Mission Envision Thur, Oct 17th
Our Corp of Discovery continues as we begin to wrestle with what our core mission should be and attempt to develop an appropriate Mission Statement. To that end new books entitled, “Mission and Vision Statement Renewal Workbook for Churches,” are available from Colleen.
Please join us. Our study will be Thursday, September 19th, beginning at 5:30 in Memorial Hall. We will offer a simple pot luck dinner so that we can eat and work at the same time. Please bring a dish to share.
AUG 29, SEP 05, SEP 12, OCT 03, OCT 10, OCT 17
Fears Shared aboutIdeas from Canoeing the Mountains
Trinity leaders encourage all members to share any concerns that may be growing about the new directions for our church that are being discussed and prayed about among the 20 people who have been studying the issue of how to respond to the Gospel in the 21st century.
Here are some concerns that have been voiced.
Concern: “How do we know what changes these 20 people are planning to make when they meet together?” In reply: No plans for changes have been made. We have read and discussed the book Canoeing the Mountains by Tod Bolsinger. We made lists of what is valued at Trinity, and now are starting to write a new mission statement for our church.
Concern: “How can we get volunteers for starting new programs and keep current programs going while we have been losing members?” Response: Since much of what we have been doing is no longer working in the 21st century church, the goal is to determine what are Trinity’s essential values of faith, culture, and activities, to write a mission statement based on that, then to perpetuate only those programs, liturgy, and undertakings that support that mission. Human and financial resources will target and support our mission.
Concern: “Why aren’t we trying harder to get our old members back?” Response: Numerous studies on this very concern find that the majority of persons do not return to a church they have chosen to leave. Further, they report that dissatisfied, alienated ex-members who have values divergent from their home church appropriately seek other churches where they feel more connected.
Concern: “The Canoeing the Mountains group talks about outreach to the neighborhood as if it’s a new concept, but we’ve been doing it for decades.” Response: Currently TLC invites the neighborhood into the church for food and clothing, helps local veterans, and feeds school children on weekends. The new concept is one of relationship and ministry with the neighborhood, in the neighborhood as well as the church, doing what it is God calls us to do.
Concern: “Free meals for the neighborhood began this year; why are we doing this when we already feed them through the Food Pantry? Also, why not serve the free meals to Micah’s families with whom we already have a relationship?” Response the idea behind offering free meals was to begin the process of developing a welcom- ing, caring relationship with our neighbors that is beyond utilitarian – to go beyond helping them, to partnering with them by learning their concerns and inner needs. We could expand our interactions with Micah’s families beyond the Thanksgiving meals provided yearly.
Concern: “How do we bear the changes and the losses of members and traditions so we can move foreword toward an uncertain future?” Response: We are learning that one crucial response is to invest time in each other, developing and maintaining our relationships through lis- tening and honest, loving communication. Trinity is leav- ing behind the response of separating into whispering groups that have functioned in isolation or putting our personal agendas ahead of living the Gospel. We are a people of faith in a God who loves us, one who will guide us when we ask, and will unify us in his care when together we grieve or are anxious and fearful.
Concern: “How can just 20 people plan our future?” Response: From the beginning, we have invited everyone by a letter in the mail, newsletter announcements and articles, and from the pulpit. All of the meeting times and dates are publicized and open to everyone. We agree and disagree openly in the group weekly with respect and love. We do not have the answers, and seek God’s guidance as well as the input of each Trinity member. Whether you agree or disagree with what you hear or conclude outside of the meetings, every member is welcome and encouraged to come!
For other questions or concerns in the coming days, some discussions on what the Canoeing the Mountain group is discussing/considering will happen in a portion of both worship services, those who attend the group will have an opportunity to speak, and all will hear what’s happening in the group’s “process of discovery.” Each Sunday between services, a member of the group will be available in the Parlor to talk about what’s happening in the group meetings and to answer questions.