Thursday, October 27, 2011

Going from good to great

One of the resources that the GPS has drawn on as we think about what to recommend for Second's future is the small monograph Good to Great and the Social Sectors by Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, a highly popular study of companies that went from being pretty good to being excellent.

This past Wednesday evening, Paul Rock described to a class at Second some of the ideas Collins writes about and how they apply to Second and the work of the GPS.

One idea is not to get all focused on measuring what Collins calls "inputs" but, rather, to pay attention to the "outputs," or the results of what you're doing.

In a church setting that means not obsessing about membership numbers, meeting budgets, minutes, policies, maintaining tradition, the number of baptisms and so forth. Rather, church leaders should be assessing how the work and witness of the congregation is helping to transform lives, meet member and societal needs, give more of our time and talent, serve more people and so forth.

Among many other points, Collins emphasizes the need to "get the right people on the bus and in the right seats," which is a reference in church terms to leadership. What that means for the Nominating Committee going forward is that it will have to do an even more focused job of matching talents and passions of our members to our governance needs.

Well, there is much more in the Collins book that has been helpful to the GPS, and it's a little booklet (and quick read) we recommend. You can even order it on by clicking here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What if they can't even find us?

We hope you've been able to attend one of the first two Wednesdays Together classes about the GPS at which Paul Rock and Molly Hundley have been the speakers. (That's Molly in this photo in front of the screen on which she showed some PowerPoint slides.)

Both presentations have been excellent, with Paul giving an overview of the way many churches today are struggling to find ways to speak to new generations of spiritually hungry people and Molly sharing some of the epiphanies she and others have had as the GPS looks at where Second Church is today and where it wants to go in the next few years.

One finding that particularly distressed Molly, she said, was that Second Church is almost invisible to people on the Internet searching Google for churches in the Brookside area -- and Google is the way most people looking for churches in our area today will start the search.

Molly used these search terms "Kansas City, churches, Brookside." Try it yourself. Second's Web site finally shows up at the bottom of the third page of returns. On Yahoo, a reference to Second shows up on the first page of returns but Second's own Web site didn't pop up until the third page.

So Second simply must do a better job being visible, both on the Web and in person (meaning both our people and our building, which many people driving by on Brookside have no idea is a church).

There's one more week of GPS conversation as part of Wednesday Together. Join us this coming Wednesday, Oct. 26, as Molly and Paul wrap up these sessions. They'll be in Witherspoon starting at 6:15 p.m. after the 5:30 meal in Westminster Hall.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

An idea from our teens

A couple of GPS members met with a small group of Second's teens for lunch on Sunday, Oct. 16, and out of that conversation about church and the future came an idea that may result in an initiative long before the final GPS report is even issued.

We were talking about how the church can help them make sense of events in the news and the public issues in the world and in our own community, such as homelessness.

Paula Isgrig reminded us that our youth would be participating in the second annual "One Homeless Night" event next month, when they will spend a night outside on the church lawn.

Suppose, someone suggested, that next morning the youth meet with some adults who can help give them an accurate picture of homelessness in the Kansas City area and a description of who is doing what about it.

This might even be a model for periodic youth-adult gatherings to consider other issues in the news. It's no secret that many teens don't pay much attention to the news. But one task of the church is to help everyone, young and old alike, understand what the Christian faith calls followers to do about various public issues.

Talking together about homelessness and a Christian response to it seems like a good place to start. So Paula and the teens now are thinking about how to make this adult-youth conversation happen.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thinking about worship

Worship, as you know, does not always have to happen in a sanctuary or chapel. It can happen almost anywhere and on any day.

The other evening the GPS task force was thinking aloud about the worship opportunities that Second Church offers and imagining what possibilities there might be beyond our traditional 8:15 and 10:15 a.m. Sunday services -- and what it is about those services that we might want to suggest making better.

Well, put eight or ten committed Presbyterians in a room to talk a bit about that subject and the ideas begin flying.

For instance, what if we moved worship once in awhile to a place like Loose Park, as we used to do for our Easter sunrise service? What if we offered an occasional Taizé service? (Don't know about Taizé? Click on the link and learn.) What if we had a regular rotation of lay liturgists who would be thoroughly trained for voice projection, pronunciation and other skills? What about some kind of alternative Communion service offered on a day other than Sunday? What if we participated with other faith communities to offer an interfaith worship experience to the diverse student population at UMKC? What if the preachers inserts a sheet in our bulletin with points from the sermon they would like the congregation to take home and think about? And on and on.

What ideas about worship do you want us to think about? What do you most love about worship at Second? What would you like to consider changing or improving?

Let us know either by commenting here on the GPS blog, sending an e-mail to or by dropping a note in the church file folder of Bill Tammeus, GPS moderator.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Join us on three 'Wednesdays Together'

You have a chance to hear about the GPS planning work and to make your voice heard about your own visions for Second when Dr. Paul Rock and Molly Hundley, a GPS team member, host Wednesdays Together sessions on Oct. 12, 19 and 26.

As is usually the case, each evening will start with a simple 5:30 p.m. dinner (if you're coming, please call the church office at 816-363-1300 and say so). Then the GPS gathering will start at 6:15 and go for most of an hour. If you can't make dinner, try to be at one or more of the sessions.

This will be a great opportunity to get a sense of what the GPS is up to and to share your dreams, your hopes, your fears, your wisdom.

The GPS needs to hear from all its members. So see you on Oct. 12, 19 and 26.