Where to from here? A letter from Pastor Laura

Dear Church,

As promised, here are some of the “too technical to include in a sermon” details of what to expect the next few weeks as we learn about our vision. As was mentioned at the vision day, this is a short term vision; it will guide us for the next couple of years in setting measurable goals but is not a permanent fixture that will last till Jesus returns. In a couple years, we’ll re-vision and discern how God is calling us from the place we are then. In early October, the Leadership Team will have a retreat to set strategic goals based on our vision. After that, we are providing training to ministry team leaders to help them lead our ministry teams in setting team-based, ministry specific goals that will facilitate their work moving us towards our vision. So, if you are on a ministry team and wondering “am I supposed to be doing something?” the answer is “not yet, but in about a month you will.” We should expect to learn a lot about ourselves during this process of setting goals around a vision and also to make missteps. I like describing ministry as a series of experiments because it allows us room to learn from unexpected results. I also think it encourages curiosity and wonder about how God is at work!

The actual vision statement itself is derived from the work that was accomplished on our vision day by all those who participated. It has been my work the last few weeks to pray over that work and whittle those many thoughts into a single statement. My process, apart from asking God for guidance, has been to look for the ideas/words that are common between statements and put them into the context of our gifts and passions and the needs of our community. I know that we are a group of people who love finding just the right way to express what we mean…and so I’ve tried to go for simplicity in wording. There are some very big ideas in these statements and I hope that by focusing on a couple of root practices we’ll be challenged to engage our prayerful imaginations to inhabit this vision. You won’t see the complete statement until the end of this sermon series, but the big ideas are what you’re hearing from the pulpit. As a spoiler for this Sunday, the theme is “radical hospitality.” This past Sunday I preached on “practice.” 

As a reminder, the whole reason for doing any of this is about the practice of accountability. Our Wesleyan heritage is rooted in accountability. While small groups are great for practicing accountability on an individual level, organizations also need structures of accountability. These structures help us stay faithful to God’s call on us and ensure we’re being who we say we are and doing what we say we do. Our structure is the “simplified accountable structure” that changes how the required administrative committees of the church are comprised and function. To properly implement this structure, we need to have a clear vision and goals that we are working towards intentionally. It has been a several years long process of us getting to the goal setting stage of this, beginning way back in August 2019. This has been a big project and we’re getting to the practical, ministry-focused part now!

If you have questions about any of this, please feel free to reach out to me and we can make a time to talk. I will also be at Hendershots for the next few Wednesdays beginning at 5pm and leaving around 7 if you want to drop by. The Leadership Team has also created a form for you to provide reflections after the vision day. This is both reflection on that day and an invitation into imagination. The link is here.

See you Sunday morning!

Pastor Laura