September is a very busy and exciting month for us at church for a number of reasons. One reason is that we will be having our annual celebration of ministry on September 13th. This is a day to kick off our Sunday School year and celebrate all the various ministries and small groups our church offers. A second reason is because we will be collecting our annual World Mission Offering for our international missionaries. A third reason is because we will be celebrating Pastor Criswell’s ministry to older adults, having received word of his retirement from the position after 17 years. But the reason I want to highlight today is that our church’s long-range planning team will be asking for your input regarding the future direction of our congregation’s ministries.
This team is tasked with listening to ideas and suggestions for the church’s ministry, sharing them with church ministerial staff, and then helping shape a plan of ministry that reflects the congregation’s vision, as well as mine. The planning team is composed of three at-large members of the church and four additional members representing each of the church’s boards. The plan will chart the church’s ministries for 2016-18. It will involve measurable goals for ministry and church vitality. It will help us keep focused on ministries that reflect the congregation’s values. Each following year the church leadership will evaluate the progress we have made towards those goals.
We all have a stake in the congregation’s future. We’ve all made a considerable investment in this congregation. That’s why it’s important to attend one of the three listening sessions with the team. They will be Tuesday, Sept. 15th, at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 20th, after worship; and Thursday, Sept. 24th, at 6:30 p.m. All listening sessions will be at the church. The actual long-range planning will take place in October, and we expect to present a long-range plan to the congregation in early November.
I’m excited about the opportunity to think about ministry in a strategic and forward-facing manner. I’m hopeful that with God’s leading and the input of our congregation, we will be able to chart a path towards continued health and growth.