This past Sunday evening something unprecedented happened in the life of Good Shepherd: 400 leaders gathered together to eat, play, laugh, sing (in English and Spanish), pray, listen, and weep as we unveiled a new seven year focus for our church. Here’s what the closing worship looked like:
Here are five reflections from the evening:
The Seven Year Dream revolves around Beautiful Marriages. We have decided to that pretty weddings will be someone else’s business. For the foreseeable future we will be about empowering and equipping couples to have beautiful marriages.
The focus will be on crisis prevention rather than crisis management. We hope to resource husbands and wives in our region to develop the kind of healthy patterns and habits that ensure fewer crises arrive in the first place. The best time to work on your marriage? When you don’t need to.
It’s a vision that depends upon and is nourished by the involvement of people who are single. Whether we walk alongside people going through a sadly necessary divorce or we help folks “prepare themselves before they promise themselves” or simply help people make sense of the marriage they grew up in, we recognize that all people are impacted by marriage.
The focus has two audacious goals: to touch 10,000 couples in the five zip codes closest to our campuses and to cut the divorce filings in southern Mecklenburg and northern York Counties in half by 2026. Imagine how different our community will be. This vision is not so much about growing our church as it is about healing our city.
The vision is our travel brochure; our promo video. It tells where we are headed. Our mission of inviting all people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ remains our compass. It’s who we are. It’s what we do every day. We will still baptize, still have healing services, still have sermon series on overlooked Old Testament books that many of you didn’t even know was in the bible to begin with. We will still be bible lifters and not bible scoffers. The vision doesn’t replace anything that we do; it instead harnesses our energy and drive towards the goal of community transformation through the bedrock relationship of all communities: marriage and the home.
Because, as Ephesians tells us, the covenant love between a husband and a wife is the God-ordained display of the reckless love the Jesus has for his church.