How do you succinctly explain 312 responses to a survey which took a half an hour to complete? First by saying “Thanks!” The high participation allowed us to get a good feel for who and where we are as a congregation. Both women and our older members participated more strongly than their counterparts, but overall our room for error in the results was only 5% either way. Thank you for letting us hear you – and through you hear some of what the Lord is telling us.
Some things were absolutely no surprise to us. With God’s blessing, we are uniquely intergenerational statistically. Every decade is represented well, and only children, teens and those 60-69 edge slightly ahead of the other age brackets. This bodes well for our future but also challenges us to be relevant to a very broad range of generations. Most people get here because they are invited in some way, and that has helped put us in a growing mode.
The “main thing” really is the main thing here. Most people strongly affirm our grace-based, gospel-oriented, biblical values and are attracted to them. The overall experience of our Sunday mornings by our people is extremely high. But other ministries also rank high in the eyes of our people, including women’s ministry, children’s and youth ministries, and home groups. We value outreach and want to continue to move forward there locally and globally. We also like our staff and officers. This is a significant blessing of God as staff changes have played a major role in our last five years together with a couple retirements and younger staff moving in.
As we looked at areas that need more work, the Session realized that we have some organizational and structural issues that could use some work. Bringing clarity to the decision-making process for staff and elders will help us streamline business and enable us to put more energy into effectively shepherding our people. This may help us as we seek to be more intentional in discipling new believers and growing them and others into leadership. Some expressed a desire to grow in sharing their faith boldly with others. A number of people also expressed a desire for us to provide opportunities for growing deeper relationships. We also recognize that our mortgage is a drag on our ministry.
Because there are many things to consider, and because we value an experienced and objective voice in our decision making, we unanimously invited John Purcell to walk with us through our strategic planning process this year. In addition, Anthony requested, with our enthusiastic support, that John coach Anthony through this period.
Our spring retreat on April 27-28 will be the next meeting in this process, though the work continues between now and then. Soon, you will be hearing more about the survey and results. Thank you again for helping us hear where the Lord may be calling us. Please continue to pray. We desperately need each other to walk through this process well.