Looking to Our Future
Sitting in Libby Titus’ living room with Frani Hicks was an enlightening experience. Libby is a wonderfully quick-witted woman, a former “Rosie the Riveter,” wife, mother and long-time member of Central. She also shares her sprawling farmhouse in Melville with her grandson Steven and his family. Her quiet half of the house is frequently invaded by four energetic great-grandsons who frolic on her floor and demand kisses from “Gigi.” Experiencing her home and her family inspired a beautiful picture for our future at Central.
The greatest challenge facing churches today is the task of keeping pace with a culture that is post-Christian, increasingly secular and often antagonistic toward religious conviction. The outcome of these cultural shifts is that we have generations of people for whom church affiliation is not essential; in fact being a Christian is not even on their radar. We see this at Central. As we age, the church is shrinking and our rich evangelical missional history and tradition in Huntington is in danger of coming to an end with our generation.
The Session has decided that it’s time to act.
Every generation before us faced the same challenges to one degree or another. Each generation of Christians is commissioned to hand off our faith in Jesus Christ, our commitment to His Kingdom and the reigns of His church to the believers who follow us. The problem is we don’t have a generation at Central large enough to whom we can give it.
We have two tasks: we must raise up a new generation of Christ-followers to whom we can hand off the rich history of Central, and we must maintain the rich tradition of love and fellowship that has been and is our Central today.
The vision that the Session is working on has two parts:
1. The first is to put in place a solid plan to maintain and nurture what we presently have.
2. The second is to aggressively gather an entirely new mission team to launch the next generation.
That mission team will evangelize our spiritual grandchildren! Sharing our church facilities with our own spiritual grandchildren is the model that Libby has loaned us. Generously making room for our “Grands” and Great-Grands to flourish is the opportunity that the Lord has put before us. They will be “Grand Central.”
Because we do not have enough younger folks to generate a missional critical mass, we plan to recruit a team of “missionaries” who will join us in our historic evangelical calling of reaching Huntington with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our hope and prayer is that the Lord will touch the hearts of many willing and eager believers from our fellow ReviveLI churches to join us in this effort. I am prayerfully building fellowship and friendship with other ReviveLI pastors and submitting our vision to them for prayer and to consider partnering with us for the Kingdom in Huntington. But what will happen to us, the Central we know and love? The answer is that great care and love will be exercised to ensure that our beloved family stays vibrant and healthy.
It WILL mean change; however we all know that change comes whether we want it or not. But the changes we will make are changes we will have an opportunity to consider and embrace. They will be changes that ensure that our vision, mission and tradition for Jesus Christ continue on this sacred ground at 240 Main St. It will require mutual caring and sharing with Grand Central.
This new work will be ours. It will be US. It will be Central, our spiritual Grandkids.
With God’s help we will be the proud grandparents of a generation of believers worthy of the calling God has given us.
They will be “Grand Central".