Why did we start using a consultant?
We started this multi-phase, 10 month strategic planning process with two goals in mind. To bring Glory to God and to turn our fabulous 50 leaders into our fab 100 leaders. We don't want to do more to feel self important, but to be more engaged because of the joy following of Jesus in this place.
One small piece of this puzzle was our Nov 12 Core Values workshop. It left me buzzing. So many people finished the workshop with a new sense of joy and purpose. The connections people made and the excitement about what we are doing was exhilarating. People with young kids got to hear stories of those who were empty nesters ten years ago. People with no kids got to hear about the crazy landscape of parenting today. We all came together to think about how Ascension is a sanctuary for all of it.
This workshop helped us take the first steps toward a vision for a fun future. The workshop crystallized around four reasons for us to swing for the church fences.
I am pretty good at a lot of things, but I have a calling to be your Rector. I am the best darn suit salesman in Texas and the most creative personal trainer anyone has ever known, and I am humble. But as your Pastor, God has invited me to serve the church with a plastic ring around my neck. God has convicted me that my big goal this year, as your Rector, is to foster the Joy of the Lord. It is not just Christian insider speak. Without the Joy, specifically Joy of the Lord, the church has no reason to exist. Like Paul said about Christians (filtered through Mr. T) - "I pity the fool, if Christ is not raised from the dead."
We are good - we can be great with Joy. We can be the best darn church in Texas, if we let God have his way with us. When I got back from Sabbatical in August 2016, I made one silent pledge to Ascension - I will swing as hard as I can to help Ascension flourish. I will do everything I can to get people into batting practice with me at Ascension I am invested - 90% of what I put my shoulder to daily is within 77042. My church, family, school, gym - everything is in this wonderful little bubble, and nothing less than everything I can give is going to be acceptable.
My sabbatical pledge is to double down on blessing Ascension. I am at my best when I am not counting heads on Sunday, or worrying about air conditioner repair bills or nursing my emotions when someone has grumbled about me. I am at my best when I open my eyes to really see each of you as fellow workers for the Gospel of Christ and as buckets o' joy. This may be a high bar - so how about potential to be buckets o' joy? I am looking at you grumpalumpagus. Grumpy or not, we are worthy of, even deserving of the Joy of the Lord.
We all should give great thanks for the many gifted leaders on finance and vestry. They empower me to count eyes more than heads. My most important job is to see you. I see you as you are and as you can be. I see you and am walking with you on the road to more joy. The joy of worshiping God and serving his people is the secret sauce for everything. Nothing else matters except the joy we feel about following Jesus 2000+ years after the first Easter.
What I am hoping from you -
What do you need from me for the joy of the Lord not to be cliche? How can strategic planning help us head toward that end?
I will post the "guts" of what we did on the Core Values workshop on Nov 12 in a bit.