We Are About Relationships
The Compass Group is a new initiative at Christ UMC designed to discover the direction to which we believe God is calling us as a church.
As Christ UMC celebrates 30 years, a representative group of church members has been formed to help us look forward to the next 30 years as a missional congregation. As disciples, we will actively follow in the footsteps of Jesus, be energetic participants in God’s activity in the world. Welcoming and gathering input from everyone at Christ UMC and through prayer, study, reflection and lots of congregational conversation in small groups, we will together discern the future of our uniquely relationship-centered church.
Group members: Janice Boyko, Kevin Crook, Keith Geier, Stacey Hagewood, Melissa Hewett, Gilbert Lovell, Steve Middlebrooks, Jessica Mitchell, Kathy Noble, Ben Papa, Pauline Rogers, Kevin Stefano, Lindy Thompson, and Steve Vining. The group convener is Anne Weinberg; the staff liaison/adviser is the Rev. Mark Price; and the consultant assisting us in this process is the Rev. John Collett.
What we’ve learned (so far) … a report from the Compass Group
“So, what are you learning?”
Five months into our work on behalf of the Christ UMC family, this is the question your Compass Group hears most often. It is the question to which we want to provide some answers in this first of several reports that will precede the final presentation to the 2018 Leadership Team in January.
When the group was commissioned and began its work in May, we learned and shared that our overall mission was to determine the mission to which God was calling this congregation as we begin our second 30 years. At this time, Christ UMC is a place where people can grow as disciples of Jesus Christ and in relationships with each other and with God’s hurting world. We have much in place to support our mission. What are the things CUMC excels at? However, are these ministries and programs working the best they can? Where are the gaps? What is missing? Who of our neighbors outside the congregation are we overlooking – or aren’t even aware of how we might serve them?
These are some of the questions we’ve been asking throughout the Discovery Phase of the Compass Group process. With your help, we’ve been gathering information through congregational conversations. An average of 80 people have attended each of the large group sessions; more have participated by completing online surveys.
Not surprisingly, we’ve heard much of what you value about Christ UMC, about being part of this congregation, about what you would not want to lose.
These are a few of the ways you’ve appreciatively described this congregation:
While much of what you’ve shared in our conversations has been about positive experiences, we’ve also noted some places to grow.
Most often mentioned have been challenges falling into the broad category of “hospitality.” Named have been experiences indicating needs such as:
Enhancing how we extend hospitality to all – first time visitors, newcomers and long-time members – will receive special attention during the month of October. Watch for more information soon.
In the area of discipleship, we have heard needs for:
We currently have task forces of the Compass Group looking in detail at how we extend hospitality (Melissa Hewett, chair) and provide means for people in the congregation to grow as disciples of Jesus Christ (Steve Middlebrooks, chair). Both task forces include people from the Compass Group, other church members and staff. Other areas of our life as a congregation will also be looked at closely in the coming months.
This is some of what we have learned thus far as we’ve defined our task and discovered much during the congregational conversations, through the responses to the surveys and studying where we are now in various aspects of our life together.
We move now to the dreaming phase. The next conversation – focusing on what could be – will be on Sunday, Nov. 12. You will also be able to share ideas via a graffiti wall at the All-Church Retreat in October. We’ll then take the learnings and the dreams to discern where and what God is calling Christ UMC to be and design a way to get there which will be presented to the Leadership Team in January.
Compass Group members continue to be excited about our work together and on your behalf. We are happy to answer questions about what we’ve learned and how we are proceeding.
Members are Janice Boyko, Kevin Crook, Keith Geier, Stacey Hagewood, Melissa Hewett, Gilbert Lovell, Steve Middlebrooks, Jessica Mitchell, Kathy Noble, Ben Papa, Pauline Rogers, Kevin Stefano, Lindy Thompson, Steve Vining, Anne Weinberg, convener, the Rev. LeNoir Culbertson, lead pastor, the Rev. Mark Price, staff liaison, and the Rev. John Collett, consultant.
What do you think?
Wow! Eighty-plus people gathered in the small sanctuary on Aug. 6 speaking and listening with notetakers quicky recording the thoughts. The Compass Group is grateful for the participation in these conversations about where God is calling Christ UMC in the future.
If you weren’t able to be there (or have additional ideas to share), please fill out the questionnaire 2nd questionnaire, “Digging Deeper,” above. We want to hear from YOU regardless of your length of time at Christ UMC or the depth of your involvement.
In the first set of conversations, you described this congregation as “warm,” “welcoming,” “inclusive” and all about “relationships.” You value the quality of the worship and small group experiences along with the friendship, love and caring of the members for each other. You said our purpose is to share God’s love and serve those in need. At the same time, between 5 and 10 percent indicated difficulty in connecting to activities at Christ UMC. Some also commented they don’t feel that CUMC is welcoming to a stranger or new person.
So now, we’re probing more deeply. Talk with us about how as a congregation and as individuals we welcome people and help them connect. Say how we can offer genuine hospitality to everyone – everyone. We want your thoughts.
Compass Meeting, August 6…
During conversations in late May and June, the Compass Group heard much about what you appreciate about Christ UMC, our culture and “vibe” and dedication to serving. We also heard about the difficulties some have had finding their place to belong or how to serve. The conversations have been frank and enlightening (and many have said enjoyable). Thanks for participating!
As promised, the conversations will continue. On Aug. 6 at 9:45 a.m., join us in the small sanctuary to begin “going deeper” to discover more to help us dream and discern the future to which God is calling Christ UMC. God calls each person to a unique ministry; the same is true for congregations. We will talk both about how we welcome new people (as well as each other!) so all experience “belonging.” We will also talk about why we exist and seek to be Christ’s presence in the community, what is our mission. We anticipate more rich conversation.
Join us on Aug. 6. It is not necessary to have participated in the earlier discussions. The self-selected groups are different each time. Whether you have been part of Christ UMC for 30 years, 30 months or 30 days – the Compass Group needs to hear your thoughts.
Christ UMC’s Compass Group invites you to join the conversation. Please pick up one of our short questionnaires at the welcome desk in the narthex and share your input! Or, if you prefer, can also find it online at christumcfranklin.org/compass, where you can download, print, and complete it by hand, or you can fill out the information on the online e-form.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Compass Group — Moving into the future – together!
It’s another exciting week at Christ UMC! Vacation Bible School is in full swing. Youth and adults are serving at Camp Barnabas. Sorters are preparing for Christ’s Closet. And this Sunday we begin a new phase of our journey together when we welcome Rev. LeNoir Culbertson.
The Compass Group shares your excitement – and again thanks those who joined the conversation on June 18. We asked how you might respond if the subject of “church” came up in a casual conversation –say at the grocery store or in a coffee shop. How might you invite someone to a service at Christ UMC?
Some would invite someone to an event (concert, Wednesday Night Together, Hearts and Hands Day) before inviting them to worship. Others would talk about serving others and relationships, the caring community of staff and congregants, the value of small groups of all kinds and the quality of the pastoral staff and the music. Many would emphasize friendliness, openness and warmth. There were many more responses!
The Compass Group is grateful for what we’ve heard, but we want to hear more! Join the conversation using the questionnaire you will be receiving soon or can pick up in the narthex. We need and welcome your thoughts!
Let the conversation continue!
The Compass Group thanks the nearly 100 people who gathered in the small sanctuary last Sunday for conversation. Here is just a taste of what we heard.
Describing Christ UMC today, people used words like friendly, outreach-driven, God-driven, inclusive diverse, welcoming, “down to earth,” accepting, loving, open-minded and family. There were many, many more.
When did Christ UMC became “church” for those present. People named groups such as the men’s ministry and Sunday school classes, realizing there were many places to “plug in,” their children being involved and experiencing the care and leadership of the staff. Again, there were many, many more.
We then turned to how you might turn a casual conversation about “church” into an invitation to attend and how we might put the church’s purpose into words. More about those in the coming weeks.
Again, the Compass Group says “thank you” to those who participated – and invites those who were unable to join in. You’ll soon be receiving a copy of the questions. Answer them for yourself – or get together with some friends – and send your responses together.
Be part of the conversations – now and in the weeks to come!
You’re talking; we’re listening
THANK YOU to all who were a part of the informative and enjoyable conversations last Sunday about what we appreciate about Christ UMC and some hopes and concerns for the future.
If you joined Sunday’s conversations, come back this week. If you weren’t able, come this Sunday, June 18, to share your thoughts and experiences. You won’t be behind, and the make-up of the table groups will change from week to week. Whether you’ve been here three months or 30 years or somewhere in between, we need to hear your thoughts.
This Sunday at 9:45 a.m. in the small sanctuary, we will hear the Rev. John Collett, Compass Group consultant, and Anne Weinberg, convener, introduce CG’s purpose and work. Then we’ll discuss: When did Christ UMC become “church” for us? What might you share about Christ UMC with others? How might we as individuals and groups cultivate new relationships with the people and households around us?
We “harvest” the comments from each conversation (and similar ones in other settings) to help CG discern: 1) Who are we as the people of Christ UMC? 2) Who are we as disciples of Jesus? 3) Why do we exist and what is our mission?
Sunday, June 11, your Compass Group will host informal small group conversations in the Fellowship Hall, beginning at 9:45 a.m. Pick up a cup of coffee and join others as we gather around the tables to talk about whatever is on your mind: Your thoughts as the staff of Christ UMC is in transition. Your questions about what the Compass Group is and what it is doing. Other thoughts and questions about our life and ministry together. CG members will be your table hosts.
On June 18, at 9:45 a.m., we’ll begin a series of more formal conversations that will help us discern 1) Who are we as the people of Christ UMC? 2) Who are we as disciples of Jesus? 3) Why do we exist and what is our mission?
When the people of Christ UMC commissioned the Compass Group on April 30, you agreed to “share your ideas and feedback when the Compass group asks.” Your Compass Group is asking – now!
On Sundays, June 11 and 18, at 9:45 a.m., the first in a series of conversations among the congregation will begin in the small sanctuary. Come to talk about: What makes Christ UMC “church” for us? What do we want to share about Christ UMC with others? How might we as individuals and groups cultivate new relationships with the people and households around us
Compass is also inviting every group in the congregation that meets with any regularity to have a similar conversation and other kinds over the coming months. There will also be “pop up” conversations to include those who are not a part of an existing group. Someone will “harvest” the comments, experiences, insights and ideas from each conversation to help us discern 1) Who we are the people of Christ UMC? 2) Who are we as disciples of Jesus? 2) Why do we exist and what is our mission?
As Christ UMC prepares to celebrate 30 years as a church community, a representative group has been formed to help us take a look forward to the next 30 years as a missional congregation, learning to build on the positives (and there are many) of our community through conversation and discipleship. As disciples, we will actively follow in the footsteps of Jesus; as energetic participants in God’s activity in the world. We look forward to hearing more from you, as we deepen our relationships with Christ, with one another, and with God’s hurting world.
The Compass Group members are: Janice Boyko, Kevin Crook, Keith Geier, Stacey Hagewood, Melissa Hewett, Gilbert Lovell, Steve Middlebrooks, Jessica Mitchell, Kathy Noble, Ben Papa, Pauline Rogers, Kevin Stefano, Lindy Thompson, and Steve Vining. The group convener is Anne Weinberg, staff liaison/advisor is Mark Price, and the consultant is Rev. John Collett.
Watch for ways to join the conversation beginning in June…
Christ UMC’s new Compass Group has met twice to define its task and begin preparing for the discovery phase that is key to discerning and clarifying this congregation’s identity and mission as a community of disciples of Jesus Christ. The discovery will begin with small group conversations that will start in June.
As the Rev. John Collett, our consultant, notes, “A congregation guided by a missional compass will not try to be all things to all people; it will not assume that a busy church is a faithful and fruitful church. It will know what serves to fulfill the mission and what does not. Using a missional compass, the congregation will garner its energy, time, people, talents and resources to serve the mission. Activities that do not serve the mission will be secondary at best.
“Alice (in Wonderland) didn’t know where she wanted to go, so it didn’t matter which direction she took. Many of our congregations do not know where they want to go and have no sense of direction. Missional discernment and planning strives to hear God’s call, especially in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit, to know where we are trying to go and the direction that will take us there.”
On May 1, Christ UMC’s new Compass Group began its work of discerning the direction to which God is calling us as we begin our second 30 years. In this article, the Rev. John Collett, consultant, reflects on what can be expected from the Compass Group’s work.
Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
(Lewis Carroll – Alice in Wonderland)
We know that a real compass always points true North.
As we begin our journey to discern the mission and ministry of Christ UMC over the next decade and generation, we don’t know the direction of true North; we don’t know which direction our compass is pointing.
In the coming months, through prayer, study, reflection and lots of congregational discernment in small groups, we will discover the direction to which we believe God is calling us. This sense of direction will help us know how to focus congregants and resources to move effectively in the mission of the church of Jesus Christ.
Of this, we can already be sure: Our compass will point outward. But outward can be as many directions as we have congregants because we “go out” into countless contexts every week. The compass metaphor can clarify what the “direction outward” is about. If we say, for example, our mission is to love our neighbors in the times, places and circumstances we encounter them, then we need specifics about these many different contexts in which we find our neighbors. And we will need to know how loving our neighbor “in the world” relates to our congregation’s weekly rhythm of worship, discipling and service.
A congregation guided by a missional compass will not try to be all things to all people; it will not assume that a busy church is a faithful and fruitful church. A congregation with a missional compass will know what serves to fulfill the mission and what does not. A congregation with a missional compass will garner its energy, time, people, talents and resources to serve the mission. Activities that do not serve the mission will be secondary at best.
Alice didn’t know where she wanted to go, so it didn’t matter which direction she took. Many of our congregations do not know where they want to go and have no sense of direction. Missional discernment and planning strives to hear God’s call, especially in Jesus and through the Holy Spirit, to know where we are trying to go and the direction that will take us there.