We want to thank the congregation for their participation in the cottage meetings and the feedback we received regarding our health, function, and the possible creation of a new pastoral position. In part, we were seeking to gauge the felt need for more pastoral staff as well as a commitment to increase the budget to cover the added expense. As any such decision would require the approval of our membership and as we are committed to congregational government, the elders wanted to hear from the congregation.
What We Learned:
As we listened, reviewed our notes, and discussed the cottage meetings as a board, it was encouraging for us to hear the degree of similarity and harmony from the various groups. While there were many common areas, three strong desires from the body emerged in our experiences. These were:
…to see VCL balance its inward focus with attention towards its community
…to be a body that is more trained and equipped for ministries inside and outside the church walls.
…to have all of our actions guided by good stewardship principles and a clear process.
Our Challenge, Our Opportunity:
As we reflect, what we heard above presents four main challenges and opportunities for us as a church:
1. First, while we need to maintain the strong sense of unity at VCL and its feeling of safety, at the same time we must have our witness penetrate areas where people need to meet Jesus.
2. Second, we need to position ourselves as a body that meets these demands by increasing the number of folks who are equipped to use their spiritual gifts for mentoring and initiating new outreach. We should not be deceived, conversion growth and compassionate care for anyone in the body facing life struggles will take mature Christians being willing to walk alongside others. This is our goal.
3. Third, we need to think through how current responsibilities, their distribution, and workflow help or hinder our being and growing equipped and active disciples of Jesus.
Finally, we need to determine if pastoral support is needed in moving toward our goal, and how any effort would be supported financially.
Our Next Steps:
With all the input from the congregation, the elders will continue our work in crafting a proposal concerning ministry development that reflects what we heard about the workload on the current pastoral staff and the rebalancing of current duties to accomplish our goal. As such,
1. The elders are looking at how the duties can be redistributed, either by using volunteers or perhaps by adding staff, to make our ministries (even) more productive than they already are.
2. We also are taking note of several new ministries that were suggested in the cottage meetings and discerning how these can be implemented and managed.
We hope to have this this work completed and available sometime this fall. While a September meeting had originally been proposed, we don’t know that this is realistic given the scope and depth of feedback. This said, we are committed to being in dialogue and meeting with you with a proposal for the life and ministries of our church before the annual meeting in November.
In the meantime, we would value your continued input, insights and most importantly, your prayers as we move forward in enhancing our shepherding ministry to a hurting world with the good news of Jesus Christ.
Once again, we offer our deep appreciation to all who took time out of your summer schedules to offer us very valuable insight and wisdom. It is our privilege to serve you and we look forward to continuing to walk together down the pathway God puts before us all.