“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Isaiah 43:19 (NRSV)
The Reformed Church in Plano holds fast to this Word from God. We hold fast to this Word because we are on a journey to discover the “new thing” that God is about to do.
After the longtime service of a beloved and founding pastor (1978-2008) and the subsequent service of a gifted specialized interim pastor (2008-2009) and brief tenure of the next established pastor (2009-2010), The Reformed Church in Plano finds itself in the midst of a journey where we are asking some very fundamental questions, questions borrowed from the Rev. Dr. Gilbert Rendle:
- Who are we? (Identity)
- What is God calling us to do? (Purpose)
- Who is our neighbor? (Context)
In the summer of 2012, the RCP Consistory (leadership board) commissioned a Vision Discernment Team comprised of seven RCP members and two co-facilitators to “shepherd a process to discover God’s unique call for The Reformed Church in Plano.” This team has been spending time prayerfully reading and reflecting on Leading Congregational Change by Jim Herrington, Mike Bonem, and James Furr—their primary resource for this journey.
On this journey, the VDT has already experienced moments of profound pain as well as deep joy. One thing is certain: this journey takes a great deal of time. In order to fully experience all that God intends for us as a congregation, we cannot sprint, lest we lose the stamina necessary to go the distance. Our authors remind us that the process to facilitate deep change in any church usually takes “five to seven years” (Herrington, Bonem, and Furr, p. 13). At times, we find ourselves identifying with the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. At others, we identify with the common question posed by our children and grandchildren on a long journey: “Are we there yet?” We must admit that—no matter how much we wish it were otherwise—the answer is, “no.” We’re not “there” yet. But we continue to trust in the God who has promised to do a “new thing.” We trust in this God because this God most fully revealed God’s character in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our God takes great delight in doing a new thing, and we know this is so because our God raised Jesus from death to life!
So we have no clear, compelling, or captivating vision statement for you to read. Maybe someday. But not yet. Not today. Instead, our mission is a plagiarized one. We steal it from the One we’re seeking to follow: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31, NRSV).
Love God. Love Neighbor. That’s it…for now. Eventually, we hope to have “flesh” to add to this bare bones “skeleton”—flesh that will provide more specificity in terms of our unique call. But for now, we’re seeking to grow in our love for God and our love for our neighbor.