A Strange Thing Happened on the Way to Next Year


This past Monday evening, I sat with six leaders on Council as we discussed some of the issues arising from lack of resources — money and people. It was a conversation we have had before, but it appeared to me at this point we are facing some questions that have to be answered in the here and now.

As we are getting closer to our annual congregational meeting on June 23rd after worship, we are facing the following issues:

  • The good news is our pledging units' increased their giving. The bad news is we have only 30 pledging units.

  • Our anticipated shortfall for this year will be around roughly $42,000. Next year's is projected to be $51,000.

  • The good news is we have had very dedicated leaders this year. The bad news is right now we cannot fill seven of those positions.

It has become quite apparent to the leadership and this congregation that "status quo" has a time limit to it. Thus, we are creating a staffing structure in collaboration with Second-First, as well as a sharing of possibilities of doing joint Bible studies/studies, youth group gatherings, social-justice events, and special worship experiences with Second-First and Woodside.

Yet, we need to address our own current leadership model and structure. We have the possibility of having six officers of the Council, and eight ministry chairs. Since I arrived in 2017 we have not been able to fulfill all the officer's positions and ministry positions we have in our by-laws. Now with seven vacant positions, perhaps it is time to look at our leadership model.

I have suggested to this leadership, as I have of any congregation's leadership I have served — as a settled pastor or interim pastor — that a review of how they conduct business of the church should evolve around their current vision and mission of the church. Every meeting — Council or Ministry — should focus around these items. As Terry White so eloquently put it, "Your resources and vision have to be aligned." At the present, both are in need of being addressed.

I leave you with the three visions initiatives this congregation place in front of itself with our visioning session led by Jim Powers. Please note the emphasis on "congregation." It is not simply about letting "leadership" figure out how to find "ministers" to serve as they are gifted, but it is the responsibility of the congregation to step forth to help in fulfilling these vision points.

God is calling SCUCC to be:

  • A congregation that strives diligently to create worship experiences that are God centered and support everyone's connection to and experience with God.

  • A congregation engaging people to make a difference in their world through fulfilling their spiritual needs both within the walls of Spring Creek UCC and beyond.

  • A congregation that is intentional about connecting with and supporting its members.

As we gather for our annual meeting and move into our new year, may we all be willing to contribute to how leadership structure and resources will be aligned. I believe they can be some exciting opportunities to do that, as well as I am excited about the possibilities of working collaborative with Second-First and Woodside!

Next week I will be on vacation next Monday-Saturday. Rev. Rebecca White-Newgren or Rev. Becky Erbe at Second-First will be providing pastoral care in the event of an emergency. The church's number is 815-963-8431.

I will see you in worship this Sunday and on June 2 as we begin our June sermon series, "Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water."

Pastor Steve

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