It has been an exciting 7 months. Some days I can hardly believe I’ve only been here since July. Our family loves being at DPUMC and I the last few months have made you excited to be here too. During Lent, our stewardship series will focus on discerning the future of our congregation. There are a couple of things I wanted to lift up before then: the Vibrant Church Initiative and some Changes in our Staff.
Vibrant Church Initiative (VCI)
VCI is a conference program that helps churches discern and take their next steps. Begun 5 years ago VCI has helped over 70 churches develop a ministry plan to increase their health and the impact they have on their community. Their discernment includes hard data, interviews with members of the church, information about the surrounding community and a report from 12-20 mystery guests. Some of you heard Rev. Mike Tyson talk about the program on January 14; the video of his presentation is available here:
The conference also has a helpful brochure available online at https://www.txcumc.org/files/fileslibrary/vcibrochure20150107.pdf . The Church Council will consider whether we are ready to participate in VCI at their February 11 meeting. Over the next two weeks, please join me in prayer for our congregation and the discernment of its leaders. If you have questions or comments, you can talk with myself or any church council member.
Our previous Youth Director, Russ Allen, resigned at the end of 2017 to pursue another career opportunity. In the wake of his departure, the Staff Parish Relations Committee and I spent several weeks discussing our current needs and potential growth over the next few years. We identified 4 crucial issues we need to address:
- Continuity of ministry. If we are to truly form fully devoted disciples of Jesus Christ, there needs to be a clear path of growth from cradle to graduation that accounts for the developmental needs of every age and integrates youth and children into the life of the larger congregation.
- Consistency of staff. We have had a great deal of staff turnover. The revolving door in the office makes it difficult for visions to take root and for families to form a relationship with leaders.
- Vision for discipleship. The world around us continues to change and with it the needs of families. We cannot run a scattershot of programs just because we’ve always done them and hope to keep forming to disciples. Many of the things we do are good, but all need to be evaluated and aligned with a goal to make disciples of all ages.
- Quality Communication inside the congregation and outside. As we grow, it is important to keep everyone informed of all that is happening at DPUMC. In order to grow, it is good to have a consistent quality brand people in the community can recognize.
To help meet these needs, SPRC and I decided to realign our staffing and hire two new positions. We are currently seeking an Administrative Assistant to work part-time in the office. By taking over tasks such as attendance entry and supply ordering, this person will free Tracy to put more time into communications. This will not only improve the quality of our communications by passing them all through a single clearinghouse but also allow clergy and programming staff to focus more on disciple-making.
There is also a search team meeting who will develop a job description for and hire a Director of Family Ministries. This person will have full responsibility for discipleship from cradle to graduation. By combining our current youth and children positions, we are able to create a greater continuity of programming. We are also able to offer the kind of salary that attracts talented candidates and encourages people to remain in a position for a longer tenure.
I know that both VCI and the changes to our staff represent changes for this congregation. If you have any questions or concerns, my door is open and I’m happy to discuss them with you. We have already begun the conversation about staffing with parents and key staff people. Those discussions have been fruitful and energizing. I hope that you will join in celebrating what God is working out in this congregation and the future that lies ahead.
Grace and peace,