Since my first days at Highlands Church, I have felt hopeful about our community. Back in 2010, I was a drummer playing in the band once a month. This September, I will have been a Co-Pastor here for 9 years. And today, I have at least 3 compelling reasons to feel hopeful about our future.

#1 I feel hopeful about the future of Highlands Church because we now have a solid Strategic Plan to guide us. We’ve been working on the plan for 3 years, taking our time to discover where God is leading us. As a Co-Pastor and our Founding Pastor, Mark Tidd spoke into our plan with his whole heart. I’m grateful that his voice is one of the key voices shaping our Strategic Plan. And Mark will be with us (working part-time while enjoying semi-retirement) to help us stay flexible and prayerful as we move into the future.

If Mark’s semi-retirement is new news to you, watch him share all about it here. And if you’ve not seen our StratPlan, check it out here.

#2 I feel hopeful about the future because we continue to be committed not only to our own health and growth, but also to the health and growth of our partner organizations. For example, Global Livingston Institute works in Uganda and Rwanda where we’ve made a 5-year commitment to serve alongside African nationals and their visions for their communities. Say a prayer for our team in Africa.

#3 Most importantly, I feel hopeful because of our people. People like Erin. Erin identifies as “never quite fitting into binary systems.” Erin appreciates nuance and the space in between. For Erin, gender identity is just one expression of important nuances. Erin wants to be called they/them/their because “they” doesn’t want to feel forced to erase important parts of “their” life. Erin identifies as non-binary and Erin is a genuine, humble student of Christ. Erin has been patient and grace-giving with me as I’ve asked awkward questions and made lots of pronoun-mistakes. I thank God for Erin’s presence in our community!

Staying open and being more inclusive is part of our future calling. Erin helps me see the future more clearly.

Together with Erin and you and Jesus,

Pastor Jenny

PS. If you feel hopeful too, let me know. I’d love to hear why you feel hopeful about the future of Highlands Church. Post your thoughts on social media or send me an email.