2020 Vision

100 Small Groups Initiative Around the City

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2020 Vision

We first discussed the idea of long-range planning because of concern about attendance and giving at Richmond’s First Baptist Church. The Deacon Advisory Council suggested that we do some long-range planning to address that issue and to energize the church around a shared vision for the future.

During 2016, our church began engaging in a visioning process that will create guidance for the next several years. We call it 2020 Vision.

It began in 2015 with a conversation with Bill Wilson, President of the Center for Healthy Churches, who listened to our deacons’ concerns about the decline of the American church and insisted that those churches that are clear about their identity and mission—in other words, churches that know “Who they are and what they are doing”—can thrive even in times like these. 

Dr. Wilson has helped dozens of congregations develop ambitious visions through Appreciative Inquiry. Unlike many strategic models, which ask, “What’s not working, and how can we fix it,” Appreciative Inquiry explores, “What is this church already doing really well, and how can we take those strengths and go even deeper?” Bill led our congregation through three spiritual conversations during the spring and summer of 2016, helping us to discover what made our church great in the past, what it’s doing well today, and the dreams God has given us for the future.

Our look into the past showed that in its 236-year history, Richmond’s First Baptist Church is known for its worship and preaching, its commitment to spiritual development in children and adults, its support of missions near and abroad, the diversity of its members, and above all else, the love and warmth of the congregation. A look into the church’s present helped to highlight the areas where the church excels, such as worship and compassion, and others where more focus and energy would pay dividends, such as formation and communication. When we asked our congregation to close their eyes and dream into the future, over three-hundred responses flooded in, envisioning mid-week, off-campus worship services, community playgrounds, home small groups and much more.

See information about the early stages of this process.

Implementation Process

To begin addressing many of the church’s dreams, 13 implementation Teams formed to start the work of turning our dreams into reality. Dr. Somerville writes a weekly blog about their work.

  1. Adult Spiritual Literacy
    Mike Harton Team Leader
    Steve Booth - Staff Liaison
    Virginia Darnell & Lee Stephenson – 2020 Vision Liaisons
    To expand opportunities for a greater understanding of scripture, theology, and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ

  2. Children Discipleship Blueprint
    Whitney Wallin – Team Leader
    Candi Brown – Staff Liaison
    Anne Keo – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To define foundational building blocks for faith development from birth through grade 5

  3. Youth Discipleship Blueprint
    Mark Potts Team Leader
    Bart Dalton – Staff Liaison
    Shawnae Lacy – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To define foundational building blocks for faith development from grade 6 through college

  4. 100 Small Groups Initiative Around the City
    Shirley Siebert Team Leader
    Jim Somerville – Staff Liaison
    Clint Smith 2020 Vision Liaison
    To develop a plan for small groups across RVA, facilitated by trained Richmond's First Baptist Church  members to lead, love, and disciple.

    Sign up to lead a small group! (Our church is listed as Richmond's First Baptist Church.)
    See all the small groups available.

  5. Broadening our invitation in the Fan & Scott's Addition
    Justin Griffin Team Leader
    Ralph Starling – Staff Liaison
    Mark Larson – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To explore opportunities to connect and share the love of Christ with our neighbors

  6. Lay Led Worship Service at a Time other than Sunday
    Karen Brown Team Leader
    Phil Mitchell – Staff Liaison
    Allen Brown – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To study the possibility of establishing a lay led worship service at a time other than
    Sunday morning

  7. Establishing Partnerships with an Elementary
    and Middle School in the Neighborhood

    Raylene Harton Team Leader
    Ann Carter – Staff Liaison
    Julie Pierce – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To develop a plan for building relationships with students, teachers, and parents, to assist with identified needs

  8. Community Garden at Charlotte Acres
    Todd Ball Team Leader
    Steve Blanchard – Staff Liaison
    Michael Lipford – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To review the possibility of developing or partnering to develop, a gardening program to provide food for those in need

  9. Marriage and Family Enrichment
    Sally Ann Smith – Team Leader
    Lynn Turner & Steve Booth – Staff Liaisons
    Jim Norvelle – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To study ways to support and strengthen marriage and families in our congregation
    For more information about strengthening marriages and families please check out our website.

  10. Building Community through Interest Groups
    Anne Ball – Team Leader
    Ruth Szucs – Staff Liaison
    Lisa Tuck – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To facilitate the process and opportunities for connecting people with common interests

  11. Building Community through Gathering Places
    Jeannie Welliver Team Leader
    Lynn Turner – Staff Liaison
    Charles Tilley – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To identify possible facility alterations to provide space that encourages fellowship and community

  12. Communication (Media)
    Steve Martin Team Leader
    Allen Cumbia – Staff Liaison
    Richard Szucs – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To expand invitation through social media, website, and television

  13. Communication (Data)
    Susan Beach Team Leader
    Allen Cumbia – Staff Liaison
    Richard Szucs – 2020 Vision Liaison
    To improve collection and use of electronic data to inform our membership and others what is going on at Richmond’s First Baptist Church

See Dr. Somerville's weekly blog about their work.