Monday, August 12, 2019

Focus Area Update - St. John: A Mission Church?

Imagine God has called you to start a mission church in a growing urban neighborhood. Think of all the questions you might have. Who lives there? What are their customs? What are their needs? How can I build relationships in the community? To be successful, your mission church would need to answer these questions to reach those in the neighborhood.

In many ways, this imaginary scenario is similar to St. John. To successfully reach those in our neighborhood, we need a plan. As previously announced, we are engaging Crossroads Ministry Consulting to help us define our ministry plan. We want you to be a part of this plan in determining God’s will for us. Join us on Saturday September 21st, from 8:30AM to 12:30PM, for step 1 of our strategic planning process. In an introductory seminar, Pastor Elton Stroh from Crossroads will lead us through an engaging discussion about trends impacting ministry today and essential steps in successful ministries.

What to know more? Start by checking out this video describing the Crossroads Consulting Process and then review answers to Frequently Asked Questions below.

Lastly, pray for St. John. Pray daily. On our own, we may fail. But with God, all things are possible. Romans 8:31-32 “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Pray daily that God super-charges our efforts and gives us the wisdom to develop an effective, God-pleasing ministry plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should attend the seminar?
You! Seriously! Every member at St. John should attend! The Crossroads planning process engages the entire congregation in a pro-active and consensus-building approach.

God has called each of us to carry out the great commission. Being a part of the ministry planning process is one way everyone can be a part of our ministry efforts. Over 40 people attended the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program in February. Let’s see if we can exceed this number!

When is the seminar? How long is it?
Please arrive at St. John by 8:30AM on Saturday September 21st to allow time to get coffee/breakfast and get settled in. The introductory seminar will start promptly at 8:45AM and conclude at 12:30PM.

What is the purpose of the seminar?
The seminar serves two purposes: 1) to inform you about the Crossroads ministry planning process and 2) build consensus for moving forward with the full planning process.

What can I expect at the seminar?
You can expect to study God’s Word, learn about the Crossroads ministry planning process, and hear lots of useful information from Pastor Stroh. Here is the schedule for the morning:

  • 8:30 - 8:45 am Arrival – Refreshments
  • 8:45 - 9:00 am Devotional Thoughts 
  • 9:00 - 10:30 am Session 1: The Cultural Context for Ministry 
  • 10:30 - 10:45 am Morning Break 
  • 10:45 - 12:15 pm Session 2: The Church Confronts Change 
  • 12:15 - 12:30 pm Q & A – Wrap Up 

Who will lead the seminar? What will we discuss?
The seminar will be led by Pastor Elton Stroh of Crossroads Ministry Consulting. Pastor Stroh has 19 years of experience consulting with churches on strategic planning and will lead us through two sessions:

1. The Cultural Context for Ministry
    • Factors that Shape Ministry Context 
    • Some Trends that Impact Ministry 
    • Trends in WELS and Our Congregation 
    • Connecting Church and Culture 
    • Questions to Consider 
2. The Church Confronts Change
    • Collecting and Comparing Our Thoughts on Change
    • Three Key Questions on Change in the Church 
    • Church Sizes (Growth Obstacles and Strategies) 
    • Vital Components of Ministry Planning 
    • Learning from Turnaround and Growing WELS Churches 

How is this different than the Self-Assessment and Adjustment (SAA) program?
In some ways, there is overlap. Both programs are focused on the Bible, both involve research, and both programs are focused on the future for St. John. Some of the research and surveys we did for the SAA will actually help us and expedite our planning process.

The key difference is the Crossroads ministry planning process is a much more comprehensive, consensus-building program to develop a ministry plan from scratch and takes advantage of Pastor Stroh’s 19 years of strategic planning experience. The SAA program is better suited for congregations looking to make small changes to its ministry plan based solely on the congregation’s own ideas. St. John really needs a more comprehensive process with outside expertise and guidance.

While the SAA program may not have been the best fit for St. John, it was an important step for us as a congregation. In many ways it re-energized us as a congregation to refocus on our ministry efforts and prepared us to take on this planning process.

Is childcare available?
Childcare will be provided. Look for more details and a registration form to follow in another blog post.

Will food/beverages be provided?Isn’t that the 11th commandment? Thou shalt serve coffee and food at all church gatherings. On a serious note, coffee, beverages, and a light breakfast will be provided. It’s the least we could do as a thank you for your investment of time and energy.

What happens after the seminar? How long will the planning process take?
The seminar is just step 1. After the seminar, we as a congregation need to decide if we want to move forward with the strategic planning process offered by Crossroads consulting. We’ll learn about the process, the effort required by us as a congregation, and the cost of the program. We need to decide: Is the process a good fit for us? Are we willing to support the initiative with time and money?

If we decide to move forward, we’ll embark immediately on a 6 - 10 month process to define our unique mission and vision for our ministry efforts in St. Paul. Then Pastor Stroh will support us for an additional 12 months as we implement our ministry plan. Exciting right? Below is a full overview of the process:

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