Fanning the Flame Update

Although it only seems like yesterday, the Fanning the Flame process began in earnest in May. When our coach, Joe Weatherly, was here for the April conference, he likened the FTF process to building a building. At the beginning, bulldozers simply appear to be pushing dirt around. But, all the dirt-shifting is crucial for laying the proper, sturdy foundation for the building to be raised. Over the past three months, the FTF team has been engaged in preparing the soil for a strong foundation. Here are some highlights of the team’s labors.


In May, the FTF team composition was finalized. The team’s first meeting with the coach took place via teleconference. In that meeting, Joe explained the visioning process. Each team member was asked to review one of the ten Embers to a Flame principles (for an overview of the principles, see each day and prayerfully to write down on 3×5 cards any ideas that came to mind that would be useful in implementing the principle. This process lasted about a month.


In June, the FTF team had its first face-to-face meeting with Joe. The vision cards were placed into categories that provided the raw material for the vision narrative. The vision narrative is part of Emmanuel’s story looking back from the future at what God “did” in the life of Emmanuel. Newt Bugbee served as the narrative writer. Also in June, close to thirty members of Emmanuel filled out the Spiritual Health Survey. This tool helps to evaluate where we are, how we’re doing, and what we need to work on for greater church health. The results of the survey will be made available, Lord willing, sometime in August once the Session has an opportunity to review them.


During the month of July, the vision narrative was edited in preparation for the upcoming planning “retreat”—we’ll be meeting at Emmanuel—on August 1 and 2. Also in preparation for the retreat, the team members individually have been working through a series of assignments that review important biblical passages useful for thinking about spiritual health and ministry planning. The pre-retreat work package includes reviewing the vision narrative to make sure we’re on the same page, evaluating strengths and weaknesses of Emmanuel, thinking through what areas to focus on first in the vision, etc.


We’ve also appointed, as previously announced, Harold Grubbs as the FTF Prayer Coordinator. He gathers prayer requests and forwards them to the team at Briarwood PCA that has committed to praying for us. You’ll also see those prayer items in the EOPC newsletter. On Monday mornings, Harold and others meet together to pray for our congregation that the Lord will strengthen us and guide us. Don’t forget, you’re welcome to join in! Pete Veenema has volunteered to serve as the Spiritual Gifts Coordinator. Once his own training is complete, Pete will train a couple of others in the congregation in administering the surveys and evaluations designed to help each of us discern our spiritual gifts so we can put them into service in the life and ministry of our church. Stay tuned for more details!


Please continue to pray that the Lord will work at Emmanuel through the Fanning the Flame efforts to increase our spiritual vitality, our love for Father, Son, and Spirit, and our submission to Christ in all things.


Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.


–Philippians 4:4