Our Vision: RISE 25

Every church that’s serious about following Jesus has a vision for the future, a dream about what’s next.

Great visions arise out of sacred ambitions, the Spirit’s gifts, wise planning, and community need. They are grounded in the promises of God and animated by the gospel of Jesus.

Our church’s vision statement is called RISE25. It is a framework laid across four key ideas that we sense God is drawing our people toward between now and 2025. Those values are:

Rethink: Understanding that society and our congregation have changed in fundamental ways since 2020, we are committed to challenging our own assumptions, drafting new mental models, assuming a learner’s posture, and asking the Holy Spirit to keep us from lazy conformity by renewing our minds (Romans 12:1)

Involve: Recognizing that ministry is not a spectator sport, we are committed to including as many persons as possible in meaningful Second Spaces within congregational life. These experiences include small groups, service teams, bible studies, and other opportunities for spiritual connectedness (1 Corinthians 12:21-27).

Serve: Churches thrive when they positively impact their communities and regions. Our church has sensed a dangerous drift toward passive religion and is working hard to correct this misalignment. Therefore, we are redoubling our efforts to build up Orange City, to empower our members to use their gifts, and to send persons into meaningful learning and service experiences elsewhere (1 Peter 4:10).

Extend: Because our church has been blessed with a strong pool of leaders and with a culture of generosity, we want to think about ways of sharing our message and our vision in other places. This kind of multiplication may involve additional campuses, church plants, or online/broadcast ministry (Romans 15:17-21).

We have already begun to live into this vision through the hiring of a Connections Coordinator, employing two college students who sense a call to ministry, and reconsidering our denominational home.

Our leaders have considered around 20 additional applications for RISE25 over the course of the next 4-5 years and have carefully prioritized among them. This prioritization – the intersection of importance and urgency – has prompted them to place these three initiatives first on the agenda:

  • Continue to emphasize service experiences and embodied gospel living by exploring the addition of a full-time Director of Missions to coordinate 3 or more annual service projects, to cultivate strong relationships with supported partners, empower members to greater use of their spiritual gifts, and develop a portfolio of opportunities for our church to impact Siouxland.
  • Refresh and revise our Mission Statement for the next decade, including re-thinking our marketing methods, naming our unique congregational culture, and reflecting on how our name “First Reformed Church” might be understood in light of denominational changes.
  • Begin processes to appraise our sanctuary and online environments by consulting with field experts on the functionality and feel of our worship space and by continuing to elevate our ability to broadcast online (including Sunday services, mid-week curricula, and cross-congregational learnings).

At the same time, we will remain attentive to other goals; these include contracted mental health services, Gratitude Breakfasts for civic servants, and multisite ministry.

We acknowledge – in fact, we celebrate – that RISE25 is always being refined and improved.

Why is that? Why leave our vision statement “in process”? Why is RISE25 a Google Doc and not a PDF?

It is because the Word of God is living and active and because the Holy Spirit is neither static nor inert. Convinced of this, we relish the opportunity to discover new and additional ways of living out our church’s vision in the coming days.