Friday, August 26, 2011

Young families respond to questions

Ask Second Church members questions and you'll get answers -- thoughtful, insightful and helpful answers at that.

Some of the crowd at the Rock home Aug. 20
That's what the GPS team did last Saturday, Aug. 20, when some of us gathered with young Second Church families at the home of Paul and Stacey Rock.

Their answers will help guide the GPS as we work toward a 3- to 5-year plan for the church. Here they are:

Answers in response to what Second does best:

  • We do worship well and offer alternative times.

  • Godly Play is a great program. Keep it.

  • We have lots of great mission partners to get involved with.

  • The Wednesdays Together programs have helped keep people active and connected to others in the church.

  • Second does well at getting people involved in ministries of the church without being coercive.

  • The many groups that exist in the church offer ways to connect.

  • Allowing people to come to church in more casual dress is helpful.

  • The children’s programming beyond Sunday School, such as kids choir and including kids in worship services. We do well with young kids.

  • We do community well and are good at welcoming new members

  • Our sermon series. Relevant to all members.

  • We welcome a diverse membership.

  • We have an excellent music program.

  • Second does well marking and celebrating the seasons of our liturgical year.

  • Welcoming, nurturing and familial ministries.

Answers in response to the question about what Second should be doing that it’s not or doing better:

  • Programming for older children, especially teens, needs to be improved. Young families want their children to go off to college thinking about where to find a church there.

  • Second appeals to people who understand church but does less well with welcoming people who are mostly clueless about church.

  • Second members sometimes ignore new members and seems unfriendly to seekers. People of various age groups should be intentionally assigned to greet anyone in the service they don’t know.

  • Some ideas for educating our children better:
--      Sunday School needs to start earlier. Age 3 and up.
--     More engaging curriculum for all levels of children education. 
--     Have Sunday School during one of the worship services to allow parents to enjoy service without children and make Sunday mornings not a 4-hour routine.
--     Provide a Questionnaire/Survey for Parents of Children grades 3-7, to complete with their children asking about ideas for a more engaging and exciting Sunday School experience. The idea behind this is two-fold. First, it would allow us to provide a better experience the children would enjoy being a part of, thus keeping them involved in the church through high school, college and beyond.

  • Provide more interactive mission work for all ages. That would provides togetherness amongst members and community

  • Better communication across the board

Answers in response to the question of what Second needs to do to survive and thrive:

  • If we take on ministries requiring major commitments, we need to make it known in the community that we’re doing that.

  • We must make sure that our contributions to programs and ministries outside our church walls are visible to people who are served by or who walk through those facilities.

  • Let’s think about what the community needs and wants from our church building, such as a cafĂ©, a meditation or reading room, things for kids to do, etc.

  • We need to send postcards or other communications to people living near our church asking for their ideas.

Answers in response to the question about roadblocks that might keep us from getting to where we want to be:

  • We might rely too much on our history — which is to say, having too much pride in our history and not enough focus on our future.

  • We might be thinking too small.

  • We’d hurt ourselves if we ignore the suburbs as a place from which to draw members.

  • If we can’t find ways to engage and keep our members in their 20s and 30s, we’ll be in trouble.

  • We’d make a big mistake by not finding ways to get connected to UMKC in some prominent and intentional way. (Mostly this doesn’t mean expecting students and faculty to show up at Second but finding ways for us to be on campus.)

  • We’d injure our future if we didn’t consider some alternative worship service times and styles.

Answers in responses to the question of how we can find and develop resources needed to achieve our dreams:

  • ConnectFest is a good start, but some people just need to be asked.

  • Let’s explore and develop opportunities to contribute our time, such as painting a room or helping with grounds-keeping.

  • Because people give to things that excite them, we need to motivate them to consolidate giving to Second in a focused way.

  • We need to consider creating a marketing/publicity plan or program.

And, finally, here’s a “wish list”

--      Provide a contemporary, or alternative, service
--      How about a Saturday Evening service?
--      Church Night for all once a week for Christian education and community service
--      Shorter services (45 minutes)
--      A workout facility/gym at the church
--      Village U type offerings (walk/jog, handworks, bible study)
--      A children’s indoor play gym (i.e. McDonald’s)
--      A coffee shop

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