Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appealing to the 'Nones'

The GPS task force is moving toward completing its job of recommending ways for Second to be the church in the next few years. (For a timetable, see our Dec. 10 blog posting.)

As that happens, it's helpful to look again at the reality of religion in America today and to remember that there are lots and lots of spiritually hungry people outside of churches who might be willing, under the right circumstances, to consider what being a disciple of Jesus Christ might mean for them.

To help all of us get a sense of what such folks are thinking, we could read this piece by someone who considers himself in that unaffiliated group -- often called the "Nones" because when they're asked which of a long list of religions they subscribe to they cite "none of the above." It's a piece worth our attention.

The GPS report will suggest ways to engage the "Nones" while also making sure that we take excellent and compassionate care of the folks already inside Second's walls.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A timetable for the GPS report

The GPS planning team has been at work since mid-July, listening to the congregation, assessing where Second Church is now, praying for guidance and trying to discern where the living God would move us in the next few years.

We are closing in on a report to be presented first to Session, then to all the church officers and then to the full congregation.

Here's at least the tentative timetable:

After conversations with some individual church leaders, we'll be presenting a report to Session on Jan. 17. The report will be full of recommendations as well as ideas for how to implement those recommendations. When Session receives our report it won't automatically be approving all of our ideas. Rather, Session -- and later the whole congregation -- will need a chance to digest the report and decide how best to proceed, though there are some actions we hope the Session will consider quickly. The GPS, after all, has no authority to implement anything. Rather, the GPS is in the analysis and recommendation business.

The report will be presented to all the officers on Feb. 3 and 4 at the annual officers retreat at the Heartland Presbyterian Center in Parkville. At the retreat held early this year, officers kicked off the GPS work by participating in a workshop about our future led by Leta Anderson, the professional planner the GPS has been working with.

The full congregation will be introduced to the GPS report at the annual congregational meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Once the report is presented that evening, the work of the GPS task force will be done, but the work of the officers, staff and the whole congregation will have just begun.

Members of the GPS are excited about the work we've done and the many wonderful ideas about how to be the church in the years ahead that have arisen from our process. Thanks to all of you who have participated in our work. Second is full of people who are passionate about being disciples of Jesus Christ and proclaiming the gospel in word and deed. And our prayer is that each person in the congregation -- and eventually many people outside, too -- will find something in the report to embrace with passion so Second can move confidently into a future full of promise and hope..