stroll past tables and tables of Nothing Bundt Cakes. Then before you found your seat you had an opportunity to place something into our time capsule that will be opened in the distant future.
While all that was great, what we had really gathered for was to hear the vision for the future of Friendship over the next 50 years. So after our wonderful kids sang, and our awesome praise band led us in worship the time had arrived.
So here is a summary of what I had to say about the next 50 years at Friendship…
- Serving both inside and outside the church will take on a whole new meaning and intensity
- We’re already doing so many things well and we will continue to do them.
- Much of what we’ll do will enhance much of what we’re already doing.
- The future must find at its foundation the need to share Christ with others and must be grounded in scripture.
- The Scripture used was John 10:10 and Matthew 6:9-13.
- Synopsis of that scripture – what would it look like to have the Kingdom of God come on earth as it is in heaven so that people could live the abundant life – Life as God intends.
- What would that look like in our community of Athens and within the walls of Friendship?
- Maps are used by those that only desire to go where others have previously gone.
- A compass is used by those that not only want to go where others have gone but also to places no one else has ever been.
- The future of Friendship will require both.
- As we move into the future we must hold fast to our true North (think compass) – Love God, Love Others, Serve.
- So here is the vision…
- Love God
- Friendship as a HUB church. Serving as a HUB for other campuses like we have with our North Campus
- Wednesday Church. Adding another worship opportunity for those that will miss on Sunday for whatever reason. Also provides a balance for others that feel a desire to worship mid-week
- Catered Meal on Wednesday for convenience to families attending Wednesday Church
- Sunday Lifegroups. Lifegroups that will meet on Sunday at 9:30am and 11am. This addition will complete a total spiritual health package that we need on Sunday mornings, spiritual growth (Discipleship) opportunities for everyone:
- Friendship Kids Lifegroups
- Youth Lifegroups
- Adult Lifegroups
- Adult Worship
- Friendship University. To offer various courses to help everyone live the abundant life. We would create internet courses for you to grow in your faith so that you could later apply it in life. Various courses would be at your disposal to learn on your own timeframe.
- This will predominantly be accomplished through the internet resource – rightnowmedia.com. This site will be offered free of charge and contains over 10,000 video resources. This could revolutionize the way we teach leaders and anyone who desires to grow in their knowledge of leadership and Christ. This will be offered at no charge – our gift to you.
- Righnowmedia.com contains an incredible library for kids (Veggie Tales and more), marriage, bible studies, parenting, leadership, Catalyst Conference, Verge Conference, etc…
- Smart LED big screens in every room
- Love Others
- We need to seek generational change.
- We need to seek a more holistic approach to ministry, not just spiritual but all other traits that lead to the abundant life and the life that God intends
- Friendship for Life initiative
- Teach life skills
- How to dress for an interview
- How to write a resume
- How to tie a tie
- Plumbing 101
- Car maintenance 101
- Cooking 101
- Sewing 101
- Healthy eating 101
- Etc… Dream big
- National Speakers
- Bible studies
- Healthy marriages
- Avoiding burnout
- Platform Creation
- Create a platform to get people in touch with other people needing help
- Could look like a website where we maintain the platform
- People come to our site for whatever need they have and they can find an answer in one place.
- This takes out the middle person getting help where it needs to be faster
- Uber – largest Taxi company in the world but owns no cars
- Airbnb – largest hotel chain in the world but owns no hotels
- Friendship Commons
- Common space for our community to meet
- Use our green space
- Soccer fields
- Create picnic areas with tables under our pine trees
- Walking track
- Disc golf course
- Community Garden
- Fenced in plots that can be rented by those in need
- Adoption of Cowart Elementary School
- Lifegroups adopt class, teacher, student
- Tutoring with emphasis on reading
- Creation of an outdoor learning environment
- School supplies for both teachers and children
- No child misses a field trip due to lack of funds
- Make Coward a pilot program how a church can wold alongside a school
- Crate an environment where people want to move to the westside of Athens so their children can attend Cowart!
- Entrepreneurial Center
- People need and desire jobs not handouts
- Figure out a way to create jobs!
- Dream big like Homeboy Industries in LA
- Help people learn job skills by actual employment in a church led business
- Did I mention dream big!
- Learning Center at our North Campus
- Open a Learning Center at our North Campus
- We already have a great model at our Lucas Ferry campus
- Friendship Commons
There are several key words that will become a part of our Friendshp vocabulary:
- Generational Change
If we are going to see great things happen in the next 50 years we must remember what made Christianity and the church so appealing for so long – generosity. People wanted to be like the Christians because they were so generous. They really once treated their neighbor like they would want to be treated.
Generational change is something that will not be easy – that’s why it’s become a generational concern. Poverty is often a generation thing. One generation after another believe that it’s the only way of life. We must change that. We must break that cycle. We must figure out how to help the poor think differently and to give them the encouragement and life skills to do so.
In order to do all of the above will mean that we must collaborate with other churches, agencies etc… Some of these are to big for us to do alone but they must be done. We must move away from duplication of resources. If someone is already doing a great job of something then we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Just send people to whoever is doing a great job so we can focus on a need that’s not getting taken care of.
Ultimately I hope that we can become a pilot program for other churches and agencies. Where we can teach others how to do what we’re doing for the good of our community and others.
As we progress into the future many of these ideas will morph into other things even better than we imagined. Others will fall by the wayside being replaced by even greater ideas to help others and us grow spiritually. But regardless of what happens, God will guide us as He always has into the future!
The best years of ministry at Friendship Church have yet to be seen!
WOW, is this gonna be fun!