~~ A. Introduction
If Jesus were Pastor of a local church, these following church characteristics might well be true about the church:
1. It would not cater toward the rich, famous, or powerful; nor would such people be discriminated against;
2. It would not have lavish endowments of unapplied donations;
3. It would not be run by out-of-town denominational clerics unfamiliar with the individual congregants and the local situations;
4. It would be welcoming, user-friendly, and encouraging to all kinds of worshipers; including, but not limited to, people who had disabilities affecting their hearing, seeing, mobility, cognition, expression, etc., etc., -- and would involve them in service leadership positions. The members would be anxious to lift up each other spiritually and financially – and anxious to assist those needing physical helps to encounter Jesus during worship services and elsewhere (like those believers who in the second chapter of the Gospel of Mark who lowered their sick friend through the roof to be healed and forgiven by Jesus!).
5. It would not be made up of members who were only white, only brown, only black, or only any one ethnic group or skin color; or who were of only one language, or of only one anything --- but simply were all people who believed in Jesus as the only Savior, and believed all the words of the Bible were true, including the entire New and the Old Testaments; and who recognized the roles of both Testaments in understanding the Son of God's, Jesus', Divine Messiah-ship and the ordained nature of the proper affairs of the church;
6. It would be true to the Biblical teachings, and then true to the ancient traditions of the universal church, in that order;
7. It would not limit expression of hymns and other Godly praise to a single Human era’s mode of worship, but would recognize the glory of God welcomes a wide variety of celebratory expression – from county to county, culture to culture, and age to age -- though never be done in an unruly way that's contrary to Biblical precepts.
[In the comprehensiveness of its types of members, and of its worship parameters, such a church would truly raise up the “whosoever will” approach of Christ Jesus, modeling his heart on earth for all to see and experience! Such is and will be, by the empowering grace of God, Holy Feast Bible Church!]
~~ B. HFBC Purpose/Strategic Mission Statement :
The Strategic Mission of the Church would be to spread the Gospel of Jesus and to witness worldwide of the sacrificial love of Jesus; and also (secondarily) meeting the needs of the poor and those with disabilities -- who are our neighbors and fellow travelers on earth; remembering always the words of Jesus:
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. --Matthew 28:18-20 KJV
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind --Luke 14:13 KJV
~~C. Overview of the Initial Planning Steps Likely to be Needed :
Goal One: To form a launch team (c. 3-12 people as interested parties) in late 2020 and begin worshiping in homes or other locations, praying diligently for God’s guidance – and encouraging one another.
Goal Two: within 24 months of forming a Launch Team, to form a slightly larger (c. 30?) group, beginning to also to form the logistical aspects of a new church, including all of the following:
~~a. establishing a regular (rented?) meeting place that is wheelchair accessible [done]
~~b. creating an official website; and mailing and email address lists [done]
~~c. appointing temporary clerical leadership & Leadership Board.
~~d. getting an employer number; and establishing tax-exempt
status according to IRS 508c(1)(A) or IRS 501c(3) [done]
~~e. Holding church services at regular times each week -- with perhaps the Sunday Services
at 11AM & 3 PM, to allow families in other churches to bring persons with disabilities and also to serve as helpers.
~~f. spreading, with God's helps, information to others about the Church’s existence and mission
Goal Three: Within 24 months of starting of Goal Two, to begin the process of planning a small (expandable) church building accessible for people with various physical difficulties, including but not limited to the disabilities of mobility impaired individuals, plus (when possible) the hearing impaired or the Deaf, and the visually Impaired. This will include -- in an (lengthy 10+ year) logical progression: things like wheelchair ramps, accessible bathrooms, covered car-off-loading entrances, hearing loops or Bluetooth hearing assistances, ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters, braille and large print materials and bulletins, an emergency defibrillator, lever door handles, 36-inch doors (most automatically controlled), single floor meeting spaces (no steps), ample accessible emergency exits, wide aisles, mostly movable chairs, deaf conversation areas with pattern-free backgrounds and upholstery for ease of hand signs, large digital displays, covered parking, parking attendant and information kiosks, larger and Braille door signage with clear color contrast, variable height tables/pulpit/lecterns, shower accessible for handicapped, quiet and louder sensory rooms, crying room, a few jumbo chairs, chairs with and without arm-rests, lights and sound for fire alarms, small fountain splashing in lobby (this helps blind people to orient), low pile rugs (keeps floors from getting slick for those with canes, but should not be so deep as to make wheelchair movements difficult), colors and patterns preferred by persons using sign-language, food bank and emergency housing services for those with financial difficulties, etc.
[Note: This would be a church where all people are welcome and where they can worship together in a very special “Holy Feast” of celebration of our Savior. It is envisioned that services in the Church will have those more able members in attendance often providing help for those with disabilities – a voluntary missionary activity even as worship services for all are occurring. Thus, this will be a unique blending of the Body of Christ, the Church, with all serving and being served even as they worship and praise the King of Kings! Eventually it is anticipated that the Church will expand even more to specially-enhanced religious and social services to include autistic individuals, the homeless, the bed-bound, the house-bound, the dying, incarcerated/paroled persons, and others in need. Through all these efforts, the spreading of the eternal soul-healing GOSPEL OF JESUS will be paramount. ]
An excellent academic video link on the church including people with disabilities is at
ADDENDUM: HFBC FUTURE MISSION OUTREACH IDEAS
by Rev. Gary E. Crum, Launch Coordinator
As HFBC gets its footing in the coming months, we should think of some ways we can strengthen the greater Kingdom issues and organizations not under our operational purview. This might represent 10% or more of our operational, nondesignated income. Here are some possible options, though many others could be mentioned.
1. Supporting the Joni and Friends “Luke 14 Project,” helping disabled people living in third-world counties with their spiritual and physical needs. (I have, for instance, supplied some surplus durable medical equipment from SW Virginia to this program.) Reviewing this video will give the reader more background on this international effort: https://youtu.be/pgqDIu6ybdw
2. Sending funds to a “sister” sponsored mission programs, like one of the foreign missionaries listed on the Association of Independent Methodists website. The AIM is an organization with very compatible positions with HFBC. and is the Association whose Ministerial oversight committee did grant Rev. Gary Crum, our Coordinator, ordination credentials.
3. Supporting the homeless shelter programs of Haven of Rest, in Bristol, TN.