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Holy Shift! – Vision Renewal at CtK


The congregation gathered on Feb 10 and on April 6th with our Synod’s Director of Evangelical Mission, Rev Dara Clifford. We affirmed our 5 Core Values:

  • Being Welcoming & Inclusive

  • Youth Development

  • Outreach into our Community

  • Being Joyful & Touched by the Spirit in worship and in relationships

  • Being Servant Centered

Shared in some playfulness and discussed the questions you filled out or emailed to us. Thank you to those of you who turned in your Holy Shift Questions:

  • What joys do you have in your life?

  • What energizes you?

  • What are the most challenging things in your life?

These questions were helpful for our discussion. They are also powerful questions to ask to build relationships when we are sent out from worship, and we share our service in the world. From your answers we discovered people are seeking deeper relationship with Jesus, family, friends, and their community. We learned of the many activities and ways people are energized as well as challenges people face from health concerns, relationships, politics, -isms, violence, etc. Your words were shared and they were useful!

Some of the changes and challenges we are in the midst of at CtK involves a paradigm shift, moving from a two-pastor led congregation to one-pastor congregation. From a program sized-multi cell church to a more pastoral sized church that relies on a distributive model of shared committee, council, and staff leadership. Recognizing that people need to share spiritual practices important to supporting the ministry of CtK such as worship, prayer, giving, service, and the many fruits of the Spirit. In broad strokes here are some of the shifts that are or have occurred in the church (thanks to Pastor Dara, Assoc to the Bishop, DEM of the ECSW sharing this synopsis about 4 Major Mindset Shifts For Ministry):

  1. Shifting from Ministry = Programs to Ministry = Relationship – ministry happened inside the walls of the church. The new mindset is toward building new relationships and getting to know people with expectation. The goal is not getting a bunch of “new members” to go back to what we once were, the goal is to become master relationship builders who connect with people OUTSIDE the church walls.

  2. Shifting from Church to practice faith to Church being Community, Connection, and Belonging. There was a time when people were longing for a place to practice their faith and be connected through beliefs. NOW, people are seeking a sense of community, meaningful connection, and knowing they belong just the way they are. 1 in 3 Americans has reported that they have experienced religious trauma. Today, as the church seeks to build relationships, we need to understand that slow, steady, and intentional is the process to relationship building. Safety is not an automatic feeling people get when they are in conversation with Christians, thus being empathetic, caring, affirming, and curious about the people God puts in front of us is key!

  3. From “Playing” Church to Being Church – congregations/people have gotten really good at going through the motions of preserving the idea of church and in some ways have forgotten how to be in meaningful, connected relationship where we recognize that everyone has something to offer, and everyone is valued. Being church means being in equitable, mutual relationships. Being deeply curious about others, continually listening to others’ stories, with empathy, and working together to be in community. Moving from Holy Witness to Holy WITHness. Jesus doesn’t just want to feed the poor; Jesus wants to be in community with the poor.

  4. From We don’t have money to We already have everything we need – congregations already have everything they need to fulfill the mission God is calling them to. Though scarcity mentality can sometimes get the best of us, we know we have an extravagant God who always provides an abundance of what we actually need. It could truly be the case that there isn’t enough money to maintain the congregation in the way it’s always been maintained, but what if God is calling the congregation to exist in an entirely different way? It’s okay to let go of some things and put some things to rest so that energy and resources can be put into new things. We know this because our faith is centered on a God who died and rose again!

 

The final discussion of our time together led to a determination of being part of a “Fresh Expressions” group of WI Lutheran congregations to learn more about how to implement the four major mind shifts to ministry at CtK.

That is Holy Shift!-Vision Renewal. CtK is filled with people with different skills, energy levels, interests, and gifts. Are you open to God using you? CtK, we have all that we need to move forward in mission. No matter where we are – “God’s love is coming to life!”

 

Christ’s Easter blessings and peace throughout your week,

Pastor Nate

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