Monday, March 14, 2016

Mission Study Update

January meeting with Rev. Bill Lawser
Recently there was an open meeting for anyone interested in the renewal process begun by the Malahat South Mission Study Team.  At the meeting Rev. Irwin shared the results of Rev. Lawser's analysis of our church.  Turns out our parking lot and our building are major assets for a healthy congregation, although our lack of dedicated classroom space is a drawback.
    Because Rev. Lawser is a numbers man, there were lots of charts and graphs to illustrate his assessment of our situation.  
This one shows the use of our building.  The big blue area refers to congregational use and the red refers to community use.  This is not a bad mix, but leaves room for more rentals without interfering with the congregation's use of its own space. 

I found this chart more telling.

That six percent for decision making refers to things like committee meetings and administration.  It's a reasonable number for a congregation of our size.  Direct spiritual development includes worship and Bible Study, relational development encompasses potlucks, Friendship coffee, and similar social events.  Mission, in this case, refers to "hands on" work by members of the congregation.  Because the numbers were taken from 2015 and included the mission trip to the Dominican Republic, the percentage is higher than it would have been in a normal year.

   The question was asked if SPPC "passed" the healthy church test. The answer was that we need to work on our pie.  According to Rev. Lawser, we should aim for an equal division between mission, relationships and spiritual development. Our congregation is very generous in its financial support when disaster strikes anywhere in the world.  We are faithful in supporting the Sidney Food Bank, Our Place, the Blue Bus, the Compassionate Warehouse and our foster child, not to mention the thousands of knitted cotton squares sent to places like Africa to aid the hospitals and clinics there.  We are not lacking in compassion and awareness.  Where we lack is the "hands on" aspect of mission. 

   After reviewing Rev. Lawser's analysis we were invited to do some "blue sky" thinking about SPPC and it's mission in Sidney/N. Saanich and the rest of the peninsula.  We were guided by the following questions:

  • What is the crossroads our congregation is faced with at this time?
  • What is the story about the congregation you hear yourself telling most often or that gives you identiy as a congregation?
  • How does this story shape the future?
  • How does this story restrict the future?
  • What do we want to create together?
The discussion included notes on what we do now.  Is it effective?  What creative ways can we reach people? e.g. mid-week worship.  Our parking lot is an asset.  Can we use it to promote our mission? e.g. host outdoor events.  Can we make SPPC a community gathering place?  We must realize that social culture has shifted and most people are not looking for "church" as we know it.  Worship is not top of mind to the people running marathons on Sunday morning, but helping those in need is.  Can SPPC provide a focus for that general good will?
   While we look for other ways to engage with the community around us, we remember that our "great commision" remains, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching. 

The "what" of our mission hasn't changed.  The "how" must.

As we stand in this crossroads we have the great comfort of Jesus' words,  "lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." 

No comments:

Post a Comment