In the United Methodist Church, the clergy are appointed by the Bishop of our annual conference to serve each year on a July 1st-to-end-of-June period basis.
At the start of each appointment year, our congregation's clergy review with Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) progress made toward goals pursued during the prior appointment year, and also establish with the SPRC new goals for the current appointment year. After new goals are established, these are soon after shared with the Church Council, which offers further insight regarding clergy goals and how they intersect with congregation's broader mission, vision, and congregation-wide goals.
Pastor Scott and Deacon Barb have finished sharing their goals with both SPRC and Church Council. They would now like to share their goals and short descriptions of each with the broader congregation so that all know where they are trying to utilize their baptismal gifts to further the vital and life-changing work of our congregation!
Pastor Scott's Goals
Goal #1: Create a strategic plan for the church in collaboration with Church Council.
Summary: A strategic plan will allow our congregation as a whole to begin planning our future direction more intentionally, and thus avoid us falling into the inevitable trap of only focusing on the most immediate problem in front of our noses. Additionally, a strategic plan will help all of us better grasp the significance of what we are doing each day as a church spread across our full breadth of ministries. My goal is that, by the end of the year, to share the first iteration of the church's strategic plan with the whole congregation. Please look forward to more updates about this later in the year.
Goal #2: Increase the church’s online presence via implementing a multi-cam live-streaming setup, a redesigned website, and a greater presence on social media.
Summary: For the past two years, our church has steadily been improving its online presence; however, I'd like to dedicate my time in the year ahead to further realizing this vision. During the pandemic, the church's leadership was surprised to learn that our recorded worship services were reaching literally 2,000-3,000 people a week located within a 25-mile radius of the church. Additionally, about 20% of those views (~500-700 people/week) are watching our worship services from start-to-finish. In order to raise the production value of our online worship services, a generous donor has agreed to purchase for the church a multi-cam streaming setup that is very affordable due to new technology that has just come onto the market. When people watch our videos, about 10% of them are then going to our website to learn more about us. Thus, our need for a more refined website and overall social media strategy. When all of these elements come together, it's going to increase the chances that someone who encounters us online will decide to visit us in person.
Goal #3: Create a new approach to raising awareness with donors about the church’s inspiring mission/future direction and budgetary needs in order to fulfill this mission/vision via one-on-ones, a sermon series this stewardship season, and other publication materials.
Summary: Tying into the church's strategic plan currently being developed by Church Council and the clergy, I plan to share details of this strategic plan during this fall's stewardship campaign with the church, thus helping our congregation recognize the greater significance of how their giving is glorifying God and impacting people's lives in very practical ways. As was shared during our mid-year budget update this past June, our church is facing a modest deficit this fiscal year, and a larger one projected for next year; thus, the extra degree of focus that's needed on my part to ensure this fall's stewardship campaign is taken to a different level of quality and emphasis. A successful stewardship strategy and campaign this year will ensure that our church is financially healthy and resourced for vital ministry for years to come.
Goal #4: Create a new approach to adult education/spiritual formation using 15-minute videos and social media engagement.
Summary: Back in April at the start of the pandemic, Deacon Barb released two 15-minute teaching videos about the Lenten season which reached a significant number of people via the church's email list and social media. This has inspired me to begin preparing to release my own 15-minute "spiritual formation / biblical reflection videos," probably on a Wednesday evening, for the church to watch anytime. I think that this will increase the reach of such content beyond the typical 4-6 week church class. This isn't meant to replace small groups/classes, but become a supplemental part of the church's spiritual formation strategy. There may also be the possibility of releasing social media written posts that offer further guidance to our audience on prayer, mediation, engaging with Scripture, and greater awareness of social issues we should have on our hearts.
Goal #5 (Personal): Learn to play piano, eventually enabling me to play in church on multiple occasions.
Summary: For many years, I've dreamed of becoming a proficient piano player. I primarily play saxophone and a bit of guitar, but piano has always been a draw for me. Throughout the pandemic, I've had more time in the evenings to focus on personal projects here-and-there like many of us. Consequently, I've been dedicating part of my free time to learning piano and am really enjoying the experience! My goal is to play for the church in the relatively near future after I gain a bit more experience and confidence.
Deacon Barbara's Goals
In the coming year, shepherding the exciting and inspirational work of the Outreach Committee, begun in early 2020. Helping to expand, strengthen and nurture the efforts of the congregation in service to our community, our country and our world is central to my ministry as a Deacon.
In my work with Christian Education for Children and Youth at NSUMC, I am continuing to expand ways to strengthen relationships with our youth as they discover ways to be in fellowship. I will explore and enhance the opportunities for our youth to develop a deeper spirituality through participation in worship, service to others and establishing bonds with the NSUMC Family.
The Confirmation process has been a source of inspiration and creative possibility. In preparation for the next Confirmation class, I will be expanding and developing the NSUMC program that reflects our progressive Christian theology. I will be working on a publication that will help other congregations with a resource that can be uniquely responsive to the needs of their youth.
Developing a Spiritual Retreat for Adults in the Lenten Season will build upon the work of spiritual development that has been central to my work with seminarians for over a decade.
I will continue to build upon my research in anti-semitism and offer ways to share my work in various contexts. I will be working on a research proposal for the Religious Education Association this fall.