A little over a year ago, I wrote about our conference’s Matthew 28 Initiative. I wrote that post on the eve of our consultation weekend in September 2011, and I recently realized I haven’t written anything about it since then!
The consultation, which was conducted by Rev. Roz Mason (Consultant), Rev. Rich Morris (Coach), and Rev. Lori Steffensen (District Superintendent), went very well. We had a couple of listening sessions in subsequent weeks and voted, overwhelmingly, on October 25, 2011 to accept the prescriptions presented by the consultation team.
The consultation report listed six areas of strength (a committed core of leaders, active spirituality, building and location, stewardship, relationships, and pastor). The report also named five areas to work on (vision and understanding of mission, worship, children’s ministry, leadership development, and assimilation). The prescriptions were designed to address the areas to work on.
I said from the beginning the real value of the process is that it would help us do in one year what it would otherwise take several years to do on our own (if at all). As we come to the end of our year, it was certainly an intense year, but I believe it has been a real catalyst which will help us as we move forward and build on what God has done in and through us this past year!
I see at least three benefits from having engaged in the Matthew 28 Initiative …
- Centre Grove has become more active and energized! There is a great deal more energy and enthusiasm than there was a year ago. In fact, our core leaders listed “lack of enthusiasm” as a challenge last year, but I don’t think that would said as strongly now.
- Centre Grove is realigning for mission and ministry! We created a new structure after studying Winning On Purpose: How To Organize Congregations to Succeed in Their Mission by John Kaiser. The new structure emphasizes authority, responsibility, and accountability. But it’s not just about changing, or simplifying, the structure; it’s also about clarifying our roles. In a nutshell: the Pastor leads, the Leadership Team (volunteer/paid staff) manages, the Council governs, and the Congregation ministers.
- Centre Grove is becoming more outward-focused! We are embracing our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
Now, there were parts we could have done better, of course. There are a couple of areas we have to regroup and redo. But the best part is, we’re just getting started. We’ve only scratched the surface. The foundation we’ve laid through this process will enable us to be more effective in our mission and ministry.
While most of the fruit from our work in the past year will come later, we are already beginning to see some fruit. We trust God will help us bear much more fruit for the kingdom of God in the days and years ahead!
The Matthew 28 Initiative is not a silver bullet for fixing all that ails in a church. It is simply an opportunity to bring about better focus and alignment for the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
If you are serving The United Methodist Church in the Susquehanna Conference and would like more information, there’s a brochure available at the conference website. Also, feel free to post a comment below or contact me if you have any questions.