Are We There Yet? What's Next

Sep 20, 2022

We’re back with Part 2 of our Are We There Yet? series where Founding Pastors Jeff and Beth along with Interim Lead Pastors Eric and Alexa shared a message filled with details about what’s to come for VFC as we look ahead to the future. 

In What’s Next?, we reflected on the last 30 years at Valley Family Church and discovered more about the new, fresh vision as we step into the next 30+ years. We explored the repositioning of roles and the natural progression of releasing responsibility and authority to the next generation. 

Psalm 145:4 (NKJV) One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.

Looking back to last week, we received the big announcement that Pastors Eric and Alexa Jones will be filling the roles of Lead Pastors in January of 2023. This week, we’re looking ahead and discovering what the Holy Spirit is announcing for our church! 

John 16:13 (NKJV) However, when He, the Spirit of Truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come

Today we’re taking a quick glance back to recap last week’s big announcement and then we’re looking ahead to what the Holy Spirit is announcing. Here’s a summary of what we covered in Part 1 of the Are We There Yet? series: 

  • September 22, 1991: Valley Family Church was Birthed

In response to the Lord, His Word, and His call on Pastors Jeff and Beth, they planted Valley Family Church with the help of 5 adults and 4 kids, and a vision to raise up a family church, (as well as their own family), to impact Southwest Michigan and beyond with the gospel of Jesus. 

Reaching the lost and teaching believers to live in victory through the word of faith has been the heartbeat of the Jones’ family and VFC for the past 30 years. 

Be sure to check out this quick clip recapping the past 30 years; it’s sure to touch your heart!

  • Summer 2020

VFC approached her 30th year and the Lord spoke to Pastors Jeff and Beth about succession and preparing a transition plan for Valley Family Church. Our pastors began to meet with their children, the VFC Board, the Executive Team and key advisors to seek the Lord’s wisdom and His plan for the future of VFC. 

  • September 11, 2022: A Repositioning 

We made the official announcement aht Pastors Eric and Alexa Jones will be the successors to lead VFC into the future in these two phases: 

(1) Interim Lead Pastors: Sept 11, 2022 to Jan 29, 2023 

(2) Lead Pastors: Jan 29, 2023 and Beyond 

Eric and Alexa Jones: Interim Lead Pastors 

- Leading Vision 

- Leading Staff + Volunteers 

- Leading Congregation 

Preaching/Teaching Regularly 

Jeff and Beth Jones: Founding Pastors

-Leading Eric and Alexa

- Leading VFC Board and Big Vision Development

- Leading the Basics with Beth

- Preaching/Teaching Strategically (Locally, Virtually, Globally)

Now, in Part 2 of the series, we’re looking ahead to the future with 5 key instructions from the Holy Spirit. 

1. Lace Up and Look Up! 

This isn’t the finish line; it’s the starting line because the previous ceiling is the new floor. 

As a church, we are so privileged to be building the next 30+ years on such a healthy foundation! Now, we truly believe that it’s about names, not numbers, here at VFC. God’s not interested in crowds, he prioritizes individuals.  That being said, these numbers we’re sharing highlight the strong, healthy, God-centered foundation we have to build upon in the future of Valley Family Church. Check this out…

  • We now have over 500 people serving on our volunteer VCrew team
  • We now have more than 430 people in our church actively involved in VGroups (our small groups)
  • Just last Sunday (September 11, 2022), we had 18 new families visit VFC for the first time
  • On that same day, there were 281 preschoolers, JV, and high school students who came to church 
  • Of those nearly 300 students, 9 committed their lives to Jesus that day

God is doing some really exciting things in our church! And the best is yet to come; He has so much more than we can possibly imagine in our future. Pastor Alexa Jones shares a beautiful metaphor in What’s Next? that perfectly paints the picture of how we will change the method as we move into the next 30+ years, but we’ll never change the message

What was once the ceiling of Valley Family Church, is now the floor. God always takes us from glory to glory. Praise the Lord! 

2. Get Your Honor Game On! 

Honor one another and stay unified for the future. Honor the past and our faith foundation. 

Honor the Past and Your Faith Foundation:

1 Timothy 5:17 (GW) Give double honor to spiritual leaders who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching God’s word. 

In our current worldly culture, honor is so rarely prioritized that it is practically non-existent. As followers of Christ, we know and understand the importance of honor, especially as we transition into new roles, new seasons, and new growth. 

Let’s be sure that even in the midst of transition through the remainder of the Exchange Zone that we continue to intentionally honor our spiritual leaders who have pioneered God’s work in our church. Let’s honor the people in our church and our community who may talk, walk, look, and act differently than we do–the people who are above us and beneath us and everywhere in between. 

In the wise words of Pastor Kevin Gerald, let’s “honor up, honor down, honor all around.” Honor is going to be the thing that protects us and keeps us safe; we will never be a church that looks back on the past with a sense of arrogance or entitlement. We will recognize the sacrifices and efforts taken to bring our church to where it is today. 

About midway through What’s Next?, Pastor Eric Jones shares a verse from Joshua chapter 3 that highlights the vital importance of honor and gives us a beautiful example of exactly how to do it. When we remember what God has done in the past, it brings us courage and strength and sets the precedent for all that He will do in the future. Amen! 

Honor One Another and Stay Unified for the Future: 

Psalm 133:1,3 (NKJV) Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!...for the Lord commanded the blessing–life forevermore.

Since the very beginning of Valley Family Church over 30 years ago, Pastors Jeff and Beth have been praying Romans 15:6 over our church: With one mind and one mouth we glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

The desire of our Founding Pastors has always been to build our church on the principle of unity. We’re in this together! And we always have been. Now, during the final leg of the Exchange Zone, we’re not just observing the change; we’re part of the change. We have our eyes on the Lord and our eyes on each other, looking out for one another and honoring God in doing so. 

3. Get Ready to Enlarge Your World! 

There’s going to be more new people than you people. 

We’re talking about relationships! Plain and simple, we need one another. In the church, we’re here to meet new people…especially the new people. Let’s enlarge our social-relational circles and enjoy one another as God intended for us to do!

New people attending and joining the congregation is a reflection of a healthy church. We have amazing opportunities ahead of us to enlarge our world, expand our circle, nurture new relationships, pour into other people’s lives and allow them to be a part of our own, too. It’s going to be a wonderful adventure! 

Colossians 3:12-15 (NLT) 12Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Church should feel like home. Fellow believers should feel like family. This type of deep, honest relationship does not happen by accident! It takes commitment to being implanted in the house. It takes reaching out to people, joining a small group, being a part of the service team. It takes action! Let’s bring our gifts and our portion and commit to being a part of something real here at VFC! 

It’s time to reach out to our community and receive our community within our church family, too. Having deep roots planted in good soil makes church feel like home. Amen!

4. Gear Up for “The Team, The Team, The Team”! 

This is an opportunity to use our gifts and jump in.

“No man or woman is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The team, the team, the team.” 

Bo Schembechler, University of Michigan Head Coach 1969-1989

We are a church. We are a family. We are a community. We are a team! Specifically, we are a rescue team whose mission is to take the gospel message of Jesus to the world around us. That is who we are. We have a mission; we are created on purpose with a purpose. 

Yes, our church is in a season of transition within the Exchange Zone, but we are all part of that transition. We each have a part to play, a role, a purpose within this season. It’s time to make a shift and start using our gifts, our anointing, our callings, our purposes, and be an active, key part in what God is doing at Valley Family Church. We all need to jump in and be a vital part of the mission at large! The team, the team, the team. 

1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT) All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 

We are all one body. We are each a part of it. Each and every single part of the body of Christ matters. No one part is more important than the other, because each part works together as a team. Take away one single piece, and the whole operation falls apart! We all work together to glorify God.

Let’s prayerfully consider how God wants us each as individuals to be a part of this team and explore the ways in which we can use our spiritual gifts to serve our church, our family, and our community. Amen!  

5. Enjoy the Next 30+ Years!

Serve the Lord with gladness. 

30 years goes quick; let’s enjoy the journey! This principle is even one of the core values of Valley Family Church: life is short; church should be fun! Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness more than anyone else. The Jesus we follow is glad and full of joy. It’s His joy that becomes our strength as we go forward. Amen! 

Psalm 100:1-3 (NKJV) 1Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! 2Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. 3Know that the Lord, He is God;

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

In this next verse, replace “Jerusalem”  and “good city” with our church. There has always been joy and laughter between the generations at VFC and we have every intention of that continuing well beyond the next 30 years as well! 

Zechariah 8:4-5 A Message from God-of the-Angel-Armies: Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes–a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing–a good city to grow up in.

30 years from now, it’s likely that we won’t be living in the same house or driving the same car. There’s a decent chance we won’t even be in the same career! We can, however, still be part of the same church 30 years from now. Let’s dig deep roots and build a meaningful life in relationships, doing what God’s called us to do in His church. Amen!


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