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Lay Chairperson Report - January 2008

Submitted by Ken Stevens

January, 2008

It is hard to believe that St. Luke will be celebrating it’s 25th anniversary in 2009. This then is a pivotal time for the parish, as we celebrate past accomplishments and look toward future growth in all areas – physical and emotional -- as well as spiritual. As always, we seek The Lord’s continued grace, guidance and blessings, each and every day, as we carve out our future path.

In fact, 2007 saw substantial activity around planning for our parish. Parish Council agreed it was time to revamp our strategic plan and reassess our vision for future direction. We began by completing a parish-wide survey, representing a new church survey tool from the OCA called the National Church Development Project (NCD), that focuses on parish health facilitation. The survey completed in late December.

In summary, the report showed that St. Luke scored above average on all 8 “quality characteristics” criteria. While the survey showed higher-than-average rankings on spiritual and relational issues (i.e. such as personal enthusiasm for church life, and the positive influence the worship service has on St. Luke parishioners), it only revealed generally average ratings on church planning (i.e. such as being fully informed about church growth and awareness of the churches’ future goals).

However, the NCD process is very generalized and does not account for individual make-up/characteristics of parishes. That said, planning is never a static program but rather an evolving program that must be designed to help St. Luke’s develop its own custom tailored approach to its unique situation.

To that end, we convened a 2-day planning workshop at St. Luke led by Joseph Kormos, head of the Parish Health Facilitator for OCA (Diocese of the Midwest) on November 2-3, 2007. The end-goal of the workshop was to ultimately describe a vision for the future for St. Luke’s parish that was “appropriately aggressive, inspiring, compelling and empowering to the parish; and one that is inspired by and pleasing to God.”

The foundational statements that came out of the workshop are as follows:

As has been the case since our founding, St. Luke’s recognizes that we exist as a local Orthodox Christian community for the purpose of:
-----Worshipping God in accord with the Holy scriptures and the Tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church.
-----Guiding our members to union with God by providing Christian formation and religious education, and opportunities for Christian stewardship and service and charitable assistance.

Our members are committed to promote the Gospel as preached and lived by the Holy Orthodox Church.

We are a parish of the Orthodox Church in America and we receive our mandate and prerogative to exist as an ecclesial community from our Diocesan Bishop.

The eight key challenges for St. Luke elucidated during the session included:

1. Facility limitations
2. Smooth rector transition
3. Evangelization and new member flow
4. Stewardship
5. Building commitment and new parish integration
6. Lay leadership transition
7. Ministry design and administration
8. Buy-in from the parish for a future plan

Action steps moving forward include:

Discuss the plan actively in small groups, at the annual meeting, and during coffee hours…with the goal of gaining buy-in.

-----Each ministry team leader should take responsibility for his/her respective plan and elicit parish help, where needed.

Take action on many of the eight challenges (delineated above and in the St. Luke Strategic Planning report in the Property Ministry team report included herein).

Organize focus groups and feedback discussions for future parish growth and development

Consider a parish “planting vision” by forming a feasibility/exploration committee (i.e. “new church” idea)

God willing, we will continue to pay careful attention to developing a compelling plan for St. Luke growth and transition, all the while increasing in love and in faith -- both individually and collectively-- that will take our parish into its next 25 years and beyond.