Thursday, January 26, 2017

February Newsletter

Last year at the Annual Congregational Meeting you approved new Vision and Mission Statements. Just to refresh your memory, this is what they say:
Our Mission
Through Faith, we walk on the path Jesus set for us.
The people of St. Paul’s Belong… Believe… Listen… Love… Lead.
Our Vision
Celebrating the gifts of the spirit we are a loving and supportive congregation in service to the Church, the Community, and the World through Faith.

The theory goes that once you have Vision and Mission Statements they then guide everything that the organization does, that everything we do is to live them out. With that in mind, at our January meeting I asked Council to think about 2 questions. One was to name 3 things that are already being done in the life and ministry of St. Paul’s that show our commitment to our vision and mission. I am sure you will be happy (and hopefully not surprised) to know that Council had no problem answering that question – in fact they felt overly limited by only naming 3 (and did name 5 or 6 before being brought back on task).

How would you answer the question? What are the top things we do as a congregation that show us living out the words in the statements above?

The next question I asked them was looking forward. This exercise was actually part 2 of the exercise we had done at our November meeting, when I asked what we might do if we were suddenly gifted with $2 million (a previous newsletter asked that question). This month I asked Council to name 3 things that we could commit to doing in 2017 to further live out our vision and mission, suggesting that some of the “holes” we had identified in November’s discussion might help create ideas (ones that did not require the fictional money).

Your Council likes to dream. Once again limiting to 3 ideas was a challenge. There were lots of ideas about what we “could” do. In the end our ideas were more exploratory than concrete, ready-to-do tomorrow actions. But here is what we came up with:
- Explore ways we can partner with agencies that work with the homeless, for a more regular offering of a meal in our space – such as the one Memphis Blues hosted here, perhaps getting other restaurants on board to provide the food.
- Explore / ask the question of the men … on whether we need more opportunities, gatherings for men of the congregation to interact, meet and have fellowship.
- Explore / ask the question of the youth/ youth leaders: What more can we do or offer in terms of opportunities so they know youth are welcomed, applauded and appreciated for their involvement in services (doing powerpoint, leading services, serving at communion, etc) and in all aspects of the life of the church family?
- Continue to look for and foster opportunities for small group engagement such as the Sunday “Lunch Bunch”

Which of those suggestions excites you? What would you add to the list?

I like all of these ideas, we just need to get people who are excited and will help them grow legs. Given the chance, I might add finding some more ways of being present in/reaching out to the wider community. And I still have a dream of offering monthly alternative worship (or maybe we start with quarterly and build from there?).

I encourage us to be bold. I encourage us to take risks. Somethings we might try and they will not work. Some things we might explore and find enthusiasm or interest lacking. But unless we step out in faith we will never know what is possible.

What will we do this year to expand how we live out our vision and mission? Where will the path of discipleship, of following Jesus, of sharing in God’s work of Kingdom-building lead us this year?

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