Peter Drucker, writer, professor and business consultant hailed by BusinessWeek as “the man who invented management,” once said this: "My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions." Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”
Last fall, as I met with FBC’s Pastor Search Committee, I sent them some questions I had about First Baptist. There were 63. (Okay, I’m a curious sort—in more ways than one.) Over the past ten weeks, as I’ve begun settling in here with all of you and getting to know you better, I’ve culled that original list of 62 questions down to 10. I shared them with the deacons last Sunday and want to offer them again here the rest of you. I don’t have a blueprint for asking them, but I’m convinced that if we let ourselves keep gravitating back to these—in our committee meetings and Sunday morning classes and at Sunday brunch together, the way forward for First Baptist will continue to unfold:
- Can you talk about the movement of the Holy Spirit at First Baptist? How do you see God at work these days?
- What is FBC currently known for in Washington DC and beyond? If God were to do everything you are asking God to do in and through FBC, what would our church be known for in DC five years from now?
- If Jesus himself were to plant a new church in DuPont Circle, what do you think it would look like?
- How would you describe FBC’s present culture—the DNA of our church? What’s the desired culture/DNA/future?
- Is FBC’s prevailing mission and vision widely shared among the congregation? Would you be able to communicate these in an elevator ride at work? If you were someone on the margins of church life, would FBC’s stated mission and vision capture your imagination and make you want to plunge in deeper with God and this community of faith? If so, why? If not, why not?
- How are these four major areas at FBC—finances, facilities, staffing and structures (team & committee structure; governance structures, disciple-making structures; decision-making structures, etc.)—supporting and/or hindering our church’s prevailing mission and vision?
- How are we going to address together the reality that young adults today, as well as the “Nones” and “Dones” are less inclined to desire involvement in the often complex inner-workings of a congregation than those of past centuries? (Because of this, increased attendance doesn’t necessarily mean increased participation in committee work, business meetings, etc. Hardly anyone joins a church with the prevailing hope of one day being able to serve on the Church Council. Most people are desperate for God and for community, not for institutionalism. Most thriving churches are drastically simplifying their structures so as to remain nimble and able to focus on gospel priorities.)
- How are we going to create more opportunities for people (especially newcomers) to experience authentic community at FBC?
- How are we going to practice intentional leadership development at FBC, especially with our young adults?
- How are we going to practice the ministry of faith formation among people who are brand new to faith, or who’ve been away for a long time?
You have good questions of your own. Share them. Ask them. I’m ever so glad to be living the questions here with you…