A Message From Pastor Brad

In February of this year, the trustees of Union Church faced up to a difficult reality. They came to realize that our church was inching close, too close for comfort, to a situation in which we would not have the income or the membership to sustain our current ministries and programs. They came to the church council and said, we have to do something. We have to take steps to grow, or else tougher times than these are coming. 

We began to think and to pray about what we might do. As your pastor, I took this as a call to action. I came to the council with a proposal that I thought could begin to turn the tide and to get us growing again. But as people reviewed it, the response came from several folks, “Well, we’ve worked on this kind of thing before. Maybe you should look into that.” 

So I did some digging and asked around, and I found that the members of the congregation, boards, and committees have been working towards a strategic plan for the Union Church for the past 10 years. We collectively have started and stopped this process at least three times in the past, and until now, nothing has come of it. 

But sitting on it and stalling was not a viable choice this time around. We had to push forward. I ended up connecting with Melissa Embling, who was vital to the work that has been done over the last 10 years, and I found she was the keeper of it as well. 

At the request of the council, Melissa, Cheryl Fridley, and myself got together to compare my proposal with the strategic planning that had been done in the past. They were strikingly similar. We really only had to tweak the plan here and there, and after doing that, they were a perfect match. 

We came back to the council with a plan to present. After listening and discussing, the council unanimously agreed to adopt and to move forward with the plan. We are now happy to report that we have made great progress and we are moving forward now to bring all of this before you. 

Throughout this process, we have come to understand and to emphasize that we do not exist for our own sake. Our existence is not an end in itself. Rather, we exist to take part in the mission of God, to make a positive impact on the people around us. Our core belief is that if we take up that mission in ways that connect with the community, we will help to grow God’s kingdom among us and grow as a church along the way. 

What we’re proposing really isn’t a major change. We’re going to be doing the same things, but sharing the responsibilities differently. We’re going to be undertaking the same ministries, but with renewed dedication. We’re going to be serving the same community, but with a clearer vision of what we are setting out to accomplish. Implementing this proposal, we think, will help us to be better and stronger and being who we have always been, and who we are as a church. 

Based on results of discussion in the past and present, the council proposed a Vision and a Mission Statement that really capture what it is that we see ourselves being and doing. The proposed vision statement is, “United in Christ’s love, we seek to be a beacon of hope and faith for the greater community.” And the proposed mission statement is, “The purpose of Union Church is to worship God together, serving our greater community to positively change all the lives we touch.” We want to continue doing what we do best by helping others within our community.

Putting this plan into action means paying closer attention to five key areas. 

First, Organizational Excellence. We want to develop an organizational structure that fully engages our congregation so that we may effectively run our church and achieve our vision.

Second, Communication Excellence. We need to effectively communicate to our Members if any of this has any chance of succeeding. 

Third, Marketing Excellence. We have to develop a marketing capability that promotes the value of the church and its members to the community. 

Fourth, Outreach Excellence. We want to provide opportunities for members to invest in the community and the greater wider mission.

And finally, fifth, Member Satisfaction. We need to ensure that all members derive benefit from everything we do and that those members who choose to be are actively involved.

Pursuant to investing in those areas, the church council has drafted an updated constitution and by-laws that enable Union Church to achieve its vision. This proposed update places the church council as the central administrative leadership body which will act on behalf of the congregation between business meetings. It also reinforces the role of the Pastoral Relations Committee to seek to support and maintain an open and healthy relationship between the Pastor and the members of the Congregation. The update also proposes that the church establish a Marketing and Communications Committee to provide opportunities to increase the visibility of Union Church and provide effective public communications on the church activities. 

The council and I want to see Union Church grow and thrive again. We want to touch our community with what we are doing and for God’s kingdom to come among us. We hope that as you hear about, read about, and consider the proposal, you see it as a viable means to that end. We hope that you get excited about the future of Union Church and the opportunity to grow that we now encounter.

In Christ,

Pastor Bradley