; charset=UTF-8" /> 2011 Annual Gathering Report from Associate for Church Development & Renewal : Connecting Voices
Free hacker tools

2011 Annual Gathering Report from Associate for Church Development & Renewal

by Gary Roberts, Associate for Chruch Development & Renewal

     At this meeting, the Conference will reach the mid-point of the 3-year plan to offer development assistance for every church in the Conference, via a series of programs and with a set of benchmarks to test the effectiveness of the plan.  The plan was adopted by the Conference Board in January, 2010, with about 1/3 of the funding provided by Local Church Ministries.  The balance of the funding comes from Conference assets.

     Here is where the Conference is with reference to those benchmarks, as of this Annual Gathering:

1) Add Fifteen (15) new churches by either affiliation or churches starting churches.

     In the last 18 months, Associations in the Conference have welcomed six new churches into their fellowships.  There are an additional seven churches entering the affiliation process with Church & Ministry Committees, one church-multiplication in process and several others in planning.  The Conference is well on its way to meeting this benchmark.

2) Processing time for an affiliating church averages 18 months, and is > 3 years.

     Each Association Church & Ministry Committee has worked diligently to improve the process of welcoming affiliating churches.  Staff has not calculated the exact processing time of churches in care, but observes that there seems to be significant improvement in this area of Conference & Association life.  The Church Vitality Team continues to work with individual Church & Ministry Committees to help them continue this improvement. 

3) 5% membership growth in SCNC, from 20,000 to a total of 21,000 members.

     We typically receive data from the UCC Research Office about this benchmark during the summer.  In 2009, addition of UCC members from new churches was essentially offset by membership declines in the majority of existing SCNC churches.

4) Reach every pastor and church leader with at least one story per month about church development in SCNC.

     Connecting Voices has posted 18 stories in the Church Vitality section in the last 18 months.  Other stories have been posted at the Conference Facebook page. 

5) Offer at least one seminar or webinar per month for vitality training of all SCNC churches.

     During 2010, two Vitality seminars and 4 Vitality webinars were offered by SCNC.  In 2011, we contracted with the Center for Progressive    Renewal to offer webinar training to SCNC churches, and also have presented two more Vitality seminars.  Two additional Vitality seminars are scheduled for the summer and fall.  Also, and in partnership with the Center for Progressive Renewal and First Congregational Church of Pasadena, we plan to offer New Church Leadership Institute’s training for leaders of both new and renewing churches on Nov. 10-12, 2011. 

6) Start two new Affinity Groups each year, engaging at least 30 churches.

     Affinity Groups are non-geographic associations of churches with common interests that meet for fellowship, mutual learning of best practices, and mutual accountability.  The Samoan and Latino Tables are examples of this kind of association of churches.  The Conference’s role in these groups is as an initial convener, after which they are internally led. 

     So far, Affinity Groups have begun to form for progressive UCC churches, conservative UCC churches, churches with urban ministries and 2030 clergy.  In total, there is a potential involvement of roughly 35 churches in these 4 Affinity Groups.  None of these groups meet regularly, but it is hoped that those meetings will begin in the next 18 months.  Staff and the Church Vitality Team are actively looking for other common interests that might be helpful to enough local churches that additional Affinity Groups could be formed during the year ahead.

7) Complete New Awakenings assessments and related coaching in between 20 and 40 Conference churches.

     This proven program offers a professional assessment of the strategic options for a church at a cost affordable to a smaller church, leaving the strategic decision itself to the local church.  The Conference partners with Church Extension of the Disciples of Christ to offer this service to SCNC churches. 

     The first group of five churches are currently completing their New Awakenings process.  Coaches are currently being trained using an online class developed in partnership with the Center for Progressive Renewal.   We plan to offer this program again this fall, and perhaps again in early 2012.  So far, an additional 10 churches have expressed serious interest in this process. 

8) Every church in SCNC is engaged in at least one aspect of church vitality and development.

     Taken together, these programs have engaged nearly 100 of the 135 existing SCNC churches.   Reaching the remainder will be a challenge.  Some churches have expressed ambivalence towards this ministry, apparently believing that they are “doing OK” and therefore do not need to participate in these programs.  Others may have other reasons.  The Church Vitality Team is currently engaged in a Listening Project wherein team members are visiting every church to see if other kinds of support for their ministry would be more helpful, and to inform them about the work of this plan. 

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Roberts
Associate for Church Development & Renewal

Other Reports:

Report of the Conference Minister

Report of the Board Chair

Repoort of the Associate Conference Minister for Border & Latino Ministries

Report of the Director of Finance, Administration & Communication

Report of the Associate for Church Development & Renewal

Report of the Youth & Young Adults Ministries Coordinator

Report of the Financial Development Team

Report of the Pilgrim Pines Camp Executive Director

Report of the President of the Pacific School of Religion

Report of the Coordinator of Parish Ministries

Report of Peppermint Ridge

Report of Retirement Housing Foundation

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free