The Iowa Annual Conference of 2013 has come and gone. As part of our gathering we almost unanimously approved our Strategic Priorities. Which look almost exactly like the original document brought before us. Despite being driven by Conference staff the document did a great job of capturing people where they are. The final document can be read here.
For my part, I have been reflecting on this report for about a month now. I wish to let you know how intend to live this out personally and as a leader in my church. There are many things packed into this five-page document. Some of it I can directly impact and yet others I have no real say.
We at St. John’s UMC in Davenport will create world transforming communities of faith. We will have studied our demographics while assessing and identifying areas of partnership with the goal of launching one new ministry and developing a new community of faith. We are already working on telling the stories of mission and community building. As we move to become more vital in areas of hands on service and mission to the poor by 25% in three years with our “Change the World” weekend that starts in a bit over a week. The priority calls for a 25% change in three years I hope we do that in less than two, and approaching 33% by the third. We utilize Urban strategies and we will find ways to teach these to others starting in our city and spreading out from there. We have been blessed to have an Imagine No Malaria (INM) Ambassador in our congregation, and I would like to see our congregation raise upwards to $100,000 in the next two years.
We will continue to equip our laity to be better leaders. The conference goal is to have 25% of laity to have invested themselves in a significant lay training experience by 2016. After we calculate where we are at this point we will be growing the percentage invested by utilizing Walk to Emmaus, DISCIPLE Bible Study and ALPHA, again 25% seems low I am aiming for 33% by 2016. Laity involvement in hands on mission starts with our “Change the World” Sunday and the small groups will be increasing in participation this fall.
I am not sure that attending a meeting will make more effective as a leader so I may fall short in the area of participating in Elders gatherings, especially when they are many hours away. An improvement to these gatherings may be a simulcast of the “plenary” speaker and gatherings in different communities for the social interaction. While the goal is ten percent of my time in the greater community I am shooting for 25%. The greater community includes coffee shops, working with first responders as a chaplain and time spent connecting on Social Media. I am planning my covenant group as I write this. I am modeling it after what educators call a Personal Learning Network (PLN) I hope to include a High School Principal, a business person, myself and some one from a mass media field. My hope is to grow spiritually and develop new competencies going forward.
We will continue to align using our resources with creating disciples that transform the world. We will be continuing to use social media, along with hermetical media to tell the stories of our church. The stories grow and challenge us as a people. They strengthen relationships and teach. I feel that we are on the cusp of something big here at St. John’s and I am looking for people of all abilities and at all parts of their faith journey to join me. The bus is warming up and we need to get on it soon.