By Donnell Woodson
The FCS gathering room starts to fill up, signaling one of my favorite times of the year. Leaders from nonprofits all over the country join us in South Atlanta to share with one another and learn about the postures and strategies behind our neighborhood ministry.
At Open House, guests have the opportunity to hear from our incredible team and learn about the 40 years of principles and practices that shape our work. They also tour our South Atlanta neighborhood, where we’ve been present and working for the last seventeen years, and ask questions to each of the diverse department leaders of FCS. It’s a behind-the-scenes look into proven and productive ways we’re partnering with the materially poor to create thriving neighborhoods.
Last month, at our spring Open House, we met people from as far away as Texas and as nearby as the Atlanta suburbs, all who traveled and joined with us to learn and grow. Each organization brings their unique stories, challenges, and opportunities, and a special part of Open House is the opportunity for participants to learn from each other and the diverse organizations they represent.
Many practitioners can relate to common experiences. “Our church has grown so quickly,” one church leader shared, “and it’s been hard to keep up with the surrounding communities that we had originally intended to be missional in.” This is a familiar experience to many. We often meet leaders whose organizations have grown too quickly, want to become more missional, or just feel out of touch with the community where they are planted.
As guests departed on Tuesday afternoon, I overheard the chatter of invigorated new ideas. We hope to see our Open House participants return to their communities with a fresh outlook and perspective, and meanwhile, we’ll continue to pray for our new friends across the country.
Open House is always a time of learning and reflection for both us at the Lupton Center and for the participants. If you haven’t gotten a chance to visit our Open House yet, our next dates are July 16th and 17th.