Tuesday, January 22, 2013

February Newsletter

Where are we going? Where should we focus? What should we be working on? What is the top priority?

Do you ever find yourself asking (or being asked) those sorts of questions? They are ones I think we need to ask more often. And out of the answers we can (hopefully) set some goals.

Goals are important for individuals, for couples, for families, and for organizations. One of the things I talk about with couples in pre-marriage discussions is setting goals, because without a goal or a set of goals it is too easy to fall into patterns, or even a rut. Without goals we tend to just keep on keeping on, and while that can be comfortable it can also be dull or even dangerous.

The same thing goes for congregations. Unless we stop and ask ourselves the sorts of questions at the top of this column we very easily fall into a routine. We start to only do things “they way they have always been done”. And while that can be very comforting to those who like “the way things have always been done” it can easily lead us into a state of entropy, and soon into a state of decline. If we want to grow (however you choose to define or measure growth) we need to avoid falling into a sense that the routine is working as well as it once did.

With that in mind, as a part of our regular “Visioning” time during Council meetings I asked/encouraged/told the Council we needed to have some goals for our life and work together as a congregation. Out of our discussions we came up with three broad areas or themes, each of which will have a multitude of sub-goals and/or tasks as they get lived out. These three areas are:
  • Building Community internally
  • Building visibility and community externally
  • Provide an environment of support for our Ministry and staff (this one came from the M&P Committee, my personal note would be to add “Continue to” at the beginning)
To be totally open, honest, and fair we are already doing these things. But in our visioning discussions we noticed a pattern which suggested that we need to do them (particularly the first two) better and more intentionally if we want to grow as a faith community.

So now here comes the big piece. How will we do these things? Council did some brainstorming at our January meeting and the ideas they came up with will be listed in Council minutes. And it is my hope that we will have some discussion about them at the Annual meeting on February 24th. But what do you think? How can we build community within the congregation? What are some ways we can make ourselves more visible/known in the community at large (by the way there are regular times when we have to explain to long-time residents of Grande Prairie where St. Paul's is located)? How does the congregation currently support Carla, Alison and myself? How will you continue to do that?

I look forward to hearing your ideas. Even more I look forward to people seizing the bull by the horns and putting their ideas into practice. Let's see what happens shall we?

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