This was the first year in many years where our worship revolved around a theme and short sermon series instead of the prescribed readings for the year we call the lectionary. Our theme: “Becoming a Missional Congregation” developed around topics such as “Spring Training,” that reminded us we all have gifts to share if we work on the fundamentals of faith and that we are in this for the long haul. Another series reminded us that to be a Missional congregation, we need to move to a new life cycle of our congregation by first returning to our adolescence as a congregation and taking risks.
We had a goal of 161 for our average worship attendance. We came close with 156. We also began a new look bulletin. This new look has tear off registration and commitment sections and a section meant for you to use to invite others to worship. All of this is to remind us that worship is about both being inspired ourselves and taking that inspiring word of God to others.
Our Sunday school, Youth and Music Ministry programs continue to be engaging ministries. Our Sunday school curriculum was coordinated with our sermon series themes. We also introduced “Car Talk and Beyond” which encourages families to have conversations about their worship experience. Our Vacation Bible School filled our space for a whole week. Our youth mission trip traveled to St. Louis this year and came back with stories of service and changed lives. And who will forget a very full sanctuary for the Cantata and the wonderful variety and beauty of the music each and every worship experience.
This was the year we took the risk as a congregation of conducting a capital campaign in the midst of a deficit budget to raise the roof, air-condition common spaces and refurbish the parking lot. The results of our capital campaign are very encouraging. We have well over $120,000 on hand to begin our capital projects. We have 78 capital commitments totaling $243,785.
Our community garden had another year, the third in a row, of growing over a ton of fresh vegetables, all given to PROP to help feed the hungry in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen. Our website reports a harvest of 2,492 pounds. That is a number to celebrate. Our outreach through Feed My Starving Children and Simpson shelter also drew new people to mission.
There are so many highlights around relationships that it is hard to choose. But let’s try: Two new member classes with so many new faces. How about the number of kids around children’s time and running around fellowship time? The soup suppers during Lent continue to be an important means of fellowship to say nothing of the good eating had by all. We had a real Holy Family this year at Christmas. This year Pastor Dan began meeting with 12 people every month in a Discipleship group. They meet one-on-one and then together once every other month or so. There are too many other groups and times to mention here.
Well I’ve taken up my allotted 500 words and more. Now it’s your turn. What are some of the other highlights of 2015 that will be the inspirations to move forward as we continue to become a more Mission-centered congregation in 2016?
Keep the Peace,