Monday, May 5, 2008


For the past several months our church has been spending a lot of time in prayer and discussion as we've sought to be more intentional in strategic planning - both to clarify the vision and to focus efforts on our next steps in pursuing the vision. The urgency of this stems from two significant transitions we're facing. The long-term transition is that of shifting the mindset from a pastor-does-the-ministry small church to a pastor-equips-for-ministry growing church. Through our senior pastor's leadership over the past eight years we have broken out of the big 100-150 attendance barrier and have shifted away from the comfort of a place where you know everybody. But we've not yet reached the point where we have a well-trained experienced staff equipping dozens of volunteer leaders for ministry, nor are we likely to see fully see that mindset for volunteer ministry before we break through the next growth barrier of 500 or so. The second important transition is short-term, with Pastor Chuck planning to take a long-overdue sabbatical next year.

Pastor Chuck has pulled together a Strategic Leadership Team, both to start a more formal planning process and to form an advisory group and sounding board that will help in some aspects that would be covered by the staff in a larger church. The process we've been following has been to start with our mission and values, clarify our vision, and put together a 'vision path' of priorities or major goals to focus on over the next two years. One book that has been helpful in doing this has been "Leading Congregational Change - A practical guide for the transformational journey," by Jim Herrington, Mike Bonem, and James Furr. The book covers several important areas including preparation of the heart, a cohert planning sequence for change, as well as essential attitudes for leaders shepherding the change. Fortunately, we're starting from a fairly strong and unified position, looking to establish focus and elevate the vision, rather than navigate a turnaround or overcome great internal resistance.

During this process I've learned a lot about myself, my co-laborers in Christ, and have grown in awe and wonder of God and the love He has for all people. I'm very excited about our growing emphasis on helping people better connect to God and to each other in relationships, growing in Christ-likeness, developing faithful leaders with a heart to serve others, towards a goal of becoming better equipped to share God's love with those in our community who don't yet know Him. I'll be sharing more about our vision and vision path in upcoming posts.

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