WCC 2020 Vision: Strategic plan DRAFT Rev 8
Outline • Assessment Findings • Three Alternatives • SPSC Recommendation • A Vision for WCC • The 2020 Strategy: Growing Faith & Finding Leadership • Strategic Imperative 1: Growing in Faith • Strategic Imperative 2: Leadership Transition Planning • Outcome: WCC 2020 = Vibrant and Energized • Appendix
I. Assessment Findings “CONSIDERABLE STRENGTHS, STABLE, BUT DECLINING” • WCC has distinct and remarkable strengths and is presently sustainable. We have actually managed to reduce the rate of decline compared to other similar churches and in the face of “category headwinds” and an overall decline in “religion” in the face of growing “spirituality”. • Over the past 20 years we have become substantially more welcoming and open, the children's/youth programs have grown exponentially, the music has been strengthened and is open to more groups, we are considerably more progressive than in the past, to name just a few examples. • There is much good going on at WCC with which to build for the future beginning with the strength of the committed people involved. • However we are still declining. • Trend lines of decline in five key areas: • membership • attendance • giving • overall budget • giving units WHY? • It is not primarily attributable to one cause, e.g. pastoral staff or membership per se, but to a group of trends best described asthe culture of the congregation. This culture was a good fit for the “Then” world (see sermon of March 10, 2013, linked below), i.e. for the period of 1945 to 1985. WCC’s congregational culture is less effective in the “Now” period (again see sermon of March 10, 2013). http://www.wcc-joinus.org/home/2020_vision/the-two-questions-sermon-by-tony-robinson/ • WCC has been the “chapel/chaplain” to Winnetka, which worked well in “Then” period/culture, but is no longer an effective model. A newer model indicates a need for greater clarity of identity, core purpose and target audience, as well as deeper membership engagement for a more robust posture in a more competitive period/culture.
I. Assessment Findings (cont.) LIFECYCLES OF A CHURCH: An important note • Further confirmation was the exercise at the March 10 Leadership Event. Virtually all respondents identified WCC as a “third quadrant church,” which means that though WCC is presently sustainable; energy (passion, excitement, intentionality, “fire”) is lacking. Other lifecycle of church markers -- inclusion, programs and administration are relatively strong. The core task: renew, re-discover, release ENERGY for a new, rapidly changing time and ministry. • Our “stable-but-declining” profile should provide motivating DISTRESS. This plan and its implementation are designed to offer a new VISION as well as FIRST STEPS. Nevertheless, RESISTANCE to change in a long-established church should not be underestimated. Moreover, despite the clear local and trans-local trends, the congregation indicated -- during the assessment phase -- high interest in “maintaining status quo” and “staying the course.” To seek simply to maintain status quo will ensure continued decline, which at some point will mean that WCC is no longer sustainable. This leads to our consideration of three alternative courses of action ….
II. Three Alternatives Alt 1: “Status Quo” • Keep doing pretty much what we are doing now and have been doing and continue a pattern of slow decline, growing smaller in membership and ministry. We will need to consider future market value of our assets as we will not need as large a sanctuary. • Also, see Alternative III below as Alt I could quickly lead to Alt III Alt 2: “Up Our Game” • In the ways suggested in this 2020 Vision Plan resulting in some short term resistance and loss of membership but long term greater vitality and moderate growth. • “Up Our Game” more aggressively. This could result in short term high levels of resistance and larger loss of present membership. Longer-term it could mean higher level of vitality and even robust growth. Alt 3: “Merge, Rent, or Sell” • It is an option to leverage WCC’s assets by merging with another congregation, renting the church, or even selling the assets. The Steering Committee does not think this is suitable for consideration at this time.
III. SPSC Recommendation Alternative 2: “Up Our Game” • Now is the time to act decisively for renewal and greater future vitality. • Such a process will require sustained focus, capacity to endure some resistance and distress, and time. • We are looking at a five year piece of work to put key building blocks in place and then another five years to make it work.
IV. A Vision for WCC 2020 Begin with the End in Mind …. In 2020 WCC will be a vibrant and energized progressive Christian church with 250 highly engaged members who: • Regularly attend Sunday services • Participate at least monthly in some other activity • Has a lesser engaged but involved population of 500+ who are inclined to become more engaged members “We will be a church that welcomes all, but may not be the best fit for everyone”
IV. A Vision for WCC 2020 (cont.) How will we know that we are there? • By 2020, and as a result of implementation of the “2020 Strategic Vision Plan,” Winnetka Congregational Church will be characterized by the following: • A concise, contemporary and operationalized statement of identity, core values and core missional purpose (which includes clarity regarding WCC’s target audience). • Greater visibility and reputational strength in Winnetka and the North Shore as a leading progressive, Christian church • New senior pastoral leadership, and staff team, in place, established and effectively leading and serving the congregation and its missionalpurpose • Reversed (or at least further slowed) patterns of decline in key indicators and demonstration of modest, sustainable growth in worship attendance, membership growth and as well as in key financial indicators
V. The 2020 Strategy Two Strategic Imperatives • Growing WCC Through Faith • Centered: A mission focused faith community • Faith Based: A vibrant faith community • Engaged: An energized faith community • Service: A supportive faith community • Stewardship: A spiritual practice • Successfully Transitioning Pastoral Leadership
1. Growing WCC Through Faith Priority A: Getting centered to be a mission-focused faith community Requires: • Fresh discernment and articulation of identity, core values and core purpose (mission) of Winnetka Congregational Church. • A transition from a generic community church identity with high historic emphasis to a clear, compelling and contemporary sense and statement of WCC identity (who we are), our core values (what we believe), and our core purpose (what we are called by God to do). • Define our “deep well” Actions: ExCo or Council to select a Discernment Committee to develop and lead this process of discernment to derive statements of identity, core values and purpose (mission). • Consider “Progressive Christianity: Eight Marks” as illustration of both identity and core values material that WCC might appropriate or adapt. • Consider sample purpose/mission statements from Leadership presentation to inform writing of concise WCC purpose/ mission. http://www.wcc-joinus.org/home/2020_vision/leadership-presentation/ • Become explicit in our “welcoming of all people” through the UCC “Open and Affirming” program and designation or the PCUSA “More Light” ministry. • Review similar materials from churches in our “competitive set” and from the list of vital mainline and progressive churches. http://www.wcc-joinus.org/home/2020_vision/churches-of-note/ • Develop a process that provides for congregational participation. Who Does This: Discernment Committee, five to ten members who are a true cross-section of the congregation. How: An iterative and open process with the congregation, Council, and ExCo per our by-laws. When: Start June, 2013 with completion of identity, core value and purpose/mission statements by November 15, 2013.
1. Growing WCC Through Faith (Cont). Priority B: Deepening Faith to be a vibrant faith community Thriving congregations deeply explore, and challenge, their faith understanding. WCC does this fairly well, and particularly well with children (grade school through Servants). However, WCC can broaden its offerings and provide more challenging and thought provoking opportunities that will collectively deepen our faith. Requires: • Transitioning from a primary emphasis on faith formation of youth and children to faith growth and deepening of all ages and stages. Actions: • Host conversations that challenge our faith perceptions (perhaps in existing Spiritual Life or Wine, Women and God groups) • Broaden our “faith deepening” with extended speaker series that challenge our thinking about our faith and extend us to the broader community • Many other ideas can be explored here, including how to engage our college students and young adults who are seeking a church Who does this: Selected ad hoc committee develops plans and programs How: Considerable and iterative discussion throughout the congregation; then to Council, ExCo for review/approval When: Start Fall 2013
1. Growing WCC Through Faith (Cont). Priority C: Engagement for an energized faith community. Worship is central to Christian life; therefore, a strong component of our membership guidelines. Yet on a typical Sunday morning there are only 150 members in attendance. We have a beautiful, yet “uncomfortably empty” sanctuary as compared to other mainline Protestant churches. Requires: • Increasing worship attendance by 50 to 100 people will strengthen the service by contributing to a sanctuary that is “comfortably full” • Increasing overall Worship energy • The pulpit and sermons should continue to be core to our worship Actions: • Create a higher level of mutual expectation for regular worship attendance at WCC. • Continue to emphasize pastoral leadership that energizes and challenges the congregation; willing to take risks • Rigorously evaluate worship and music in light of worship characteristics of growing and vital churches: “joyful,” “exciting,” “a sense of expectancy,” and “filled with a sense of God’s presence.” • Expand the musical selections to include a wider range of genres • Expand Adult Ed topics to make the previously “unchurched” feel more at home and knowledgeable • Use the front and back yards more frequently for both our enjoyment and to show others in the community who we are and that we have fun together • Offer other Sunday morning mission opportunities along the lines of delivering Wish Tree gifts and setting up for Family Promise that offer both Fellowship and Service benefits Who Does This: Selected ad hoc committee develops plans and programs How:Considerable and iterative discussion throughout the congregation; then to Council, ExCo for review/approval When:Start Fall, 2013
1. Growing WCC Through Faith (Cont). Priority D: Service as a supportive faith community Service ministry/mission is a strength of WCC and a part of the ethos of the congregation, however we aren’t affecting our members or the community to our full potential. For most of our members, service has focused on financial giving, interspersed with some limited hands-on experiences (Family Promise, A Just Harvest, Wish Tree, etc.) Requires: • Increased understanding of service as a necessary part of our faith and commitment to God. • Renewed outward orientation from a strong emphasis on responding to needs of our members to a new and deepened emphasis for WCC members to engage with and respond to the wider community. • As part of our faith which we embrace, we will invite others to share with us and make this an expectation of membership. Actions: • Our members are very accomplished in a variety of fields. Leverage the particular talents of members, not just their money. Picking hands-on service projects that “transform our members into Christian disciples who live lives of service.” • Use a Volunteer coordinator to help focus our efforts and make it easier for members to understand options and opportunities. • Increase awareness inside and outside WCC of opportunities to serve – use it to enhance our brand, increase participation, and potentially attract new members • Create intergenerational opportunities & focus on youth Who Does This: Selected ad hoc committee develops plans and programs How: Considerable and iterative discussion throughout the congregation; then to Council, ExCo for review/approval When: Start Fall, 2013
1. Growing WCC Through Faith (Cont). Priority E: Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice Our members think of stewardship as an annual discussion about money rather than a faith challenge to grow in the practice of generosity and giving as a part of their faith. Our focus needs to be on our mission and vision for 2020 and the lives we are changing. Fiscally, WCC has a healthy financial position, with some qualifiers and growing concerns. However, extending long-term trend lines indicate that fiscal issues would worsen by 2020. Requires: • Expand spiritual position on Stewardship • Stewardship should reflect the deepening faith changes that we should all experience • Continued transparency, but less time talking about money • An appropriate challenge pledge goal • Emphasis on Endowment Growth – framed as “Stewardship of Assets” Actions: • Develop a faith-centered approach to annual giving • Incorporate insights from Mission Giving Committee and their recipients. • Reframe “giving” as enhancing our core purpose and mission • Diminish budget-based approach (“costs are up, so please give more”) Who Does This:Selected ad hoc committee develops plans and programs How:Develop plan with input from Annual Giving (present and past) and Planned Giving (present and past). Understand where Mission Giving is donating. Considerable and iterative discussion throughout the congregation; then to Council, ExCo for review/approval When: Begin June, 2013
2. Successfully transitioning pastoral Leadership One of the most frequently mentioned “best practices” of successful churches is “Effective and Empowered Pastoral Leadership”. • WCC is currently blessed with an outstanding pastoral leadership team. • Joe has clearly stated that he will not be here to execute this plan. He is working closely with the Personnel Committee, keeping them informed of his retirement plans. • The most critical challenge for WCC over the next several years will be the retirement and transition of Joe and others. • The planning for this process will be an important activity led and directed by the Personnel Committee (Steve Huels, Peter Egan, Greg Klein) along with the Council and other committees to be named as required. KEY CONSIDERATIONS • The primary transition of the Senior Pastor including a possible interim, a search committee and celebrations to honor the accomplishments. Just to name a few. • Similar focus and considerations must be given to the ramifications on and possible transitions of the other staff members including Associate Pastors, Youth Ministry, Ministers of Music and others. • The Strategic Planning process currently in progress becomes even more critical in consideration and anticipation of these changes, which will take place over the next several years. • The direction put in place here will not only drive the choice of a candidate but will also set the path of the church for the years to come.
2. Successfully transitioning pastoral Leadership (Cont.) Actions: Recommend to ExCo and Council to: • Expand present Personnel Committee • Begin to actively manage anticipated Senior Pastor transition • Establish a transition timeline with Joe, as well as timeline for announcement of retirement plan to the congregation. • Review established transition model with Personnel Committee for pastoral transition (interim, pastoral succession, other) and preferred option. • Affirm a model by Sep 2013. • Appoint a Search Committee that reports directly to ExCo. • Develop criteria for new Senior Pastor with congregational input using forced choice characteristic tools of UCC or PCUSA. • Use this Strategic Plan to develop a search specification for prospective candidates for interim and for new Senior Pastor. • Consider use of a Search Firm for the Senior Pastor search process • Develop plan to ensure clear communication to congregation throughout process • Personnel Committee should conduct individual consultations with other senior staff members • Evaluate the staffing model in light of current needs and projected outcome • Plan for continuity of key programs of WCC. Who Does This: Personnel Committee and separate Search Committee How/When: Develop transition plan summer 2013 as previously approved by Council. Search Committee planning to commence per direction from Personnel Committee, Council and ExCo
VI. WCC 2020 In 2020 WCC will be a vibrant and energized progressive Christian church with 250 engaged members who: • Regularly attend Sunday services • Participate at least monthly in some other activity • Has a lesser engaged but involved population of 500+ who are inclined to become more engaged members
Appendix: Then and Now • Then and Now or Living in the Midst of a Sea Change • Then: Every respectable and upwardly mobile citizen was expected to be in church on Sunday morning.Now: Society at large cares little if someone attends worship or not. • Then: When someone moved into a new community, one of the first things they would do was locate and join a church.Now: If someone decides to join a church, it is only after a long process of deliberation and soul-searching (and church shopping!). • Then: Stores were closed on Sundays.Now: Sunday is the second busiest shopping day of the week. • Then: The phrase “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance and prayers were routinely offered in public schools.Now: Prayer is forbidden at all public school events, including graduation ceremonies. • Then: Baptism was, by and large, baptism of infants. It was “expected” as a family and societal ritual. Preparation consisted largely of communicating the logistics of the ceremony.Now: Increasingly, baptism is also of adults without prior church background or experience. It is consciously chosen. It is prepared for with a preparation course. • Then: The focus of church mission efforts was on denominationally sponsored foreign missions, and consisted largely of financial support.Now: The focus of church mission efforts is increasingly “hands-on” efforts, both in the local community and abroad through “mission trips.”
Appendix: Then and Now (cont.) • Then: A civic organization would be expected to have at least one clergyman on its board and would ask him to offer prayer before meetings.Now: A civic organization may sometimes have a clergyperson on its board, but would not ask him or her to offer a prayer. • Then: The authority of the pastor of a local church was widely recognized in the community, as well as within the church.Now: The authority of the pastor of a local church is recognized only in the church (and sometimes not even there!). • Then: The role of the laity was to help the pastor do ministry.Now: The role of the clergy is to equip the laity for their ministry. • Then: Sermons preached in “important pulpits” were often quoted or reviewed in Monday morning’s newspaper.Now: This is even hard to imagine. • Then: Worship service of “prominent churches” were broadcast on radio, free of charge as a “public service.”Now: Churches that want their services on radio or television must purchase broadcast time. • Then: The action was on Boards and Committees.Now: The excitement is, often, around Ministry Teams. • Then: There were no youth sports on Sundays or Sunday mornings.Now: Sundays are busy days at recreation centers and on sports fields with soccer, hockey, football, skiing and more. • Then: We emphasized membership.Now: We nurture discipleship