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The Three Questions

Forest Hill United Church (FH) is preparing for Needs Assessment (April Date To Be Announced soon). What are you planning for FH’s future and what leadership is needed to move in that direction? Too often a congregation’s approach to the selection of a new minister lacks focus and specificity. A better outcome ensues when a congregation deeply and prayerfully considers its own and its community’s unique features, needs and dreams, and the leader-ship it needs to develop those.
What is at the core of FH’s being? Why does FH exist? What is its raison d’être? One of the ways to dis-cover core identity, mission, vision, and values is by exploring “The Three Questions”. They are: Who are we? Who is our neighbour? What is God calling us to do and to be?
1. Who Are We?
FH can answer this one with a variation on “Celebrate God, Be in Community, Reach Out to Others”. Truthfully, most churches would define them-selves with some variation of these concepts. So, what is it that sets FH apart? How is FH different? What’s FH’s original recipe? If you were to boil the essence of this congregation down to its unique kernel of truth, the beating heart of its existence, what would that be?
2. Who Is Our Neighbour?
From the work on Holy Currencies to barbeques and backpacks with Chandler-Mowat, from Food Truck Frenzy to the snack programme for Forest Hill School, we’ve been getting to know our neighbours and in-creasing our visibility in the community. Now that we know each other a little better, what’s next? What relationships do we need to build and draw on to broaden and deepen our attentiveness to one another?
3. What Is God Calling Us to Do and to Be?
God rarely tells people to keep on doing what they’re doing. God listens to the voice deep in our hearts and points us on paths – often unnerving us – in the direction of that unspoken longing. What is that for FH? How are you offering yourself to discover that vocation and live it out?
A meaningful Needs Assessment depends on answering these questions. While demographics, numbers, and your wishes are part of the work, being able to name what values are underneath the stats in the language of identity, mission and vocation is what creates a successful Needs Assessment.
So I invite you to think about these questions, discuss them with your family and friends both inside and outside the congregation, and discern not what FH needs to do, but what you yourself are prepared to commit to FH’s future.