At the March Ad Council meeting, four Initiatives were approved which will shape the focus and direction for our church over the next three to five years. These Initiatives were developed from the input received at the All Church Visioning retreat held last July and each Initiative is in alignment with at least one part of the Vision Statement the church adopted last November.
The first Initiative is to: Develop and implement a third worship service, with appeal to the 18 to 35 age group and others in the congregation and outside.
We currently offer two outstanding worship services on Sunday morning, which have a good base of appeal to folks who enjoy a more traditional worship experience. Our challenge is that this style of worship seems quite foreign to folks unaccustomed to attending a church. An additional worship experience with a more contemporary feel, at a time more conducive to a younger age demographic, will offer one more opportunity to reach people who are not yet a part of this congregation.
The second Initiative is to: Expand the number of Caring Growth Groups so that 50% of the congregation is involved in an ongoing small group study within the next five years.
One element that is common to all growing congregations is an active small group program. Small group studies help develop deeper relationships with God and one another, and provide an easy entry point for those who are new to a congregation. In addition, they offer the opportunity for participants to invite friends and acquaintances to something that may be a little less intimidating than church.
Initiative number three calls for us to: Expand the Christian Education program to support each worship experience with a specific emphasis on the mature adults, children, and the 18 – 35 age group.
Providing a Christian Education program for children and youth at each worship service can offer the added benefit of increasing adult participation in worship. Currently many of our parents who teach Sunday School at 9:25 choose not to attend worship at 11:00 because there is nothing for their children. Additionally, most of the young families who first visit at the 11:00 service do not return because there is no Christian Education for their children during that service. Offering a Sunday morning Adult Education class has been an expressed desire for some time. In addition to Worship, small groups geared to young adults will help in attracting and retaining these folks.
The fourth Initiative challenges us to: Expand congregation participation in Community Outreach programs so that in five years 50% of the congregation is involved in some form of on-going ministry.
Our mission calls us to be involved in helping to Change the World. This happens as we participate in ministry beyond the walls of the church, that meets a need in our community or world. It may be a hands-on ministry like Lunch in the Park, or it might be a ministry that addresses the root cause such as KentHOPE. Our desire is encourage people to become involved in a ministry, and to help support those things they are passionate about so that they can help make a positive impact in our community and world.
These four Initiatives represent a lot to take on as a congregation. The Ad Council is in the process of identifying leaders for shepherding each of the Initiatives. These shepherds will gather a team and begin to determine the necessary steps to accomplish each initiative. Undoubtedly there will be budgetary impacts for some of these Initiatives, but the teams will work with the Ad Council to negotiate the process for underwriting any potential costs.
I appreciate all the work that has been done by the Vision 20/20 Team and the Ad Council to bring us to this point, and I am excited about the path that lies ahead. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in working on any of the Initiatives to contact me so that we can make sure you get connected with the Initiative Shepherds once they are identified.