Looking ahead to 2021: bridging the divide

Looking ahead to 2021: bridging the divide

Rev. Dr. Jim Miller

Kim Jones, a member of the Session and chair of the Personnel Committee, recently retired from Kimberly-Clark where she’s been an executive for 17 years. Her work at K-C included sorting through possible strategic goals for the company each year. Ask Kim what that looks like and she’ll start talking about WIGs. That’s Steven Covey talk for “Wildly Important Goals.”

A WIG, says Kim, is some singular goal that the whole organization chooses to take up and pursue together - every department, every manager and every employee; swept into the jet stream of a company-wide effort.

This idea has been endorsed by the FPC Strategic Planning team, headed by Elder Porter Shults. And the Session focused most of its September meeting on this one subject. Now we’re wanting to enlarge the voices that offer ideas as we head into the New Year.

“If First Church were
going to undertake one
‘Wildly Important Goal’ in 2021, what might you offer
by way of an idea?”
– Rev. Dr. Jim Miller

So here’s the question: if First Church were going to undertake one “Wildly Important Goal” in 2021, what might you offer by way of an idea? If we were to focus our full attention in the New Year, lifting up and pursuing one area of ministry, one significant undertaking that the entire congregation could embrace and support, what might you suggest that undertaking be?

Our first reflections on these questions have included the theme: Bridging the Divide. We’ve asked what divides exist that the Lord of the Church wants us to bridge? We’re very aware of the one divide in our city that will have the whole nation’s attention in 2021: the racial divide.

You might have seen the article in the Washington Post (June 20, 2020). The headline read: Tulsa’s Ugly Racial History: from the Trail of Tears to the 1921 Race Massacre.

If we were to address this divide and ask how we might take steps in bridging it in 2021, what might that look like? Some have pointed to an “all-in” approach to the efforts of our Masterwork Academy, one FPC outreach effort that’s bridging any number of divides within our city. This would involve an FPC “full-court press” including giving of our time, talent and efforts in expressing the love of Jesus to these kids and their families.

Our Wednesday Night Downtown Pastor’s Class called “Bridging the Divide” has also been helpful in our discernment. Leaders from the African-American Christian community (and their congregants) have given their insights on exactly these questions. The Rev. Terry Buxton from the Agape Bible Fellowship, the Rev. Mel Cooper from WorldWon for Christ, and the Rev. Anthony Scott from the First Baptist Church of North Tulsa, have helped us see more clearly how we can collaborate with the larger Christian community as we move into the New Year.

You’ll hear more about ways you can engage this ongoing conversation in the months ahead. And I ask your prayers for the Session as we discern one or two “Wildly Important Goals” which the Holy Spirit would like us to pursue in the months ahead.