Four years ago our church entered into a partnership with the Healthy Church Initiative of the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Since that time we have been doing a self-study: we have conducted interviews with community leaders, canvassed 43 homes in our immediate neighborhood, completed an assessment of the past 20 years of our churches history related to growth, staffing patterns, giving & budgeting trends, attendance trends, programming patterns, and pastoral leadership. The conference has sent visitors to our church to experience our facilities, how welcoming we are both as a congregation and as a visitor friendly site. An assessment of their experience has been written. An analysis of the areas growth and projected growth have been completed. A demographic report has been completed assessing the make-up of those who live here and who are moving to our area. A team of 6 consultants have been assembled and they have been studying the results of all of these reports. And now, on the weekend of Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1, this consulting team will be on our site, conducting interviews with our staff, our leadership, and 20 at random members of our congregation to assess where we are as a church. An online survey has been completed by 60 of our members related to how they see our church in ministry to the community and the world. During the weekend the consultants will also meet with our Administrative Council to assess their take on our church and its effectiveness in ministry. They will conduct an interview with me, as well, as to my feel for where we are as a church in relationship to effectiveness in ministry. And finally, on Sunday, May 1, the lead consultant will preach at all of our worship services. The services will be followed by a town hall meeting where the team will share their findings as they prescribe 5 prescriptions which they feel, if followed, will make our church much more effective in ministry. Following that meeting we will hold three more town hall meetings to inform all of our congregation what the prescriptions are and give everyone their opportunity to ask for questions of clarification. In the final town hall meeting we will meet to approve or deny the 5 prescriptions suggested by the team. We must accept all 5 or none at all. We cannot pick and choose just a few. It is an all or nothing vote. If we accept the 5 prescriptions, we will then have the assistance and help of the HCI team for the next 18 months as we move forward to put into play the prescriptions into our life together as a community of faith.
Our consulting team who will lead us through this process is comprised of: Gary Lindley, Executive Director of the Center for Evangelism-lead consultant, Jeff Smith-Pastor at Wellspring UMC in Georgetown, church coach, Martha Darwin-lay consultant, Gail Hartin-lay consultant, Kevin Walters-Director of the Center for Leadership-lay consultant, Todd Pick-Director of Evangelism and Operations.
Join me in praying for this team as they come to be among us and as they discern where God is leading them in the assessment process. Many of you will be involved directly in the work I have described above for the weekend. Many of you will not. However, all of us have been invited through the survey and through the town hall process to be involved in sensing God’s direction for our church. Each of us will have to make our own decisions as to how involved we will become as this process unfolds both in the assessment and in the implementation. What is at stake is the future ministry of God’s work in and through the ministry of this church.
I am blessed to be your pastor. Our church has made great progress related to God’s will among us in our past year and four months together. I am proud of all that God has done and is doing among us. My prayer is that we will continue to be faithful with where God is seeking to lead us next. God’s way: Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!!!
I will see you on the road,
I John 3:1