Minister’s Moment, March 2020
Five years ago, the members and friends of Peoples Church discerned that it was time to enter Developmental Ministry: a time-limited, goal-oriented program designed to help struggling congregations stabilize, achieve their goals, and prepare to call a settled minister.
I know it would have been much easier not to do this. It would have been quicker and simpler to just ignore the underlying issues in the congregation and head right into search for another called minister; but of course, you didn’t. You boldly made the decision to do the hard work of Developmental Ministry.
The Developmental Ministry Goals you came up with as a congregation in 2015-2016 were specific, thoughtful, and on point:
- Establish church governance structures and practices that make the best use of church resources.
- Develop, implement, and maintain a financial stewardship system based on generosity and stewardship as theological foundations understood by all members of the Peoples Church community.
- Communicate positively and consistently among stakeholders.
- Develop and maintain rich and vigorous processes for attracting and integrating members.
- Develop and implement a plan for increasing Peoples Church presence and involvement in the geographical and religious communities of Cedar Rapids and beyond.
Four years later, how do you think we are doing? I’d say we have made considerable progress on all of these goals, especially the first two.
We have successfully transitioned into Policy Governance (a governance model with clear lines of authority and accountability, which is already liberating us for action and achieving results), and we have emerged from years of deficit budgets into a new era of financial stability (with giving up 29% since 2016, our endowment 50% larger than it was in 2016, our most recent fiscal year ending with a surplus, and a balanced budget for 2020).
The question before the congregation now is “How will we know when we are done with developmental ministry?” Or to put it another way, “how will we know when we are ready to call our next settled minister?”
The PCUU Board has started to think about these questions and is working on a Developmental Ministry Progress Report which will be released at the May Congregational Meeting on Sunday, May 17th. And they are looking for input. So please talk to them about the accomplishments you have seen and been a part of these last four years, as well as the gaps in our efforts and the areas in which we still need to do some work.
I am also open to input and would love your feedback. I look forward to discerning our future together.