What comes to mind as you see the word “refresh”? Maybe it brings up a vision of sitting in a coffee house…without an open laptop. Do you see yourself hiking in the woods? Perhaps “refresh” allows you to consider second chances….a time to clear the slate in a relationship or within  yourself. Maybe an opportunity to build healthy habits.

“Refresh” has an aspect of hope associated with it. That is what I feel as I think about The One Roof as we move into 2017.

Newly granted with our non-profit status and a Board of Directors now in place, we are poised to have our most productive year yet. I feel as if this ministry has been refreshed to pursue the next plateau of our journey. God has been faithful and I absolutely sense that the best is yet to come.

The One Roof has an ambitious vision which I am firmly committed to, but that can only be realized after a strong foundation has been laid. 2017 will be the year of that intentional and durable foundation-building.

There are three aspects of the ministry that need to be “iron clad” before we concertedly pursue the broader goals that I believe that the Lord wants us eventually to attain. Those are a fully developed curriculum and sustainable protocol to train and equip churches; the establishment of a strong, working Board and resource raising, both financial and people.

The training and equipping of churches will always be our foremost priority…. we are a “Sunday ministry” first. Coming alongside churches to confidently and successfully open their doors to children and adults living with disabilities and their families is why this ministry started. To offer the hope of Christ and a welcome within a supportive community of faith is our bedrock mission. It is through this door that I see potential for true, organic change within our congregations to rethink what it means to be a valuable human being….in God’s eyes, our own eyes and in the eyes of the communities which lie outside of our church walls.

Our training protocol has been drafted and refined over this past year as we have visited churches around our area. We have a  foundation per our protocol going into this new year better than ever before and are ready for a steady increase in interest from and engagement with our Tampa Bay churches.

The establishment of a robust Board of Directors was essential this year for The One Roof. The demands of forging a new and novel ministry/business on many fronts was outstripping my personal capacity. I could no longer properly keep up with my necessary and ever growing administrative responsibilities as well as be intimately involved in the development of innovative programming. To my small and dedicated team, my inability to keep up was a log jam to them and work was stymied.

The Board, that the Lord has afforded The One Roof, is rich with people who are gifted in administration, project management, event planning, disability ministry and more. The intellectual and “hands on” capital that this team provides will make for smarter and more effective execution of our mission and vision. This is a working Board that I am proud of (and grateful for!).

Effective Boards are ministries within themselves. There is management involved, legal obligations, financial matters, and tasks that are devised and executed. An excellent non-profit cannot exist without an excellent Board. This new entity needs skilled tending to and there is much to be learned about that. This coming year will see investment into research and developing the strongest Board possible.  The One Roof website features who is part of this committed team (click here).

No body/entity can survive without a “life blood”. For non-profits, that life blood is the invaluable and necessary resources of people and funding. The Board is currently reviewing and discussing practical and sustainable resource raising and development protocols. If The One Roof is to be best prepared now and ready for its future, this piece of our foundation is critical.

I have been asked many times about the residential vision that The One Roof has. That vision remains and until the Lord says otherwise, I am committed to it. That vision is huge and we have other ambitious goals in mind, as well. I have no doubt that God can deliver on all that we have on our heart, but He does ask us that we use this faith in combination with earthly wisdom and practicalities.

The One Roof has come far over the past three years and we are at a watershed moment. We see what is on the horizon and are readying for that, both in seeking the Lord’s continual guidance and in being practically prepared. The three objectives that we have for 2017 is the pouring of the concrete for the fantastic house that is to be built on top. Let’s start pouring!!

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25