The church aspires to be welcoming and affirming of all people; to be intentional in missions to the physical and spiritual needs of all people; and to be examples of and witnesses to the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Historically, WFBC has specifically endorsed policies of racial and sexual-orientation diversity in its membership, and it aspires to a membership that is ethnically, culturally, and educationally diverse. There is a wide range of ages and occupations in the membership. Many non-member friends of the church are also active in contributing their time, talents, and money.
Finances and Facilities:
The church has an investment portfolio that earns dividends; and the church is debt free. Like all churches, its challenge is to raise its annual budget through pledges, offerings, and gifts. It meets on the campus of Wake Forest University in Wait Chapel, which seats over 2000. The church is provided nursery space, children’s classrooms and youth rooms; adult Sunday School classes meet in university classrooms. The church does not incur costs for building maintenance.
In 2013 the church gave over $16,000 for budgeted global, national, and local mission work—including 9 local charities and organizations that serve persons in need. An additional $6,400 bequest was fully spent for assistance to children in need. Donations to the Hunger Fund (food, personal care items, and cash) have grown steadily and impressively in the past year and a half. These donations are collected each first Sunday of the month during the Lord’s Supper, at the Table. Individual members have organized, and worked time for many local medical, social, and justice projects. Members have also advocated for social justice in a variety of public demonstrations. (See the summary in the history page).
Adult classes have had varied emphases, including: biblical studies; studies on the historical Jesus; an ongoing study of the Quran, Islam, Judaism, and Middle Eastern conflicts; an LGBT spirituality group; a transgender support group; studies of grief; and studies on respectful communication with persons of different sexual orientation. Classes for children are focused on lectionary texts, and the church takes a leadership role in a children’s interfaith study program in the summer, collaborating with Temple Emanuel and the Community Mosque. There is also a strong special needs class, reflecting a long standing commitment of the church.
Board of Deacons and Committees:
The board of deacons meets monthly to consider the church’s spiritual and programmatic needs and to make appropriate recommendations to the church. Active committees of the church include personnel, finance, missions, outreach and student ministry, senior adult ministry, family support, education, and music and worship. Actions by these groups require approval by the congregation. Under the leadership of the deacons, the church has increasingly perceived itself as congregation-directed–not pastor-directed, deacon-directed, or committee-directed.
Under the leadership of the former pastor for preaching and worship, Sunday services included significant innovations in a variety of artistic media such as painting, dance, multicultural and multilingual music, international services, and extensive expressions of hospitality during the worship service. In the current interim, some of these innovations are less common than before, but all of them are welcomed in collaboration with the worship leadership on given Sundays.
The church has a sense of unity and openness to diverse points of view, as expressed not only in worship and education programs but also in hospitality receptions following worship, weekly and monthly evening meals, monthly men’s and women’s fellowship, etc. Prior to the formation of the pastoral search committee, the church held a series of frank discussions about its future. It was well attended, with full and open dialogue: members have increasingly seen themselves as personally responsible for the future well-being of the church.
Notwithstanding its commitment to inclusiveness, members are self-consciously still learning how to be fully respectful and considerate of all people. New students, faculty, and community residents require renewed efforts at outreach. Ongoing economic, technological, political, and social changes in the community and world present new demands for the church’s prophetic and healing ministry. Growth—in membership, worship, missions, education, and finances—is a continuing goal.