No, not the DAR. That would be the “Daughters of the American Revolution” and I wouldn’t have been invited. This was the DAC, the “Deacon Advisory Council,” comprised of the chairs and vice-chairs of the deacons of Richmond’s First Baptist Church over the last few years and convened only when the Pastor needs advice.
There’s been some talk around First Baptist that we need to renovate the sanctuary. The carpet is beginning to look a little worn, the paint is peeling in a few places. But a major renovation of the sanctuary could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, money we can’t just take out of the budget. If we’re going to do this we’ll have to launch a capital campaign, and that’s why I called the DAC together.
“What do you think?” I asked.
There were about ten of us in the room, and we had lots of opinions, but overall the mood was positive, even enthusiastic. We began to talk not only about the sanctuary but also the chapel, the church library, and some improvements to our infrastructure which would include an upgrade in technology. As we talked, a theme of some sort began to emerge, and it was this: “Getting ‘Mission Central’ Ready for the Next Hundred Years.”
I think it was Billy Burford, our administrator, who first referred to our campus as “Mission Central,” but I liked it right away, and have been using it ever since. The Deacon Advisory Council seemed to like it, too: the suggestion that we would not be simply prettying up our building for the enjoyment of our members, but turning it into a state-of-the art training facility for missionaries. We talked about how to use smartphones in the sanctuary; about making the chapel into the kind of space that would work equally well for contemporary worship, contemplative prayer, or conferences and workshops; about turning the library into something more like a Barnes & Noble bookstore, where people from the neighborhood would feel as much at home as our own members.
In all of this we seemed to keep our mission in mind.
Remember those second-graders I told you about, who were trying to buy some orthopedic shoes for a woman in the neighborhood who needs them? I saw them at the end of a long hallway at church yesterday, selling cookies to raise money to buy those shoes. They seemed to be having a ball, and people seemed to be buying cookies. I later heard that they raised $298. But what I loved most was the banner on the wall behind them, an enormous hand-made banner that read: “KOH2RVA!”
Whether or not we are able to make all the improvements we dreamed of yesterday, it seems that “Mission Central” is already a training facility for missionaries.