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Renovation Roll Out: A Letter to West Franklin

Renovation Roll Out: A Letter to West Franklin October 23, 2021
West Franklin Family,
Tomorrow morning will be the last morning we worship in the sanctuary for a while. As you well know, renovations are coming. The last thing we will do together as a congregation in the pre-renovated room is observe the Lord’s Supper. We will observe in the room again one day – but after tomorrow, the next time we partake – the room will look and feel and sound different.
One thing I have learned from talking with some of you in recent weeks is that you are frustrated at the way these renovations have been presented and laid out. The frustration isn’t that the changes are happening (though we all have opinions). The frustration lies in how the changes came about. It’s not that renovations are happening on our campus, per se. It’s that renovations are happening with very little input from the congregation as a whole. The frustration (anger? sadness? confusion? ) is there due to the fact that it seems/feels forced. One day the congregation was told these changes were happening and some of you felt as if you were basically told to just “deal with it and get over it.” Though this was not the intent, and some in the congregation were indeed solicited for input, I can understand why you felt/feel this way. In a sense, this is exactly the way it happened. You didn’t feel like you were able to express your thoughts, opinions, input, etc. You felt/feel left out of the process. You wonder if anyone cares what you think. You wonder if it’s going to be like this about everything moving forward.
I get why you feel this way.
I am sorry that you feel this way.
It makes sense that you feel this way.
Could this process have been handled differently? Sure. Is the way it is being executed the best way? Maybe. Maybe not. There is no blueprint in the book of Acts outlining how to do this kind of thing as a church. Yes. Decisions and plans were made by a few. These plans were then communicated to the congregation. We did not hold a forum where everyone could voice their opinions on what, when, where, or if renovations should happen.
But consider. . .
Consider what this process (though not perfect) prevented and allowed. First, rolling out the renovations like this prevented hours of Baptist arguing. Who knows? It may have prevented a few all out fights. Opinions are like belly buttons. Everybody has one. Though most are thrilled, all at West Franklin are not pleased with some of the renovations. Understood. But I promise you – and you know it’s true – were we to get in a room and discuss pews vs. chairs, stain glass window, paint color, carpet color, etc. there would be a crowd of angry human beings. Granted, there are some angry human beings now. I get that. But there were going to be angry human beings regardless of the process. Doing it this way at least prevented us from spending hours in meetings together arguing about paint. And perhaps, doing it this way prevented observant younger generations from eventually leaving the church all together. This has been prevented. Hallelujah.
Second, this process has allowed us to spend more time on what matters. Instead of hours in meetings about carpet; instead of hallway meetings complaining about what sister Sassy thought about chairs instead of pews; instead of follow up meeting after follow up meeting – we have been able to use our time in other ways. If you were my two ears over the past several weeks, you would have heard conversations (from you!) about building relationships with other races; starting a men’s ministry; reaching Hispanics in our area; bolstering our women’s ministry; planning events for our teenagers; starting a Bible study or a group or a church in Westhaven; contacting West Franklin folks who haven’t been back since COVID; ministry to one of our members who lost a parent; ministry to one of our members who contracted a horrific case of COVID; how to get better at having Gospel Conversations – just to name a few. Think about that. Because decisions about a building were made – we have been able to focus our attention on things that ultimately matter. The last I checked, that is what a church is and does.
West Franklin, what I am trying to say is – though the process of rolling out the renovations could have been different, if it prevented a lot of arguing and allowed us to focus on what matters, I’ll take it. In my opinion, there’s a lot of wisdom in that. The next few months are going to be interesting, to say the least. I am excited about post-renovations, sure. But I am also very excited about us experiencing together the adjustments coming during construction. I am eager to attend to God with you during these next several months.
Tomorrow morning, my Bible will be open to 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. We will sing. We will pray. We will give. We will sit under the Word. We will remember what is ultimate in the elements. We will leave and, God willing, come back next Sunday and worship. It’s what we do. It’s who we are. Changes will be made to the building. God will be changing us. And it will happen with us not upset with one another because “such and such” wanted green carpet. It will happen with us being able to focus on what matters. I’ll take it.
Because Jesus Lives,
Pastor Matt
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