As I said in the November newsletter, the holiday season is a time of processing, planning, and preparation for the new year. As such, your church leaders are setting the agenda for January, with an eye toward the fundamental items for the interim period. We are on track, and I feel that the progress we are making together is well ahead of what I might have predicted. Believe it or not, fellowship-model congregations have a reputation for being set in their ways—even stubborn—and issues about leadership can lead to tension and frustration, especially at the beginning. Even so, we certainly seem to be finding our path forward. Well done!
The major piece of the agenda that I want to lift up is adult spiritual development. Many people in our congregation have told me that what they really want is a program of spiritual development that encompasses the personal along with membership and leadership. I am pleased to announce that we will launch the Ascendants program on January 7th.
We will have our last Centering Service on Christmas Eve, and the new Ascendants Program will be held in the Channing Sanctuary on 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Sundays from 9:30 to 10:30. It combines meditational practice, presentation, and meaningful discussion with the intent to encourage personal and organizational evolution throughout our congregation. I have led versions of this program during my ministry in Detroit, and I experienced some useful models during the Mindful Leadership Summit in Washington DC in November. Look for this to be an engaging and inspiring Sunday gathering, with an emphasis on learning and growing together.
Another item on the agenda is reaching out. We have a Facebook following of more than 600 (six hundred) people, which means our potential reach on Sunday morning is far beyond the present membership of the church. Beginning on January 7th, we also plan to create video of the Ascendants sessions and the traditional Sunday services, using both streaming video in real-time and recorded presentations. Also look for video promotions of upcoming messages. If these videos are well received, we can also boost our promotional reach to several thousand people in this region. We are just getting warmed up!
This coming year, look for progress updates held as monthly congregational meetings, perhaps after services on the third Sunday of the month. These meetings will be an opportunity for everyone to learn about our church leadership’s direction and agenda, and for all of us to share our own insights and ideas. This congregation already has many ideas that can increase participation. It’s simply a matter of empowering and supporting people who are willing and able to make those ideas a reality.
We are on our way. That does not mean that we will never have any disagreements or conflicts. It means that we are beginning to experience success together. Make it so. And thank you!