Write the Vision
Then the Lord answered and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. Habakkuk 2:2
At their joint meeting on Tuesday night, July 28, the Church Council and Deacons approved the hiring of consultant Rev. Christopher Gambill, PhD, of the Center for Congregational Health to guide our formal visioning process, called Write the Vision. Chris will be with us on Sunday, August 16, to roll out the Write the Vision process. The entire congregation is invited to stay after worship for lunch and to hear his presentation.
After three months of research and interviews, the ad hoc committee tasked with finding an outside consultant to help us in the vision process Scott proposed earlier this year made the recommendation to hire Chris Gambill, who brings years of experience in both congregational ministry and church consulting.
Chris joined the staff of the Center for Congregational Health full time in 2004 and became Senior Consultant. He helped develop the Center’s leadership coaching services in 2005 and became a founding Board Certified Coach in 2012. He now serves as the Center’s director. Chris is also an active member at First Baptist Church in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, where he teaches youth Sunday school. For a full bio of Chris, click here.
Chris comes to us highly recommended from leaders within CBF and the greater church landscape, including other regional churches that have worked with him on similar visioning processes. In talking with Chris, the committee was struck by his knowledge of church dynamics, commitment to the local church as an active lay leader in his home congregation, and the clarity of his proposed process. The enthusiastically recommended him and his proposed process to church leadership.
Chris has proposed what he calls a “Congregational-Based Discernment Process.” This process will include a series of onsite meetings with a lay leadership team and with the entire congregation over a period of approximately 6 months. The focus will be on developing a strategic mission and ministry plan for the congregation’s future growth and ministry. The process will be guided by a lay leadership team (selected by the congregation) working with Chris in designing and leading the events. This approach seeks a high level of congregational participation and aims to engender a high level of ownership for the mission and ministry vision.
The goals of this process will be:
· To clarify our congregation’s unique mission, values and vision for mission ministry
· Determine areas of focus to build upon the congregation’s current strengths
· Determine areas for future mission and ministry
· Develop ministry goals and action plans to guide the congregation in fulfilling its calling during the next 3-5 years
This Write the Vision discernment process will require a series of meetings over several months, centered on 3-5 congregational meetings following Sunday morning worship. Lunch will be served and the entire congregation will participate in a guided conversation around a particular theme. These meetings will occur roughly every 4 weeks starting this fall, with a break for the holiday season in late November through December. We hope to complete the entire process by Easter of 2016.
Write the Vision will be led through an ad hoc, lay leadership team selected specifically for this purpose. This leadership team will be responsible for guiding the congregation throughout the entire process.
The leadership team will be selected by asking each congregation member to nominate as many as 12 people to serve. Nominations can be submitted online here, or through paper ballots and ballot boxes located around the church.
The ad hoc committee who selected Chris will receive these nominations, compile them, and use the list of those nominated to create a slate to be presented to the congregation for approval. After the leadership team is elected, the team will meet for initial training and orientation and then as often as needed during the remainder of the process.
Chris writes, “It is important to note that this visioning work is intended to be the work of the congregation and not just its leaders or the consultant. The congregation itself, along with the lay leaders of the process must carry out the discernment work if it is to be meaningful and effective.” Chris’s role will be to act as guide, coach and facilitator as needed, but he cannot do the work for us.
The Center for Congregational Health is a nonprofit, fee-based ministry. Costs are calculated on the time spent with, or on the behalf of, the congregation and/or its leaders. The consulting fee for this visioning process is $12,625, which will be covered by a very generous gift from within the congregation. The congregation will be responsible for covering all of Chris’s travel costs, meals and accommodations.
1. The next step is for the congregation to nominate a Write the Vision leadership team. Nominations can be submitted online here or by paper ballot in the ballot boxes located around the church by Sunday, August 9. Each member is encouraged to nominate up to 12 people to serve on this team. This leadership team will be presented on Sunday, August 16, when Chris will be with us to kick of the Write The Vision process. If you would like to serve on the leadership team, please feel free to nominate yourself.
2. Be looking out for a schedule of congregational meetings and make plans to attend and participate in as many as possible. Your voice is essential to Write the Vision!
3. Pray! Pray for our church as we embark on this journey of discernment, and pray for those who will lead us through it. The success of Write the Vision will depend on the congregation’s engagement and openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit.
Be looking out for more information in the coming days and weeks. If you have any questions about the Write the Vision process please contact Scott.