An Invitation to Adventure!

Dear Church Family,

As people who care deeply about the church, you probably have thoughts occasionally about what might make things better at church. Some of you have been kind enough to share your thoughts with me or with others of our leaders. In the past year and a half we have tried a variety of things to reach out to the community, more deeply engage the congregation in ministry and enliven our worship service. Some of our efforts worked and some didn't. You could probably guess that some people liked things that others didn't care for at all. We have not found consensus on anything.

Despite our imperfect efforts, God has been at work in some wonderful ways. Our children's program at Christmas involved more youth and children than in several previous years. We have new and returning visitors almost every week. Some of our new faces are becoming deeply involved in our ministry. And our finances have improved enough that we were able to pay our apportionments for 2018 in full!

In 2019 we want to gain a better sense of our future direction. It isn't that we haven't discussed this in our Cabinet meetings -- but rather that we haven't found any answers to the question, "Where is God calling us as a congregation and how shall we be in ministry in our community?" Perhaps we need a greater pool of collective wisdom -- more voices at the table. So we will be taking this entire year to explore these questions. It will be an adventure -- and you are invited on the journey. We will be reading and discussing ideas from "Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory," by Tod Bolsinger.The author explains how this book can be helpful to churches looking to increase in vitality and a sense of mission in a changing world.

From the book: "This is a guidebook for learning to lead in a world we weren't prepared for. Our guides will be none other than the first American adventurers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Lewis and Clark's expedition to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase was built on a completely false expectation. They believed, like everyone before them, that the unexplored west was exactly the same geography as the familiar east. This is the story of what they did when they discovered that they -- and everyone else before them -- had been wrong. And how instructive and inspiring that story can be to us today...."

We will discuss and seek faithful responses to the following question:

  • How do we lead a congregation or an organization to be faithful to the mission God has put before us when the world has changed so radically?

  • What are the tools, the mental models, the wise actions and competing commitments that require navigation?

  • And mostly, what transformation does it demand of those of us who have been called to lead?"

Are you ready for an adventure? Come along with us --the more skill sets we have for this adaptive leadership process, the better! If you want a book, just let me know! YOU are our most valuable resource!

With prayers for our adventure together --

Katherine Thomas Paisley