Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Where do we focus our energies to move ahead in this parish? The CAT asked each respondent to rank seventeen different options in order of priority. Before we look at our results, let’s see how the options are prioritized by typical mainline churches in the United States. The options (in order of priority) for the typical mainline church in the US are:
First—Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.
Second—Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.
Third—Provide more opportunities for Christian education and spiritual formation at every age and stage of life.
Fourth— Develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances.
Fifth—Develop the spiritual generosity of the people to financially support the ministry of the church.
Sixth—Strengthen the process by which members are called and equipped for ministry and leadership.
Seventh—Create more opportunities for people to form meaningful relationships (for example, small groups, nurtured friendships, shared meals, etc).
Eighth—Work to renew and revitalize the community around the church by building coalitions with partners.
Ninth—Expand outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society.
Tenth—Strengthen the management and support of persons in various ministries.
Eleventh—Deepen our sense of connection to God and one another through stronger worship services.
Twelfth—Strengthen the pastoral response of the church in serving people with special needs.
Thirteenth—Work as an advocate for social and institutional change so that society might better reflect the values of the kingdom of God.
Fourteenth—Adapt the opportunities provided by the church making them more accessible given the pace and schedule of my life.
Fifteenth—Change or improve the music of the church to deepen our worship experience.
Sixteenth—Expand the international mission of the church with both financial resources and personal involvement.
Seventeenth—Enlarge or improve the physical facilities of the church to expand or enhance our ministries.
In previous posts I listed our top three priorities as indicated by your response to the CAT. As a reminder they are:
1. Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.
2. Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.
3. Enlarge or improve the physical facilities of the church to expand or enhance our ministries.
I can list the remaining 14 priorities for our parish, but I don’t think that is important for this blog. They are posted in the Important Documents on the St. Francis Web Site. Important for us to understand is that we ranked 12 of the priorities on average with the rankings made by typical mainline churches in the U.S. This means that those twelve options we ranked at the same or with in plus or minus 1 or 2 rankings as found on the list above. The remaining 5 options were either higher or lower than the typical average. Let us now look at those differences.
Enlarge or improve the physical facilities of the church is our third ranked priority. As you can see above it is the last priority for most mainline churches. I believe that this is a clear indication that our Building to Serve campaign is on the right track and in accordance with what the majority of the parishioners who responded to the CAT desire. Our ranking of this option is “very high” compared to other mainline churches. On the other end of the spectrum is the option to provide more opportunities for Christian education and spiritual formation, which we ranked number 9. In the table above, you can see it is number 3, making it a “very low” priority for us as compared to other churches/parishes. This can be because it is less important to us or (as I believe) this is already being performed at such a high level that additional energy is not required.
This leaves us with three options that are either lower or higher than average. Two of the options are lower than average. They are expanding outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society (#9 above) and deepen our sense of connection to God and one another through stronger worship services (#11 above). Again, these may be lower priorities for us because they are less important or because they are already being performed at a very high level. This will be something for our Strategic Planning Committee determine. The last option, which is higher for us compared to other mainline churches, is to change or improve the music of the church to deepen our worship experience (#15 above). Music is a very important part of worship and is worth a separate posting to discuss. So,
Until next time…