Monday, December 20, 2010

I am Thankful for the Blessings of 2010: #7 – BICC Involvement

[As the year comes to an end, I am listing a few of the things that happened during 2010 for which I am most thankful. The list is not in order of significance.]

I am thankful for my involvement in the Bradley Initiative for Church and Community. I wrote about BICC on November 8th, but as the year draws to a close I am compelled to list it as one part of my life for which I carry constant thanksgiving.

Last year I lead BICC in a comprehensive strategic planning project. We clarified our core values, revived our vision, restructured, and developed a plan for continued improvement. One product of that endeavor was to renew our commitment to listen to the community, study the systemic root causes of issues facing our neighbors, and design and implement programs that address those root causes.

In our restructuring, we created the Vision Commission to oversee the listening and program development component of our mission. I was asked to chair this commission. The Commission meets monthly. We will be launching our “Spring Forward” campaign in January. We have about thirty churches involved at this point. In January and February we will conduct the community interviews; our goal is to interview five thousand people. If all goes well we will announce a community development project drawn from those interviews next September. Hundreds of people from dozens of churches will be involved. It is beautiful when followers of Christ come together across denominational lines to build a just and compassionate society of equal opportunity.

Perhaps my greatest pleasure with BICC centers on our core value of Bible study. In all of our meetings we take time to read a Scripture text and discuss it. Typically, we choose the text from the daily readings in the lectionary. In this plan we avoid personal agendas and focus of the Word of God. Although I am certain we do not all agree on the interpretation of the Scriptures, I do not recall a single conflict in these studies. Instead each person is allowed to share their sense of what God is saying through the text. I always come away instructed and encouraged. I also marvel at how close we are in agreement about the core truths of the Bible. It is amazing to witness this fellowship centered on the Bread of Life.

Cleveland, Tennessee
December 20, 2010

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