Vision Process Summary

Join us on Thursday evening, August 3rd at 7:00 PM if you have and questions or thoughts about this ongoing process and our future together. You can join by Zoom here.

MARCH 11- MAY 1, 2023

Our church contracted with United Church of Christ and initiated a process to identify the future mission priorities of our church. Four sessions were held with members of the congregation, either in person or via ZOOM, to gather information, analyze the information, understand the information in the context of our geographic location and local population, and to outline the process of formulating a Strategic Plan for the future.
Session 1 (March 11)- Information Gathering

Attendees were asked to respond to 10 questions relating to the vision for the church for the next 1-5 years. The questions covered topics regarding programs or mission of the church; should they be enhanced, added to, or discontinued. Other questions focused on how ministry might be strengthened and expanded, the facility and resources needed to accomplish that, and how to use those resources. The perceived needs in the community, as well as what the attendees felt God was calling them to do were identified.

Session 2 (April 1)– Information Analysis
All responses from the previous session (Information Gathering) were distributed to attendees. Through   small group work, responses were placed into five ministry areas/mission priorities. They are listed below with the top responses in each mission priority included:

Mission Priority #1: Justice Ministries (total votes)
Another thing we do well and can amplify is our Peace and justice work. (17)
Part of our DNA as FCCLW is the O&A, we need to keep and enhance it. (16)
Provide encouragement and connection with the LGBTQ... community as an Open and
Affirming Church. PRIDE FEST ACTIVITIES. (16)
Continue and enhance PEACE involvement. Provide money for congregants to be
trained in PEACE. Possibly provide a chance for people to go to Ecumenical Advocacy
Days & Ecumenical and Interfaith Lobbying Days  (13)

Mission Priorities #2: Mercy Ministries (total votes)
Community Dinner, including toiletries, clothing, food pantry, haircuts, shower
facilities, laundry facilities (13)  
Tuesday night dinners (7)
Continue Gleaning, helping CROS food pantry, school supply collections, Salvation
Army Angels or something similar, interfaith group activities, Mindfulness group for
youth. (10)
Involvement with CROS (7)

Mission Priorities #3: Education (total votes)
Book discussion groups (13)
Adult education classes (12)
Provide presentations for neighborhood and surrounding community. Topic
suggestions: Public Safety, senior issues, racial justice issues/concerns, health
concerns, climate control issues, political issues, farm worker/migrant help and issues. (9)

Mission Priority #4: Congregational Care (total votes)
Strengthen and expand the youth program (7)
Monthly Potluck Supper (7)
The new pastoral care committee should be encouraged to be active in
supporting Jason. (5)
Have more personal contact/ visitation with all members, especially home bound and
hospitalized (5)
Church Member Directory (including a relative or ICE contact) (5)

Mission Priority #5: Spiritual Nurture & Development (total votes)
Restart the choir. Pay for more frequent guest performers. (12)
Continue the short, weekly book/Bible study groups. (10)
Continue the mini clips that Pastor Jason is putting on Facebook, newsletters, etc. to
bring interest in our church and God during the week. (7)

Session 3 (April 22)– Understanding Context
A community analysis tool called MissionInsite was used to describe the geographic area and population near the church in which 82% of the members reside. Using this analysis tool, reports were generated about household groups and lifestyle types in the targeted geographic area.

Breakout groups spent time reviewing three sample household groups from the reports within the church’s geographic area. Aspects of age, marital status, family structure, income, race/ethnicity, level of education, types of employment, religious beliefs and preferences, community involvement, and social activities were used to create profiles of the community’s population. The characteristics of these three sample household groups or profiles were discussed within the breakout group time in relation to the same characteristics as perceived by the church members involved in the session.

Characteristics of the household groups in the reports relate to actions such as communication and religious preferences, areas of personal interest, general moral values, cultural expectations, as well as inclinations for volunteer activities. The session introduced how the reports can be used to create an approach to community outreach as it relates to the Mission Priorities.

Session 4 (May 1)– Strategic Planning
A Strategic Planning Team consisting of Jason Fairbanks, Vicki Grimes, Alyn Hansen, Janet Lisle, Ginny Somerville and Nelson Stone was created and attended this session, as well as other interested members of the congregation. Suggestions and recommendation for next steps were given. The Team was informed that a complete copy of the full report, lists of resources used, and additional information not shared during the sessions would be sent to the church for dissemination. Upon receiving the complete report the Team was asked to review all information and create a summary for the congregation, in order to keep everyone informed. Further review of church responses, the demographic analysis, and the community needs should be done by the Team with involvement of the congregation along the way. Also, the possibility of including additional priorities could be considered as more information is gathered and as the entire volume of information is reviewed.

It was stressed that understanding the community demographics and defining the community is important in identifying the church’s needs and priorities. Interviewing and assessing individuals and businesses in the community could add further insight in relation to skills, gifts, talents, programs or available resources.

In developing the church’s Strategic Plan, specific goals with measurable results and a timeline should be developed for each Mission Priority. The Team was urged to “think outside the box” as it develops the plan and to continue involving the congregation as it identifies and establishes future ministries and programming, utilizing both physical and spiritual resources.

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