2016-08 A Message from Lay Leader Jim Martin

The Passionate Church

In January of 2015, I was blessed to be part of our churches vision team, charged with developing a five year vision and strategic action plan for our ministries. The Vision Team presented its plan and recommendations to the Church Conference in December and transferred the ownership of this Vision Plan document to our Church Council. Today we have a newly formed church strategic team who is developing the plan to prepare our congregation to embrace change as we move towards our vision to expand our ministries, equip our leaders, committees and congregation to make discipleship and engage in the transformation of our world. To be passionate about something is to be intentional about the cause or mission you are about. Our mission statement is “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”. Our vision to do this work has been defined by four key categories. Category 1, Growing Disciples; Category 2, Ministry Opportunities; Category 3, Outreach Ministries to Those in Need (the poor); Category 4, Administration or the technology to serve our ministries. Our strategic team is developing the process to bring our vision plan into action and to share it with the congregation. This process throughout this past year has been motivating in thinking of all the possibilities we have to grow our ministries, serve our community and live out our mission as a church founded on the principles of Jesus Christ.

A few weeks ago, Pastor Howard gave me a book to read entitled The Passionate Church authored by Mike Slaughter who pastors Ginghamsburg Church, the fifth largest United Methodist Church in the country, located in Tipp City, Ohio. This is a book you can easily read in a day or two. I found it to be inspirational in regards to what a then small church can accomplish if it stays focused on its mission and vision for its ministries for the transformation of the world. This once small church grew to become the fifth largest church in the United Methodist connection by staying focused on its mission and the four key focused areas for ministry.

After reading this book about the transformation of the Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio, it was inspiring to compare our four strategic areas of focused ministry outlined in our vision plan to the four areas of focus outlined in the Ginghamsburg church’s vision plan. I was encouraged to see similarities in both our model and theirs which also inspired and motivated me to want to be more engaged in the implementation of our vision plan. I believe there are exciting and new ministries ahead for our church. We may not grow to be a large mega church but I believe that we all have an opportunity to grow in our discipleship and be part of the transformation of the world.

I will not go into the details of my comparison between the two vision plan models but rather share with you that I am excited about the future of our church. The author remarks that “it’s good to talk about ministry. It’s better to do it, and do it passionately.” I think we all enjoy being part of something new and exciting and to experience the joy of serving others. As we are reminded in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” We are part of a great church and one that is recognized in our community for serving others. Are we “The Passionate Church”? I will let you decide.

In closing, our Strategic Team is meeting weekly and preparing the agenda, timelines, developing materials and organizing small group sessions to bring our vision plan to life. Our Church Council and various committees are completing the action items assigned last December for year one of our Vision plan. The work our Church leaders, our committees and the collective feedback from our small group sessions this fall will solidify our vision model for moving forward into year two through year five or 2020. I believe our four focused areas outlined in our vision plan will be inspirational and motivating to spring us into actions with new ministry opportunities. I encourage each of you to participate in the scheduled small group sessions to hear about these opportunities and to self-examine how you can grow in your discipleship and share in the transformation of the world. In the months to come, we will share announcements for events and dates that will take place this fall. You will not want to miss out on this exciting time in our church’s future journey.

Jim Martin
Lay Leader