Updated Thursday, September 12 – 2022 Strategic Planning is moving forward! The Strategic Planning Team met on the evening of Tuesday, September 10 and discussed next steps and the most effective way to communicate the plan to the congregation. The guiding principle of the plan is that Messiah Church will be known as a place that invests in the lives of people in our community by providing growth, care and serving opportunities. Stay tuned for specific next steps coming this fall! Team members are Maria Banda and Kami Pohl for Serving, Jim Grismer and Joy Ann Harmon for Worship, Darcy Weldy and Sami Tierney for Youth and Families, Miranda Spence and Karen Klekner for Children and Families, Tracy Ickes for Communications, Phil Weiler for Operations, and Barb Kula, Pastor Tami and Pastor Steve for team leadership.
Updated Thursday, August 29 –
by Siri Nanneman, Newsletter Editor
Read this first paragraph, then close your eyes. Imagine it’s the year 2022. You walk into Messiah Church. A group is gathered talking outside. You enter the building, and the sun is streaming in on some faces you recognize and some you don’t. Children dart around the corner, laughing. Over the vibrant buzz of conversation, you hear music. Someone shakes your hand, someone else wraps you in a hug. Excitement fills the air and you can feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. You realize it’s not even Sunday morning — yet Messiah Church is filled with people from within the community who are coming together to grow, to care for each other, and to serve.
Messiah’s 2022 Strategic Plan
Imagining that future, and figuring out how we make that vision a reality has been the prayerful task of a dedicated group of Messiah Church members who are part of the Messiah 2022 Strategy Team. They first met after Messiah surveyed the congregation to learn what desires and needs existed within the church. The group refined those ideas to draft a 3-year plan to share with the congregation.
A 3-year planning process forces groups to think about the future and ensures that today’s actions keep them on the path to realizing that future. It grounds decision-making and helps prioritize everyone’s ideas within the available resources of people, money and time.
“From the outset, there was consensus that we need to be a church that welcomed everybody — that was assumed to be a statement that defined who we will be,” says Messiah Senior Pastor Steve Richards.
Research shows that 22% of the US population attends church regularly; 27% identify as agnostic, atheist or have no interest in church; and 6% associate with a religion other than Christianity. That leaves 45% of the population that identifies as Christians but have no church.
“We recognize that we live in a post-Christian culture. Most people in America do not have a church — even though most would consider themselves a Christian,” Pastor Steve says. “What if we could be the church — or the community — for 45% of the population who don’t have a church? They love Jesus — they just don’t like the church, or their impression of the church is not one with which they connect. They have needs, dreams, hopes and desires just like those of us who are at church.”
Knowing that Christians who go to church share similar needs and dreams with those who don’t have a church home, and wanting to wrap our arms around our community in a bigger way, led to our Messiah 2022 Strategic Goal:
Messiah Church will be identified as a place that invests in the lives of people (including the next generation) in our community by providing growth, care and serving opportunities.
This strategic goal is an extension of — or a way to deliver on — Messiah’s Brand Promise: At Messiah, we make life better. Messiah would become the Center for a Better Life.
“Just as Interfaith Outreach is the one-stop-shop for people in the area who have economic challenges, what if Messiah Church is the one-stop-shop for people who want a better life?” Pastor Steve asks. “I think everyone wants a better life. Let’s be the place that helps people be better at relationships, better parents, better with their finances…”
Including the Next Generation
The “next generation” isn’t just the children — although Messiah Church has consistently demonstrated their heart for the children in the church and in the community. It’s also about the next generation of people. The strategic goal acknowledges the need to build valuable programming today that also enables Messiah to contribute to a vibrant community of tomorrow.
“It’s easy to say it’s all about me, but we always need to be concerned about what we’re doing for the next generation,” says Pastor Steve.
To do that requires that we continue to listen to the needs that exist in the community — like we did with our initial connection with Oakwood Elementary School and the evolution of the Bloom Totes for Hope program. The plan includes tactics to help uncover services currently available in the community, which will impact where we focus our efforts within the community.
“Part of our journey is to figure out what is needed, so we can begin to offer that — not because the next step is to start attending worship, because that is back to ‘what I need’ — but because we love our neighbor where they are,” says Pastor Steve.
Providing Growth, Care and Serving Opportunities
Being the Center for a Better Life is the over-arching goal, and the planning team developed four additional focus areas out of the input and ideas that were shared by the congregation: Communication, Children & Families, Youth, and Serving & Servants. As the focus areas came together, the group noticed that the Messiah Staff was already aligned that way.
“It all started coming together so well — it fit like a glove. If this isn’t the Holy Spirit working…” says Barb Kula, Messiah Church member who facilitated the Strategic Plan working sessions and continues to serve in a project management role. The Strategic Plan lays the groundwork for how we build upon programs that work today to be more inclusive of the community — and how we add to those successes with programming that helps everyone fill gaps in their lives.
Communications – We want everyone to know what’s happening at Messiah. We need to tailor messages so they resonate with everyone who reads them, are clear and concise, and are delivered in multiple formats. Offering new tools like a Messiah App and “TED Talks” can help us all stay more connected with each other. Elevating our presence in the community will help everyone associate Messiah Church with activities that will help them live a better life.
Children & Families – We want Messiah to be a magnet for kids and their families, to strengthen families and their link to God. We will build on the successes of Art Camp and the Oakwood School partnership, offering more programs in community venues. Offering speakers and programs on issues that impact families (like sibling rivalry and stress) will help everyone in the community. We want kids to feel comfortable and welcome, so kid-chosen colors and appealing decor will be added to the atrium and children’s area downstairs.
Youth – We want youth to know that there are caring adults who support them — and that Messiah is a safe, welcoming, friendly space for all youth. We will show up for the youth in our community. We will develop relationships with area high schools and middle schools to better understand (and fulfill) their needs, and build on current partnerships like the Wayzata Schools Partners in Prevention, to expand programs that address youth mental health.
Serve – We believe that serving gives each of us a way to practice putting others first and living as true followers of Jesus Christ. In the next three years, everyone will have an opportunity to serve, both in new and ongoing serving ministries, that aligns with their gifts and the needs of the community. Through time serving together, we will serve more people, build new and deeper relationships with each other, and draw closer to Jesus Christ.
Investing in the Lives of People
The Strategy Team put all the ideas within each of these focus areas on paper. It’s a long list! Many of the ideas from within one focus area require involvement from another focus area — serving at Oakwood addresses both Children & Youth and Serving, for example. Since this is a 3-Year-Plan, some ideas can be implemented today, while others won’t start until 2020 or 2021, based on resource availability.
Many groups are already living this vision of Messiah being the Center for a Better Life for those who don’t have a church home. From the 20 children in the community who participated in Art Camp in June, to the Bloom families who enjoy food and fellowship in Heritage Hall, to the residents of RidgePointe who call Messiah their church even though they’ve never set foot in the building but watch online, together, every week, to the growing community of Young at Heart who now fill Heritage Hall with their fellowship…we are already reaching out into the community.
The goal now and for 2022, is to have more programs like this — programs that fill a need in the community and help make life better for us all.
What You Can Do Today
We can all begin to prepare for the future today. When we have more members of the community walking into our building, they need to know that they are welcome — that everyone is welcome. It might be your first thought to connect with your friends at church (and expect them to connect with you). Instead, seek out the person you don’t know.
“I hear quite often from people that the first impression of Messiah is that we’re warm and welcoming. Now we have to take the next step, to be willing to establish relationships. Maybe we think we don’t need another friend, but maybe we would find the best friend ever,” says Pastor Steve. “The next person I meet could change my life.”
In addition, watch for opportunities to participate in Listening Sessions and to share your gifts. Becoming the Center for a Better Life will take the prayers and work of the entire congregation — and be open to where this plan takes us.
“Sometimes we start off on one thing and it may take us to a place we never imagined. We need to be ready when it takes us beyond where we were prepared to go,” says Pastor Steve. “We have an exciting future before us as a church.”
Updated Monday, June 24 – The next Strategic Planning Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9. Please keep this team in your prayers as they continue to work towards a plan taking Messiah Church into 2022.
Updated Wednesday, May 29 – Strategic Planning conversations, planning and prayers are continuing with the staff and coach Barb Kula, as we look for opportunities to create synergy across ministry areas. You are invited you to be in prayer for this process as well by praying this prayer:
Lord, help us to know, love, and serve you.
Guide us as we listen for your direction.
Use us to reach the people beyond our walls.
Make us a blessing to those in need.
And in everything, we want to honor you.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Updated Thursday, May 8 – The Strategic Planning Team meet for the second time on the evening of Tuesday, April 30 and the Holy Spirit was at work! The room was full of energy and engagement that ignited the team and brought forth lots of great ideas. Now the staff is still hard at work, guided by the laser-focused coaching skills of Barb Kula, to bring forth common connections, strategies, tactics and deliverables in the four focus areas:
- Children and Families
- Youth Ministry
- Empowering Servant Leaders
Updated Monday, April 15 – Messiah Church’s mission is to have significant impact in the lives of everyone who engages in ministry here, as well as with our community and the world. Through your generosity of time, wisdom, prayer and resources, we have seen thousands of lives transformed since our beginning 150 years ago. As a church, we have never been in a better position to be intentional about how we can maximize our impact in the lives of those who are here as well as those beyond our walls.
On Saturday, April 13, a team of strategic leaders (including our Servant Steering Team, staff and 8-10 other high level leaders) gathered with our coach, Steve Fredlund, to share ideas and make decisions about where we should focus over the next three years. This was a time of prayer and reflection on where we have been, clarifying where we want to go, and then deciding where we should focus to have the greatest impact while moving toward our vision. Sometimes planning can seem dull, ordinary, and pointless… but this is not the case for us! This is a vibrant time of dreaming about our future, capturing input, and inviting the entire church into a time of prayer in preparation to take the steps needed to carry out our mission in the most transformational way we can.
We want every voice heard and we want everyone engaged.
We are the church together so we are inviting the entire congregation to engage in three different ways:
- Share your thoughts by Sunday, March 24, through the survey that was provided.
- Join in prayer for those involved and every step of the planning process.
- Engage with those who are part of the Strategic Planning Team and share your thoughts, hopes and dreams.
This is not a process for the elite few to be decided behind closed doors and then mandated; we want this to be a collaborative process fueled by the hearts of the good people of Messiah. We are grateful for our past and excited about our future…together!
If you have questions about this Strategic Planning process, contact Pastor Tami Luckhardt at (763) 473-6968.
Engage with the Strategic Planning Team
If you have questions regarding this process or wish to share your hopes and dreams directly with a team member, the following people are serving and are available to you for conversation:
Servant Steering Team
Tami Luckhardt – firstname.lastname@example.org or (763) 473-6968 ext.103
Steve Richards – email@example.com or (763) 473-6968 ext.102
Program Staff (All staff may be reached at (763) 473-6968. See extension below.)
Joy Ann Harmon – firstname.lastname@example.org or ext.113
Tracy Ickes – email@example.com or ext.111
Karen Klekner – firstname.lastname@example.org or ext.115
Kami Pohl – email@example.com or ext.114
Sami Tierney – firstname.lastname@example.org or ext.116