February, 2014...

It's been a while since we talked and I just felt like I needed to express a heart-felt "thank you" to NCS for what you have done and are doing.  Twelve years ago I was part of a NCU in Bloomington, Illinois and was introduced to ReFocus.  Because our D.S. (CH) was committed to building healthy churches we bought in lock, stock, and barrel to the idea that existing churches could move from maintenance mode to a new beginning. 

At Ottawa we fully engaged the ReFocus process and the result was the growth of a church from a little over 200 to over 1,000.  Over my 13 year tenure at OFC we refocused every 3 years or so and God blessed it in an amazing way.  Our last year at OFC we documented 175 new converts to Christ who were placed in some form of discipleship process.  God is truly good.  Since my departure they have continued to grow through the amazing leadership of Kevin Donaho. 

Now, Lindy and I are at Chicago First.  I just completed my 20th church board meeting and it has been an adventure to say the least.  Early on I asked Larry Mckain to coach us in the process.  In November of 2012 (I came in July), the church board voted to ReFocus.  We spent the early months leading up to November talking about what a Refocus was and what it might mean to the church.  We brought Larry in for a weekend to meet with staff, board, and to speak to the church.  In June, July, and August of 2013 the ReFocus Team met for 3 hours or more every Wednesday night.  They were amazing.  By November of 2013 they presented a major model shift and ReFocus plan to the church board called; "Clarify, Simplify, Multiply." 

The board voted unanimously to accept it.  Now, since January we have been hosting members of the congregation in ReFocus Weekends where we spend 6 hours (3 Friday evening and 3 Saturday morning) sharing the vision for the model shift coming on the second weekend of September, 2014.  The congregation is excited and we are blessed.

There's a ton more to this story, but I felt like I needed to remind the NCS team that what you're doing makes a difference.  What we're doing today is a direct reflection of the principles I learned 12 years ago.  As C1 moves toward the Fall, we are setting our hearts on reaching the 49,392 who live within a 6 mile radius of our building who marked "none" on the last census.  And, we're committed to reclaiming our post in the City of Chicago by planting in the most difficult neighborhoods in the city.  We've already planted in the Austin neighborhood. 

Anyway, be blessed and be sure that what you're doing makes a difference!

Rev. Brian Wangler
Chicago 1st Nazarene