Rector's Blog: Connecting our Church's Hopes to Actions
When it came to articulating a Vision for the future of our church and developing a Strategic Plan to live into that Vision, one of our biggest motivations was a desire to be effective – to have a real impact on people’s lives. Emerging from several years of transition, and through many interviews and conversations with current and former Vestry Members, Wardens, Board Chairs, and Ministry Heads, we found a recurring theme – a sense of stagnation. Not that good work wasn’t being done – it was actually the opposite: So many people give of themselves to make Redeemer run, and to make it an authentic community.
No, what we found was that people who had been working so hard, giving so much, were often having trouble seeing the impact of their work, seeing how it connected to something larger, how it contributed to a making a real difference both inside and outside the church.
Congregational Development is not an exciting term – not immediately anyway. It can sound like corporate jargon. Churches want to describe themselves as vibrant, inspired, vital, Spirit-driven, Christ-centered, energized, growing. “Developed” doesn’t exactly quicken the pulse. But what do we do when we have a core of gifted, committed people who love each other and love Redeemer, and feel like something is missing? How do we, on a practical level, inspire the people who inspire us? What is the practical work required to center ourselves in Christ? What does it look like to heed the call of the Holy Spirit in everyday life? Connecting our church’s hopes to actions – that’s the work of Congregational Development. That’s the work we’re doing right now.
Last June eight (8) Redeemerites headed to a retreat center just outside Seattle and attended the College for Congregational Development (CCD). The CCD is a two-year course that was developed in the Diocese of Olympia to equip congregations for effective ministry. The eight (8) of us who went represented a broad swath of leadership in the church. We had Anny Stevens-Gleason (Minister for Worship & Incorporation), Brad Gough (Minister for Families); Vestry Members: Emily von Allmen (Junior Warden) and Mike Firesheets; Christine Andrew (Chair of the Nominating Committee) and parish leaders Kathy Krug and Tom Kirkwood. And me. I was there too!
We worked in an intensive environment last Summer, we’re heading back next month to finish the course, and we undertook two projects throughout the year as a way to hone some of the tools we’ve been given in the CCD. The goal of this group was not to create yet another layer of leadership, another task force, or Ministry Team. After this June, we’ll “disband” so to speak. The goal has been to equip and inspire some of the trusted leaders of Redeemer such that we can equip and inspire those with whom we work – to spread the love, the power, and the concrete skills outward and across all ministries.