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The LCH Ministry Planning Task Force

Why a Ministry Plan for LCH?

Often we think about where we are going as a congregation in times of great change and need. But, understanding where God is leading us is a continued effort and one best done before times of transition.

Here some of the specific reasons for this effort:

  • to think intentionally about how we want to be as a congregation and how we want to be doing ministry for the next 5, 10, and 20 years.
  • to prepare for future personnel transitions (Pastor Barber and Carl Crosier) in the hiring and calling for future LCH staff in the next five years.
  • to guide decisions on how we use and focus our limited (but bountiful) resources.
  • to prioritize capital campaign improvements and guide the expenditures of these resources.
  • to try to discern God’s purpose for us and then set out a path to do it. “If you aim at nothing, you will hit every time.”

Who is involved?

Everyone! The process needs the input and participation of the entire congregation through prayer, talking story, workshops, etc. in this effort to discern God’s plan for our congregation’s future.

Examining the potentiality of our gifts and talents from God and how to best use them together as a congregation is a joyful and exciting prospect. Stay involved, and stay prayerful!

Task Force Members: The Task Force is led by Cami Kloster and Jim Niermann. Other members are Paul Benco, Olivia Castro, Intern Pastors Katy Grindberg (2004-2005) and Joshua Graber (2005-2006), Don Person, Bob Zimmer, and Pastor David Barber.

What process will the Task Force follow?

The planning process generally follows the steps in Discerning Your Congregation’s Future: A Strategic and Spiritual Approach, by Roy M. Oswald and Robert E. Friedrich, Jr. (1996, Alban Institute). Planning stages include:

  • Ministry Assessment (Chapter 3)—The LCH planning task force decided to use the Natural Church Development (NCD) survey to assess the congregation’s perception of the church’s health and success in meeting ministry goals. The NCD program has been applied broadly through a range of church types and locations and over many years. It is institutionally strong and, thus, can be relied on to provide consistent, comparable congregational evaluations in the future. Read the results of this assessment.
  • Historical Reflection (Chapter 4)—Historical Reflection involves holding a congregational event to talk story about church history as known / perceived by the congregation. The purpose is to face the truth of who we are by celebrating / confronting past actions, and to draw out the story of who we want to be as a church. The Alban literature pointedly notes the importance of shining light on the skeletons in our past, as well as on the face we prefer to show. Honest self-examination is a starting point for discerning our vision for the church’s future.
  • Norm Identification (Chapter 5)—Norm identification likewise involves participation in a congregational event. Norms are the way we do things, the unwritten rules and hidden protocols that dictate how we relate to one another and conduct the business of the church. Often our norms of behavior are out of sync with our values and beliefs. The objective of this activity is to identify, examine and if necessary rectify our norms of behavior. This will be a difficult exercise for many people. The congregation will have to be spiritually prepared for the task. Read the list of LCH norms.
  • Development and Prioritization of Goals (Chapters 7 and 8)—Throughout the planning process, the planning task force will add to a list of interim goals to address the issues and opportunities that emerge from the congregation. The task force will be responsible for the initial prioritization of goals, which will be presented to the congregation for discussion and endorsement. Read the draft goal statements. Read results of first vote on draft goals statements.
  • Ministry Plan—Upon congregational endorsement, the goal statements will be restructured within a strategic timeline for action. The congregation will be asked to engage in a process of identifying tasks necessary to achieve the short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Congregational input will be conducted through small-group sessions organized around ministry interests.

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