Saturday, November 14, eight more courageous church teams started their own SHIFT journey to move toward greater effectiveness in ministry.
- Brogden UMC (Dudley-Capital District)
- Davis Street UMC (Burlington-Corridor District)
- Evergreen UMC (Chapel Hill-Fairway District)
- Norman Charge: Norman UMC (Norman), Jones Springs UMC (Ellerbe), and Concord UMC (Ellerbe)-Fairway District
- Rose Hill UMC (Rose Hill-Harbor District)
- Saulston UMC (Goldsboro-Capital District)
Their energy and hopefulness was palpable. Many spoke of their desire for their church to grow into new areas of ministry and to become more fully engaged in their community. Brenda Wilson (Davis Street UMC) describes her reason for being part of SHIFT: “I want our church to be a vital church that is inspiring to those around us and our community and the community at large.” Others echoed the same sentiment: Denise Kearney (Saulston UMC) hopes her church will discover ways to reach out “farther and deeper” into their community.
Church leadership teams, including the pastor and key lay persons, meet one Saturday each month for nine months. After that, pastors and leadership teams work to fully implement learned skills and disciple-making processes in ways that are relevant to the church’s setting. Chris Leak (pastor, Rose Hill) hopes that SHIFT will provide an “opportunity for us to rethink how church is done…and encourage our congregation to find new ways to be open to ministries that are present to us.” In so doing, he hopes to “inspire a new age of church for [the younger congregation] and a greater level of participation from them.”
This first meeting was filled with worship, prayer, and engagement with God’s Spirit and with one another. Church leadership teams began to explore their desired missional outcomes for their own local settings. Teams considered establishing a missional vision and goals based on congregational strengths, community needs, and God’s discerned desire for their settings.
Key considerations for each leadership team focused on aligning their church programs with their church mission. SO THAT questions were a helpful part of the discussion:
- What are the key things we must do SO THAT our mission and outcomes are advanced?
- How can our current ministry practices be improved SO THAT they better embody our mission?
David Moehring (pastor, Brogden) feels “excited because we want to take the church from just doing church as we’ve always done church without any sense of purpose or direction to finally see the mission and vision for where God is leading us SO THAT we can align everything we do…to make disciples for Jesus Christ.” This, David predicts, “will bring excitement and energy and new life not only to our congregation but, I believe, to the community as well.”
In the months ahead, teams will continue to explore ways they can increase effectiveness in making disciples for Jesus Christ and in being the hands and feet of Christ in their communities. Debbie Matthis (pastor, Saulston) believes the process will help them “reframe the way we think about being in ministry with God and the community. We want to reach the community, we want to be effective in making disciples for the transformation of the world, and I hope that SHIFT is going to help us learn how to do that better.”