I want to introduce to you the St. Paul Five. At the Sunday April 23 church conference, we voted to move forward with five Ministry Action Plans (MAP) from our Consultation weekend. Over the next 18 months, we will focus on these five key areas that will help us be faithful to God’s mission.
Here are the “St. Paul Five” areas and why I believe they will help St. Paul be a church where people can find the love and hope of God:
1) Shared Vision: Vision gives purpose. Purpose gives passion. Individuals without purpose usually lack passion. Churches without purpose usually lack passion. Together we will reflect on St. Paul’s values, community needs, and God’s purpose to discern God’s vision for our congregation. This area will give us focus, purpose, and passion.
2)Discipleship: We experience a deeper sense of God’s love through discipleship. We’ve already been working to create a discipleship pathway so we might grow deeper in love for God and others. This area of focus continues that work and will help us create a simple, intentional, and understandable path for growth in our discipleship.
3)Community Outreach: As Dorothy said to Toto “We aren’t in Kansas anymore…” Yes, things have changed. Culture has changed. The way people spend their time has changed. There’s a sense of despair and hopelessness around us. Jesus is the hope of the world, but people aren’t coming to church. We must go to the people. Jesus SENT his disciples into the world so the world might know hope and love. This area of focus will help us know our community and equip us to be a light of hope and healing.
4)Leadership Development: Jesus continues to look for those who will share his love with the world. We can all point to someone who shared Jesus with us; Sunday School teacher, pastor, friend, parent. This area of focus will enable St. Paul to be a place where leaders are developed to share God’s love.
5)Effectively reach and integrate families into the life of St. Paul: Many families feel stressed with multiple activities and parents with increased workloads. Many families no longer look to the church for hope and help. We know that Jesus brings peace…even to busy lives! While we continue to strengthen our ministry to all age groups, we will be intentional about integrating new families into the life of our church. Many of you call St. Paul your family. You have experienced God’s love through this church. This area of focus will enable us to extend our family so others can know the love, hope, help, and peace our church family can provide!
We won’t be working on all five areas at the same time, but addressing the five areas over 18 months. We won’t be working by ourselves, but with a team. One wonderful aspect of being part of the United Methodist Church and a connectional system is that we journey with others. We will have a church coach, Tony Alstott, who will be helping us along the way. We will also have resources from the conference as well. We are not moving forward alone, but with other brothers and sisters who desire to see God’s love shared and God’s kingdom grow.
These are exciting times for St. Paul! God is with us and God will be with us!
Over the next year or so there will be opportunities for growth and involvement. You are always invited to become part of what is happening at St. Paul. I don’t know what those opportunities will look like at this time, but I believe there will be opportunities for prayer, outreach, spiritual growth, stepping out in faith, and, at times, moving out of our comfort zone.
Our first opportunity in this journey is a very special service June 11th. You will want to make sure to mark your calendars. The Service of Prayer and Preparation helps us deepen our love for God and others. I highly encourage you to come to this service of renewal! I am confident you will be glad you did!