At its last meeting, the church council identified three “Mission Priorities” for St. Paul’s next year. These priorities (discussed below) have given shape to the 2013 budget proposal that will be discussed at the annual meeting on December 9th. An intentional focusing on building relationships, both new and old, underlies all three priorities. Through building relationships, we not only grow as faithful followers of Christ, but take part in building the kingdom of God a little closer to home.
Faithful in Worship
Since worship occupies a central place in our identity as a community of faith, council leaders discussed ways to encourage regular worship attendance among members, extending personal invitations to those without a church home, and building relationships with those who come to worship on Sunday morning.
Part of this includes continuing to make opportunities to serve in worship (as Assisting Minister, Reader, etc) more available and for those who regularly fill these roles to intentionally invite others to step into these roles. And this includes an emphasis on making worship more accessible to families by finding creative ways for children to actively participate in worship and providing more options for parents, like nursery care.
We will also proclaim God’s love through the Art of the Passion. Last year, the exhibit reached over 350 people, many of whom do not regularly attend church. In 2013, we hope to find ways to improve and expand the exhibit, so that the good news may be extended even further into the world.
Growing as Stewards
The second priority is that our members and regular attenders continue to grow as stewards of the gifts that God has given them. Our past stewardship campaigns and cottage meetings have laid a great foundation for understanding our role as stewards of God’s gifts. The particular ways our mission is lived out is shaped by the individual gifts of the people who recognize how God has blessed them and are eager (even if sometimes reluctant) to share it with the world. Throughout the year, we will be using the wholeness wheel to identify and encourage each other to grow as stewards of God’s gifts.
This process will begin early in the year, with an exciting chance for everyone to get involved through a congregational listening campaign. A handful of people will be trained in the art of one-to-one conversations and then will schedule times to interview other members in a mutual discovery of passions & gifts.
Continued Mission Discernment
The third priority identified is that St. Paul’s continues the process of mission discernment. In the past, churches have engaged in this kind of visioning once in a blue moon – and more often than not, it involved some kind of building campaign. However, mission is a ongoing process of discernment.
Building upon the discernment done in 2010, we’ll continue working with the Indiana-Kentucky Synod’s Latino Strategy Board and implementing the partnership objectives to discover ways that we can overcome cultural boundaries in our community and become a community that truly shares God’s love with all people.
A big part of discernment is listening. So once our congregational listening campaign is completed, we’ll turn it outwards, inviting more members to be trained and listening to those in the community who are not participants at St. Paul’s. All of this will come together at our Triennial Mission Discernment Retreat, where participants at St. Paul’s will have the opportunity to select and award a grant to a local agency with whom we would like to work together to make God’s love known in our community.
Through focusing time and resources on these priorities, St. Paul’s will continue to grow as vital ministry in our community. There is much to be excited about in the coming year and a lot of ways to be involved. No matter how young or old, near or far, quiet or boisterous you may be, there is a place for you. There will be a chance to discuss these priorities and share your ideas at the congregational meeting and weeks following.
In the meantime, keep watching announcements in church or on Facebook; talk about it with others and ask a lot of questions; share it with God in prayer; think about what part you a most interested or gifted for – and together we’ll continue to share and proclaim the love of God, while growing in faith as followers of Christ.
The 2012-2013 Congregational Meeting will be held on Sunday, December 9th following worship.