Did you feel it, too?
Several weeks ago, Ministry Architects presented a report of their findings from a series of “listening sessions” conducted in May. Those sessions were intended to give Ministry Architects, as the consultants we have engaged to assist us in charting a course into the next phase of growth for St. John’s, a window into who we are and where we want to go as a congregation. If you haven’t yet had an opportunity to review the Ministry Architects report, I encourage you to download it here. As I listened to their findings and recommendations, my thought process went something like this:
Wow, what an exciting time for St. John’s!
This is a really good report – Ministry Architects captured us well, and their proposal will be extremely helpful!
How in the world are we going to pull this off?!?
I will confess to a little bit of hyperbole in that last remark, but it is true that the scope of work and timeline presented by Ministry Architects are detailed and quite ambitious. And so, like me, you may be wondering how this process will unfold over the next 18 months?
Over the next two to three weeks, your Vestry will assemble a team of committed, patient and visionary parishioners who will serve on a “Strategic Design Team.” To use the language of Ministry Architects, the Strategic Design Team is the body that will serve as the “General Contractor” responsible for oversight of the implementation process. This group will serve for a term of about two years, setting goals in motion and keeping us on track to achieve the necessary improvements to the systems and infrastructure of St. John’s, with periodic reports to Mo. Sarah and the Vestry. But that is only the start.
One of the first tasks of the Strategic Design Team will be to assemble a second group, a “Vision Team,” which will have a very important role in organizing a church-wide “Vision Summit” later this year to clarify and share our vision and values. The Vision Team is intended to be a standing committee, even after we “complete” the recommendations outlined by Ministry Architects, allowing St. John’s to continue to set and shape future vision and goals. That’s one of the things that excites me most about this engagement – we’re not just making changes in the short term. Instead, we’re building a new infrastructure that will serve us in the future. As much as St. John’s has changed over the past few years, it’s safe to say that trend will continue in the years to come. Having a standing Vision Team will allow us to develop, grow and respond to the changes that lie ahead.
And finally, with the assistance of Ministry Architects, we will begin to assemble and support a robust infrastructure of empowered, passionate volunteers to nurture, lead and grow the ministries that we hold so dear. We already have a framework in place for this effort – a group designated as the Ministry Roundtable. The long-term goal is to empower individual program and ministry leaders to feel confident in following their passions and interests for various ministries, and to unleash their creativity in ways that help St. John’s to spread God’s love even further into our community.
To again borrow the language of Ministry Architects, St. John’s is currently a “transitional church.” We have a lot of love, commitment and spiritual strength in our parish, but we are still operating as a smaller “pastoral church” that relies heavily on the guidance and leadership of our Rector and staff. Despite our recent growth in numbers and outreach, we are not quite established enough to achieve the status of a larger “program church.” Following the recommendations laid out by Ministry Architects will help us to access that untapped potential within St. John’s, relieving some of the strain and overload currently felt by our staff and clergy, and helping us to achieve our true potential as a community church.
It’s difficult to imagine taking on such a tremendous task just as we emerge from the pandemic lockdown. We’re all tired, overwhelmed and trying to catch our breath. And hyperbole aside, I concede it’s a big commitment that will require a lot of work. However, it’s something that I personally feel is critically important for St. John’s, and I think that the timing is perfect. Ministry Architects is a proven partner who will guide us through the process, and the Vestry and staff are committed to success in this effort. I look forward to the transformation to come.
If any of this speaks to you – in terms of service on one of the committees I’ve named, or your desire to support these efforts in other ways – please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or Mo. Sarah.