Browncroft 2034: A Vision for the Next Decade

May 9, 2024
Mark Mathias and Sam Ambalavanar

If you are like us, your imagined future horizon extends a year or two at most.  From time to time however, it is wise for our church to look further out and discern how God is leading us over a longer period.  In the last year, our Browncroft elders have begun asking God for insight into what He envisions our church to become over the next decade, and we want to welcome input from all of you in this time of seeking His guidance.

Perhaps the most important part of this exercise is that of learning to listen and invite God’s direction to us as a church, and to us as individuals.  “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared us in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).  The “we” in this verse has relevance whether thinking of our individual lives or of our church as a collective body.  In this process, we are inviting God’s transformative work in our individual lives and our collective life — not just a decade from now, but beginning today.

In this process, we are inviting God’s transformative work in our individual lives and our collective life — not just a decade from now, but beginning today.

How do we go about taking such a future look?  Of course, we start by seeking God in listening prayer.  In parallel, we have been asking a series of questions taken from an important reference on developing church vision (a):

1) What is the “local predicament” in our community that God may be asking us to address?  Here we consider spiritual needs and cultural pressures.  Geographically (see the above map of a five-mile radius around our church building), one striking observation is that our neighborhood includes areas of significant wealth as well as areas of significant resource need within the city of Rochester. 

2) What is the “collective potential” of those whom God has gathered at Browncroft? God has called together a group of folks with diverse abilities and gifts.  We believe that, together, we can accomplish far more as we unify our diversity.

3) What most energizes our leaders?  God has given us leaders with a passion to see people who are spiritually lost come to follow Jesus and be transformed by Him.  God has given us a senior pastor who has served as a missionary in Kosovo and continues to have important connections with the fledgling church there.

We have had several meetings — with elders, staff, and various church members — to brainstorm these questions. But we want to hear from our congregation as well! Please take a few moments to share any thoughts or ideas you have about the future of our church by clicking the button below.

If you’d like to engage further in our Browncroft vision, feel free to contact our Elder Board or simply approach any Browncroft elders you happen to know!

Beginning in the latter part of May, a subset of elders will spend some time synthesizing these inputs into a vision proposal for the next ten years of Browncroft.  We will then refine this through discussion with elders, staff, and leaders.  You can expect an update at the October Annual Meeting.  Let’s be praying – again with a strong listening component – for God to use this time of seeking to align us with the work He is preparing for us.

Let’s be praying – again with a strong listening component – for God to use this time of seeking to align us with the work He is preparing for us.

There are quite a few places in scripture where we are reminded to “lift up our eyes” (Genesis 13:14, Psalms 121:1-2 and 123:1, Isaiah 40:26 and 49:18, John 4:35). This is so we can benefit from a broader view of our circumstances and trust in God’s power to care for and transform us.  It is exciting to imagine how God will lead Browncroft, both today and into the longer term, as we “lift our eyes” together!

Mark Mathias (Elder Board Chairman)

Sam Ambalavanar (Elder Board Vice Chairman)

Reference:

(a) Mancini, Will.  Chapter 9 in Church Unique, San Francisco, Jossey-Boss, 2008.

About The Author

Mark Mathias and Sam Ambalavanar

Mark Mathias is our Elder Board Chairman. He is trained as a Chemical Engineer and worked for 20 years on electric vehicle development for General Motors. He is now an engineering consultant and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Rochester. He and his wife, Laura, have have been invested in Browncroft since 1998.

Sam Ambalavanar is our Elder Board Vice Chairman. He has attended Browncroft since 1993. He is a past Elder Board Chair and has long been involved with missions, youth, and Flower City Work Camp ministries. Sam is also the co-founder of Imaging Solutions Group, which he sold in 2018 and continues to support.

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