This fall is an exciting time in the life of Christ Presbyterian Church. As our 2015-2016 ministry program year begins there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm among our members and friends. I am particularly excited to announce our plan to do short, mid and long term visioning and goal setting.
Our congregation has been operating under vision and goals that were identified a long time ago. Many of the goals were in direct response to moving from an interim to called pastor. We should have undertaken a significant review of these mission/vision and goals some time ago but overall they have served us well.
I am proud to say that we have made great progress on most of the goals that were set at that time. We also have had a great deal of positive growth in our congregation’s sense of identity and purpose. In the past eight years we have focused significant time and spiritual energy on ensuring we have a healthy internal and external dynamic.
Along the way we have developed a strong sense of mission, evangelism and service. Our worship has developed its unique sense of awe. We also negotiated a few key staff transitions.
I have been amazed by the ability of Christ Presbyterian Church to deal with change. We have transformed our organizational structure in order to meet our unique needs and northern Virginia lifestyle. Our bonds with partner ministries like Western Fairfax Christian Ministries have been expanded. In a bold move we even spent a long stretch of time talking about the E-word (evangelism).
Our congregation is not the same congregation it was when I arrived eight years ago. This is true beyond the reality of staff and membership. Our community has changed. Our understanding of calling as a church has also transformed. I have seen a dynamic shift in our congregation’s ethos. We have embraced a deeper sense of God’s calling to be engaged in the lives of those outside our congregational walls. This isn’t to say we didn’t have this already but over the course of time I have seen this go from a desire to an expectation of mission.
With all this change in congregational life and community it is clear that we need to make sure that we are addressing the ever-changing reality of our call. To that end we will be taking the fall and early winter to review our congregational life and mission in a deliberate, thoughtful and prayerful way.
We are going to begin this process in September with the help of a useful assessment tool from Holy Cow! Consulting. This tool, The CAT Scan (Church Assessment Tool) will allow our congregation to help the session get a reading on the life of our congregation. I will share more on the CAT Scan in the future.
Following the completion of the CAT Scan the Session will receive an interpretation of the findings from a trained interpreter. Our presbytery (National Capital Presbytery) has invested a great deal of time and money in training local interpreters to do this work. (I am one of the interpreters but won’t be doing our interpretation.) Once the interpretation with the session is completed the results will be shared in various forums with the congregation.
We will then use the findings of the CAT Scan and other tools to help us identify our core mission/vision and goals. All along the way there will be opportunities for the whole congregation to provide insights, feedback and dreams. We hope to complete this process early in 2016.
The goal of this process will be a mission/vision for our congregation to rally around. We will also ensure that we set short, mid and long-term goals that are concrete and achievable.
The first part of this process is critical. In early to mid September we will ask everyone who participates in the life of our congregation to complete the CAT Scan. This is done predominantly online but we will ensure that those who aren’t able to access online can provide the same feedback in other ways. The tool will be available to anyone who identifies as part of our church. This means regular participants and those who aren’t as active in our life together should participate.
In coming weeks I will be writing more about the CAT Scan and how it works. Please look for that information as well as the invitation to complete the tool.
I strongly support the need to get input from all segments of the church – from the youth to the OWLS. I don’t want this to become just an electronic process. We need face-to-face discussions.