St. John’s has arrived at a crucial moment in our history. I like to think of it as a rite of passage. Of course, every year is important, but there are times when the stars align and we are invited to consider radical change that also promises great opportunity. We are, without a doubt, in such a time.
The pandemic proved something once and for all. St. John’s is determined to not only survive but to thrive no matter what we face. We saw this determination before the pandemic when, after completing a strategic plan that inspired us to realign our staff, you all stepped up and funded this plan which included hiring a full time Associate for Congregational Development. We determined at that moment to not be part of the 90% of churches in decline, but rather, to invest and start acting like the 10% of churches that were growing. Vision inspires generosity and you all caught the vision and, Wow, were you generous. Giving increased by 20% for 2020. Together, we made a commitment to our future and completed the first step in our strategic plan.
Now, we have the opportunity to take the next step in our plan: to enhance and deliberately empower our ministry to children and youth. This is especially challenging as Kellor is retiring. But she has graciously offered to make sure the baton is firmly placed in the hand of the next runner. I am optimistic because we have hired Ministry Architects, a national consulting firm that has helped churches across the nation redesign their youth ministries to meet the challenges of future generations, and we have formed a dynamite team of young leaders in our parish to work with them as we renovate how we renew and restructure our ministries.
Our job in this transition is to make sure that the baton lands in the hands of the right person and that that person is properly supported by the infrastructure of our parish. What is clear to me is that we need to be in a position to do a national search process and attract a full-time youth and family director that will bring the talent we need to put our ministry renovation plan into action. Attracting new families to St. John’s is something we all want. Now we need to step up and fund this desire. What an amazing opportunity we have!
So, as you prayerfully consider your pledge for 2022, I ask you to do two things:
Vision is the bedrock of generosity and generosity leads to gratitude which leads to more generosity. Now is a time like no other in our history. My prayer is that you will continue to be inspired by the vision so that together, we each can do what we can to assure that St. John’s meets the future with great faith and joy!
The Rev. Scott Denman+
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