We have worked through our core values and mission in workshops and have compiled survey results; now the real work is around the corner. Our last preparation step before we really get cooking is the Vision Validation Survey. If you are an Ascensionite, please take 5 mins to fill out the survey. This survey gives us crucial feedback that we will use to “knead the dough.” We are going to bake your hopes and dreams for Ascension into all of our ministries.
But I skipped the first survey, you say! Nuu-uh. Much of the results of the first survey are embedded in the Validation Survey. However, I will tell you that there are several layers to the survey. Some of the desires of the community - like improved facilities, will take a long time to produce fruit. It will take collaboration among the property and finance committees and will require the cooperation of the vestry, staff, and volunteers. However, some stuff is easy to implement and is already in play.
You may have noticed something is already different - our kid’s dismissal is sung at 10am instead of being shouted, there are intentional pauses at the prayers and confession, and yes I am trying to slow down my talking pace. The last one is the hardest,because I am an excitable dude.
My wife has a laminated card with the word “slow” on it. She sits in the first or second row, so I doubt you will see it if she attempts to hit the brakes on me. Last week she forgot the card, and at about minute eight she was make the strangest combination of raised eyebrows and flared nostrils. Being dim witted, all I could think about was my imaginary booger.
I can assure you that my speed is not commentary on “wanting to get the service over with.” It is just something have to constantly work on; if am I going to be in the south, I need to continue to pump the brakes. Pray for me, not primarily to slow down, but that my words may give glory to God in a way that is clear, meaningful and soaked in scripture.
Now, I am going to be a bit of snowflake - one who wears their heart too close to their sleeve. A sliver of the feedback was extremely personal and some of it hurt me in a way that seemed unnecessary at best. However, I learned a valuable lesson. Facebook is not your friend. Because some of the criticism was directed at the behaviors of my family, I have decided to create strong privacy restrictions on my Facebook account. I will not be talked out of it and my family is not part of the social media conversation.
So, if you loved seeing my family’s latest adventure, I am sorry that it is no longer available. You can ask me to email you some pictures and I would be happy to do so. As a semi-public figure, I have chosen to leave my family out of the ‘limelight’. I will continue to blog in much the same vein as before and use Facebook as a ministry tool on Ascension’s page. Finally, I received feedback that I overshare on my blog. If I annoy you, I am sorry - it will remain personal at times. If you choose to read, consider this your trigger warning.
Back to the future
I am blown away by your positive feedback about our new Sunday schedule, the changes to worship, and even how much you appreciate my sermons lately. It is all grace and I feel extremely blessed to have the privilege to be your priest.
After we hear from you in the validation survey, we are going to get busy. Your vision team, headed by Mike Black, is diligently at work setting up the framework to implement the vision. We do have one need: Do you like demographic research, geeking out over population trends and neighborhood compositions? We need you to join the team. Part of implementing the vision is really knowing who are our neighbors are and you can empower us to really engage beyond the walls of Ascension. Would you email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and to say “yes”!