During the second through fourth Sundays of October, our church will be starting an exciting new sermon series called, "Our Church's 'Why.'"
Every organization needs a 'why.' When it's lacking, the organization will experience a loss of engagement and a lack of overall clarity of direction.
Rev. Jeffry Bross, District Superintendent of the Aurora District, tells the story of what happened when his children's local PTA board lost it's mission. When he first joined the PTA as a board member, an energetic board chair helped the team remain focused on why their work was vital to the school, children, and families. Membership on the board was highly sought after among the parents, and the fruit borne by the board's efforts was respectable and consistent. Then, a new chair took over the PTA who didn't have a focus on mission. The board's activities began to feel mundane to the board's members, and attendance at meetings began to drop.
Rev. Bross' conclusion from this experience was that we live in an age today where people have so many organizations vying for their attention and/or engagement that if an organization lacks mission, then people will drift elsewhere in search of it. Mission is the magnetism that keeps drawing people back leading toward increased engagement and passion to accomplish the organization's vital work.
Since late summer, North Shore UMC's Church Council has been engaged in the first stage of a new strategic planning process. The end goal of this process will be to provide the congregation with a one-page summary of our church's mission, a one-paragraph vision statement of where we want to see ourselves in 5 years, the values that define our church, and one-to-three organization-wide goals for the next year. Church Council hopes to present this document to the congregation during the first half of 2021.
The good news is that the first step of the strategic planning process is done: the creating of our church's mission statement! Here it is:
"To know God and experience a place of belonging centered on the teachings of Christ through revitalizing worship, transformative relationships, impactful outreach, and spiritual formation."
This mission statement has two parts: the first emboldened part is the actual mission statement; the second non-emboldened part highlights the "strategic pillars" which our church will leverage in order to realize our mission. In time, we hope that the entire congregation can memorize at least the emboldened part of this statement, if not the whole thing.
This October's sermon series will provide us as a congregation with the space to reflect on the Scriptures which undergird this mission statement, and how our church has and is going to continue living into this mission statement in the years to come!
There's an old saying, "Don't let a good crisis go to waste." I believe that one of the 'redeeming graces' of this pandemic is that it has caused our church to take a step back and clarify the overall direction of our organization. This statement may feel like just one sentence on a piece of paper, but if we as a whole church truly internalize this mission statement in our hearts, then it is my belief that the Spirit will move in ways none of us can fully anticipate to bring forth more fruit and blessings through our vital-and-loving congregation. God's peace to you all this day.
Grace & peace,
Pastor Scott S. Himel