Positioned and Ready to Make Progress
By Peter Vanderveen
The key is to act with a sense of urgency without having to suffer a crisis first.
This was part of the presentation made by Dr. James Lemler at the Growth Summit held on October 27. He also noted that this kind of productive urgency is relatively uncommon. Often, instead, we operate under the assumption that organizations—and especially churches—are able to simply continue quite apart from preparing for their future. It’s this mistake that leads to crisis, which displaces the urgency of thriving with the sheer need to survive. Lemler lauded our parish for our foresight in deciding to be urgent toward the good while we are still strong and have the resources to accomplish great things.
More than sixty church leaders met for the summit, which included several workshop discussions focused on the mission of The Redeemer, nurturing effective leadership, and engaging the whole parish in furthering church growth. Participants received the full data gathered from the September all-parish survey, and their own reflections and comments followed presentations by the rector, Doug Raymond, the Rector’s Warden, and Dr. Lemler, who is currently the rector of Christ Church, Greenwich, CT. The summit was intended to be a significant first step in sharing the work of the Growth and Development committee with a broader segment of the congregation; it was also meant to be the beginning of a conversation about mission, purpose, and church goals that can be shared by the whole parish with the greater community. Feedback from the morning was enthusiastic; individuals often noted a new and increased sense of possibility for The Redeemer’s future.
Urgency is not too strong a term for our aspirations—if what it conveys is our enthusiasm for the Gospel as it is expressed through the varied ministries of the parish and for the opportunities we have to build up the work and the strength of the church. For many, their involvement is easily taken for granted. The church’s message and promise become private satisfactions most often left unshared. This is the tendency we hope to reverse in two distinct ways: first by increasing the number of persons in leadership positions within the parish and making the committees more structurally dynamic; and second, by creating a culture of growth at The Redeemer where parishioners clearly know what they value and feel confident in inviting others to come and experience our mission, fellowship and worship.
From the response of those in attendance, we are well positioned and ready to make progress.