First Retreat Complete
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)
Last Saturday, 55 church members from our committees and general membership gathered to consider what God would have us do in the coming year. It was my first churchwide retreat as your pastor. I am very encouraged by the enthusiasm and creativity of the participants as we established several goals and priorities for the coming year.
Claire Bowen, our facilitator, guided us in a reflection on the changes in the past year in our congregation. We specifically addressed examples of welcome and unwelcome changes. As we talked around the tables, we saw how the stages of grief apply to us when change happens. When the status quo is changed, we have a “date with disillusionment”. Our responses vary from being in frozen denial, angry, bargaining, depression, testing, and finally acceptance. Sometimes we are thrown back into another stage of grief, but we are always moving toward healing. Confession to God and being with each other in a church community are our first steps to healing.
We also spent time looking at our present state and future state of ministries.
We celebrated the present state of children and youth ministries, volunteer involvement, a friendly worship environment, and increases in membership and new visitors. Present challenges such as financial losses, gaps in music ministry, future direction of the denomination, and a few remaining holes in adult ministry were listed as well. We encouraged the current staff members, who are poised to have great ministries in the coming year.
Our final task was to “Focus on our Future”, and the Holy Spirit didn’t disappoint. Our participants came up with dozens of ideas. Through a fun voting exercise, we narrowed our priorities in the coming months. Certainly, we will maintain and grow the excellent ministries we currently support. However, some new opportunities rose to the top of the list. They include:
- Improving our senior adult ministries
- Completing an inventory of our church members needs
- Reaching families with children with topics that impact them
- Increasing and streamlining communication channels
- Increasing the traditional service attendance
Now the work begins.
Our staff and volunteers will develop plans to achieve these goals in the coming months. Be watching for announcements that chart our progress this coming year. As opportunities arise, consider jumping on board to help. Fortunately, there are several ideas that are already in progress, like streamlining our communication channels. Please pray for the church as we begin this exciting year of ministry together!