GFCC’s growth since moving to Franklin & Park Streets has been and continues to be phenomenal, and it has stretched our congregation in many ways:
- our diversity in every sense of the word has expanded
- membership has increased
- new ministries were created to address the needs of the congregation
and attending friends of the church
- the need for continued Christian growth; and,
- services and support for families and individuals who have been and
continue to be adversely impacted by an unstable economy, turn to us for fellowship and spiritual guidance.
With all of this goodness, we are challenged by a need for space, physical accommodation for some of our members and church visitors to gain entry into the church and to navigate themselves among the floors within. We will need renewed commitment, actions and behaviors to get us through this phase of our growth and development.
We have reportedly grown beyond some of the initial well established ministries and, in some areas gaps, overlaps, and redundancies in our operations, processes and programs exist.
The economy has affected our members and their ability to contribute financially to the church at a level in which they are comfortable. Our budget, Victory Campaign, and charitable giving have been negatively impacted as well. However difficult, our financial team, with support from Church Council, continues to be creative and innovative in their approach to enable us to actualize GFCC’s Mission. While we are encouraged by President Barack Obama’s current focus on the economy, and his renewed commitment to create jobs, this meaningful change may be difficult for us in the short term.
With the increase in Christian educational activities and programs in our church at all levels, finding dedicated space to meet, learn, and/or practice in a timely manner without added pressure or inconvenience in some way is difficult. It has caused growing tension within the church between and among various ministries and groups—from youth to seniors, for skill building workshops, prayer groups, stewardship growth in our choirs and performing arts groups, church business meetings, bible studies, and community involvement activities, etc.
We have been successful in many aspects of member participation evidenced by additional ministerial staff and deacons, and having filled all positions during our annual church meeting in 2010. On the other hand we are presented with challenges. Both church members and our finances are spread thin, our membership is getting older, our congregation is graying, and our church membership is in transition. Within Ministries there are reports of burnout, members are spread across several ministries and/or carrying the load of many, and decreased participation and interest in pursuing leadership roles within ministries. A need has been identified to evaluate ministries against the criteria of relevance, redundancies, and demonstrated commitment.
Given all of the issues and challenges above, balanced with the attributes, the overarching need and time for transformation is upon us. Space for growth and management will be a recurring theme in our goals, all of which were developed with the GFCC Mission and Vision in mind, and with appropriate links to current church operations.