1 Please note - prior to September, 2014, Austin Oaks Church was known as First Evangelical Free Church (FEFC). This vision was adopted under that name. As of the September, 2014, FEFC is doing business as Austin Oaks Church.
2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: "It may seem marvelous to the remnant of this people at that time, but will it seem marvelous to me?" declares the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 8:6
3 TABLE OF CONTENTS OVERVIEW 3 PURPOSE 8 MISSION 10 CORE VALUES 12 ONE VOICE 15 MACRO VISION 17
4 Overview For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:36
5 OVERVIEW No one can know for certain what the year 2020 will look like or the specifics of what God has in store for First Evangelical Free Church. However, beginning in the Spring of 2010 with a dedicated season of prayer, and relying on God s Spirit to prod us, prompt us and press us forward, we now have our eyes focused on We understand that consensus does not create clear vision, but the right vision does create consensus. Through a collaborative process of vision casting and thought collecting among our church leaders and congregation, we believe this plan reflects what God desires for us to accomplish for the next 10 years. OUR CHURCH Our reliance on prayer and the Holy Spirit helps us maintain a Christian perspective as we use available data to help us in our efforts to glorify God. A 2010 congregational survey reveals much about who we are as a church body. On average, those who worship at FEFC live more than five miles from the church. Our congregation reflects 20 percent ethnic diversity. Compared to most evangelical protestant churches, FEFC attracts more men. Men account for 47 percent of our congregation, compared to a norm of 43 percent. FEFC s average age for its adult population is 45 years old. Our congregation is very well educated, averaging 16 years of formal education. Both the age and education levels contribute to a high average family income of $105,600, compared to the $75,374 average household income for families who reside within a five-mile radius of our church. The wealth of our congregation is matched by our generosity, in terms of our financial support overall to non-profits. However, as a congregation, we give less to our church than we give to other organizations, when compared with congregational giving patterns of other evangelical protestant churches. Our size and multi-generational population allows us to express our passions in a wide variety of ministry areas. When asked, What specific expression has God put on your heart to engage your life in the cause of Christ? the large majority of respondents identified with family ministry and healthy marriages. Our second largest area of passion is social issues, followed by global and local missions. OUR CITY An external survey of the five-mile radius surrounding our church gives us a better picture of our local community. Nearly 227,000 persons reside in the target area. It is one of the fastest growing areas of Austin, and the trend projects an increase of nearly nine percent by The population is extremely diverse in terms of lifestyle, and is one-third Hispanic/Latino. Austin is younger than most American cities, with a median age of 30. The average age of the adult population in the target radius is 36 years old. Slightly more than 43 percent of those older than 25 in the area are college graduates. Their concerns, which are likely to exceed the national average include: 1) Achieving a fulfilling marriage, 2) Divorce, 3) Parenting skills, and 4) Caring for aging parents, among others. Overall, their likely faith involvement level and preference for historic Christian religious affiliations is somewhat high when compared to national averages. OUR STRENGTHS A self-assessment of our church helped us articulate our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, especially against the backdrop of understanding both the internal and external data. Key differentiating strengths include our strong pastoral leadership, excellent biblical preaching, superb facilities and our different worship styles. Our congregation s high percentage of men, our high education level and work experience, and our representation beyond the five-mile radius of our church campus all indicate that FEFC is a great resource for leadership and external influence. Our financial base is very strong, and our size is significant. If everyone contributes, and contributes regularly, our opportunities for ministry and influence could be huge.
6 OUR WEAKNESSES However, our weakness in adult evangelism and our expressed desire for and demonstration of spiritual growth counters our strengths. Overall, we do not practice spiritual disciplines with frequency, and our Community Groups and lay leadership are too weak for our size. We need to increase our attraction toward younger families, improve our leadership training and grow in our numbers daily. Our size is a strength, but we need to be nimble and relational so people do not get lost. Also, we do not practice faithful proactive financial stewardship, which limits our potential ministry impact. However, we respond generously when asked. OUR OPPORTUNITIES The opportunities are many. A large number of young families in our immediate area are unchurched, and our attraction and assimilation of a younger population will add energy. Our geographic representation through our Community Groups gives us opportunities to decentralize our ministry and expand our local outreach. Fewer churches in Austin are offering a traditional style worship service, opening the door for us to be more attractional. Our Hispanic Ministry gives us leverage to expand our outreach to the growing Spanish-speaking population in our area. Our Special Needs Ministry creates an opportunity to be more attractional to children and families. And, the lack of a clear pathway for making disciples gives us the opportunity to develop a great one, and to become a model disciple-making church. OUR THREATS Many of our threats can become our greatest opportunities or strengths, if we are honest to acknowledge them and quick to address them. Our Hispanic Ministry is under-resourced, and our aging congregation perpetuates the age and financial mismatch to our surrounding geographic area. The diversity of the population that surrounds us complicates our ability to appeal to so many people groups. Our current structure does not facilitate disciple making, and an executive pastor is necessary to direct our staff and church operations in order for the senior pastor to focus on spiritual leadership. The commute distance to church for many attendees is long so we must create ways for them to stay connected to the purpose of the church and its people, beyond just attending Sunday worship. There can be barriers to developing the plan and barriers to carrying it out. We want to expose both, and then build into the plan approaches to overcoming the barriers. We recognize spiritual warfare as a constant barrier and so prayer must be constant throughout our planning process to help us understand God s will in how we review the plan, talk about it, approve it and begin living it. We do not want our preferences or selfishness to keep us from seeing the future God already knows. We also do not want fear to prevent us from taking risks and living faithfully in dependence upon God. OUR PURPOSE Our purpose is biblical. It embraces the Great Commission. The statement reflects divine authorization from God, submissive responsibility to Him and proper motivation for our actions. The changes applied to our current statement provide greater clarity as we look to the future. Above all, we exist to glorify God. The amplification of our current statement acknowledges the Triune God and clearly differentiates Christian disciples from any other kind. We are and we make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our purpose also recognizes the Holy Spirit as the source for the transformation of God s people and the power by which we live and glorify Him.
7 OUR MISSION Our mission remains the same: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This takes place through building a holy and caring community committed to making loving disciples who are conformed to the image of Christ, and who are empowered by His Spirit to: Exalt God in Spirit and Truth both privately and publicly Encourage one another in committed community through fellowship and prayer Edify one another toward maturity through intentional disciple making Equip one another through the transforming power of God s Word expressed in acts of service and ministry, and Evangelize and proclaim the good news to all the world employing local acts of mercy and strategic global missions OUR ONE VOICE Our purpose unites us, but as a diverse congregation, we require parameters that give us broad freedom to explore and pursue our purpose, but that also provide us limits so that we operate and convey our unity in both word and deed. We sometimes call this our DNA. Four factors shape the one voice of FEFC: Purpose This is our purpose statement Principles This is captured in our core values Pathway This is our Discipleship Pathway, and Passion This is our culture of loving God and loving others. If everyone associated with FEFC understands and operates within these parameters, then over time we will convey a consistent, clear FEFC voice. This is how we will hold each other accountable, and this is how we will differentiate ourselves from others. OUR MACO VISION The Macro Vision is a description of the general method we will pursue and the resulting rate of growth as we focus on fulfilling our purpose over the next 10 years. This document captures in broad terms the opportunities we should focus on for fulfilling our purpose and growing God s Kingdom, and then reflects certain steps we should take each year, and the results we can expect in terms of congregational growth. OUR MICRO VISIONS The Micro Vision documents are narratives of the future, specifically the year 2015 as it could look if we follow the guidelines of the Macro Vision. The Micro Vision narratives transport the reader into the future and portray the life of our church as if it were today. These documents provide specifics for clarity so that when we arrive to 2015 we can see if our view of the future was accurate, if we follow our plan. References to percentage of growth and numbers of people are realistic, based on our plan and reflected in the Implications Chart, which show what our programs, staff and facilities will be each year as we accomplish our purpose, pursue our vision and develop our structure. However, we understand that the percentages and numbers do not dictate us. They only provide an indication of what the future could look like, if it is God s will and we are obedient to Him. We know that God can do far greater things than we can ever think or imagine. OUR STRUCTURE Based on our commitment to our purpose and the application of our Macro Vision, we require a structure that supports the direction we want to take. This new structure conveys how we become a congregation of smaller communities, and how our pastoral staff will align to our various communities. The diagram also depicts the type of smaller communities and the nature of Community Groups as an instrumental element in our Discipleship Pathway. The structure, like our entire plan, is forward-looking and we expect it to take shape over time.
8 OUR GOALS Goals are necessary to clarify our expectations and achieve our future state as captured in each Micro Vision document. The goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and have a timeline. They will help the staff and congregation be accountable to our plan. They take into account the reality of today and capture the progressive steps we must take for the next five years, as we focus on SUMMARY A successful master plan requires metrics and measures to help us determine if we are on course or need to make changes or adjustments. We do not make presumptions about the numbers we articulate in the plan and the goals we state that may seem ambitious. We understand and believe that apart from Christ, man can do nothing. It is not the intention of our church or its leaders to obligate God to fulfill our plans. Our desire is to honor God, carefully and prayerfully observe where He is working, and to join Him in it. This plan projects growth and expansion over the course of 10 years, based on the growth trends of Austin and what we know about reaching non-believers for Christ and developing mature disciples. However, we are completely dependent on the Holy Spirit for our growth and direction and we are committed to prayerfully responding to whatever He does in and through our church.
9 Purpose and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:11
10 PURPOSE We exist to glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ, transformed and empowered by His Spirit, who live to transform their world. Our purpose is biblical. It embraces the Great Commission. The statement reflects divine authorization from God, submissive responsibility to Him and proper motivation for our actions. The changes applied to our current statement provide greater clarity as we look to the future. Above all, we exist to glorify God. The amplification of our current statement acknowledges the Triune God and clearly differentiates Christian disciples from any other kind. We are and we make disciples of Jesus Christ. Our purpose also recognizes the Holy Spirit as the source for the transformation of God s people and the power by which we live and glorify Him. Our purpose statement implies an understanding of the term, disciple. At FEFC, we define a disciple as a fully-devoted follower of Jesus Christ; one who knows Him, walks with Him, and is sent by Him into the world.
11 Mission I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. Psalm 86:12
12 FEFC MISSION STATEMENT The mission of FEFC is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. This takes place through building a holy and caring community committed to making loving disciples who are conformed to the image of Christ, and who are empowered by His Spirit to: Exalt God in Spirit and Truth both privately and publicly Encourage one another in committed community through fellowship and prayer Edify one another toward maturity through intentional disciple making Equip one another through the transforming power of God s Word expressed in acts of service and ministry, and Evangelize and proclaim the good news to all the world employing local acts of mercy and strategic global missions
13 Core Values " before you were born I set you apart." Jeremiah 1:5
14 CORE VALUES Also Known as Guiding Principles 1. God Exalting & People Pursuing We exist to glorify God and find our complete joy and fulfillment in Him. This is our highest calling and we pursue others to join us in it. In all things we believe Soli Deo Gloria To God Alone Be the Glory. We also recognize that God s glory is most highly honored through His redemption of His saints and their safe delivery to live with Him forever. In our FEFC culture, we give God all the glory for everything accomplished in our midst. (John 17:1-5; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; John 3:16; 1 Cor. 10:31) 2. Bible Focused & Spirit Dependent We want God s written Word the Bible-- which reveals Himself, His purposes, and His desires for all His creation to be central to all we think, believe and do. However, it is only through the power of God s Holy Spirit that the words come alive, indwell and empower us to live fully the life God intends for us. The life Christians live is only possible through prayerful dependence upon the presence and power of God s Spirit. (Ps. 19:1011; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Rom. 8:13-14; Cal. 5:16-26) 3. Gospel Centered & Grace Oriented We affirm the Gospel to be the power of God for everyone who believes in the finished work of the perfect God man, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through His sacrifice that men can be justified, sanctified, and glorified. Therefore, we live, share, and proclaim the gospel every way we can outside the walls of the church and through every event, program, or gathering of FEFC, always speaking the truth in love. As a Gospel centered culture, we reject all forms of legalism and empty religion to enjoy an atmosphere of kindness and grace. (Rom. 1:1-17; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Eph. 1:3-14; Eph. 2:4-10) 4. Historically Appreciative & Culturally Relevant We recognize the Godly heritage and resources we have been given by those saints who came before us and we appropriately honor them as a gift from God. We consider them in all of our plans moving forward, and we also desire to make choices that will continually make us relevant to reaching those in our culture without sacrifices to our Biblical values. (Prov. 17:6; 2; Tim. 1:3-5; 1 Cor. 9:19-23) 5. Entrepreneurial Spirit of Adventure with Willingness to Take Risks by the Spirit We welcome creativity and new ideas in the adventure of ministry, and we are not afraid to make mistakes. We want to dream big dreams and be all God wants us to be as a local Church for His glory. We do not want fear, routine, familiarity, or static habits to immobilize us, but rather we want to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and open to new ways, methods, and tactics that rely on God to work through us. (Heb. 11; Eph. 3:20-12; Josh. 14) 6. Inwardly Caring & Outwardly Engaged We desire to be a holy, caring, and life-giving community committed to making disciples in which everyone senses they belong. We also want to have open eyes that see the helpless, hopeless sheep without a shepherd in the world we live in including the least, the lost, and the most. We therefore want to be a church of missional community where everyone individually and corporately owns the Great Commission and Great Commandment in every part of their world. (1 Pet. 4:8-10; 1 John 4:7-10; Phil. 2:14-15; 1 Pet. 2:9-12)
15 7. Disciple Maker Multiplying & Not Just Making Disciples We affirm that true success in a local church comes from enjoying God, loving Him, and loving others. One of the most important ways to love Him is by cooperating with Him in multiplying disciple makers not just producing disciples as an imperative for the continuation of the progress of Christ s kingdom on earth. We are committed to helping all fully devoted followers of Christ know how to reproduce themselves in others who will in turn do the same with the next generation of believers. (2 Tim. 2:2; John 17:20; John 1:40-42) 8. Staff Equipped & Laity Empowered We think it is important to equip our staff so it can adequately equip and empower the saints for the work of the Church. We want God to use all members of the body according to their respective callings and spiritual gifts, so that the entire FEFC family can reach maturity. Every member is a minister, and God will accomplish His purposes as each one does his part. The primary role of staff is not to do but to train others through being examples as life giving disciple makers who invest in the lives of others who will do the same. (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12:11-13; 1 Thess. 4:1-2; Eph. 1:15-19) 9. Movement Supportive & Kingdom Minded We recognize our unique role and responsibility in the international EFCA movement, and we will do all we can to be supportive. But we also choose to align with, join, and support with our time, talents, and resources other gospel-centered movements that share our values, are life giving, and exist to transform individuals and institutions among all people everywhere. (Phil. 2:2-8; 2 Cor. 8:2-4; Rev. 7:9-10; Matt. 24:14) 10. Always Learning & Measuring What Matters We acknowledge that being a disciple maker means being accountable as a life-long learner and fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. Therefore in all we do, we seek to be teachable, humble, open to change, willing to listen, desirous to grow and mature, and even to hear correction in order to continually progress in our knowledge, love and desire for Christ. With this in mind, we will do our best to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of what really matters in every area of our personal lives and the life of FEFC. Phil 3:10-14; 1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:9-10; 1 Tim. 4:15) 11. Excellence Seeking for the Glory of God We desire to give our best gifts, offerings, efforts, and attitudes for Him who is worthy above all. We seek whatsoever things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. We always have a heart to excel even more. 2 Sam. 24:24; Prov. 3:9; 2 Cor. 8:7; Phil. 4:8)
16 One Voice May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6
17 ONE VOICE Purpose Passion FEFC s ONE VOICE Principles Pathway Our purpose unites us, but as a diverse congregation, we require parameters that give us broad freedom to explore and pursue our purpose, but that also provide us limits so that we operate and convey our unity in both word and deed. We sometimes call this our DNA. The one voice of FEFC is shaped by four factors: Purpose This is our purpose statement Principles This is captured in our core values Pathway This is our Discipleship Pathway, and Passion This is our culture of loving God and loving others. If everyone associated with FEFC understands and operates within these parameters, then over time we will convey a consistent, clear FEFC voice. This is how we will hold each other accountable, and this is how we will differentiate ourselves from others.
18 Macro Vision In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
19 MACRO VISION We want God to use us to carry the truth and hope of the gospel given to us by Jesus Christ to all people. We see the future for FEFC as vibrant; a multigenerational, multi-ethnic, and multi-dimensional model disciple-making church of small communities united in a single purpose and identified by one voice. To accomplish this, we will increase our focus on: o Building a culture and an emphasis on congregational and personal prayer o Attracting and engaging singles and young families, recognizing these groups as the fastest-growing segment of southwest Austin o Building ministries and programs that connect to Spanishspeaking people and our immediate neighbors o Developing dynamic local and global mission sending programs, and o Expanding remote ministries through church plants and partnerships. Following are the key elements we commit ourselves to accomplish over the next 10 years, relying on the Holy Spirit for guidance and affirmation. Our hope is that in 2020, God is glorified above all for what He accomplishes through His people at FEFC because of our dependence upon Him.
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