Every church struggles with focus, with discerning its calling and what it does well, and addressing the opportunities and challenges presented by changes in the world around it.
One of the things I knew FHC was dealing with before I was called to serve here was the change from a program-sized church with two full-time ordained pastors, to a pastoral-sized church with a different staffing configuration. It takes humility for a church to admit that it can’t pursue every worthy cause at once; it takes courage for a church to say “no” to some of these causes in order to day a big “yes” to its calling.
Each year since the interim with Pastor Anne—and probably also before that—Falcon Heights Church has identified priorities each year to focus on in its mission and ministry. Some years, we’ve had as many as four priorities, which I admit was too much for us to make progress on all of them.
This year’s Leadership Retreat members coalesced around climate action, children/youth/family ministry, and music.
The second and third priorities really stemmed from a desire to support our two newest staff members’ leadership of the congregation in getting a strong start to two core values of our mission: spiritual development for all ages, and music/worship/the arts. We have welcomed both Katie Johnson and Adam Miller to the staff in the last year, and these two priorities help remind us that WE own our responsibility as a faith community for their success.
Climate action I wrote about in my column last week. There was remarkable consensus around this priority as the common thread running through our mission and ministry. All decisions we make should be made with an eye toward how they move us in a zero-waste, carbon-neutral, creation-caring direction as a church—our building and grounds; our finances; the themes we lift up in our faith formation and worship activities; our public witness through partnerships with Isaiah, MN Interfaith Power and Light, and others.
And these are 2022’s priorities, but they’re likely to be multi-year commitments, not just things we DO, but changes that happen in our congregational DNA.
Lastly, I want to share with you two areas that will be in the development stage this year, likely led by two short-term working groups appointed by our Executive Board:
Developing young leaders for the church: The present generation of leadership at FHC is ready and willing to turn leadership of our church over to the emerging generations. But we need to develop a process for identifying and nurturing young leaders to assume that leadership in the future, and identify governance and ministry changes that make leadership more attractive to younger people.
Developing a more sustainable funding model: We need to broaden the base of income to support our mission in the community. What mix of revenue streams—pledges and giving, rentals, grants, etc.—would help us weather changes in society and be more sustainable in the long term?
If one of these priorities is attractive to you, give me a call at 651-646-2681, or email [email protected], and I’ll connect you with the right people!