GOBIN MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
November 15, 2015
We, the Consultation Team, thank Pastor Bryan and Maureen Langdoc, the staff, the lay leadership and the congregation of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church for the invitation to consult with this body of Christ as a part of the Fruitful Congregation Journey (FCJ).
The following observations and ministry action plan are the result of this team studying the following information: 1) Gobin Memorial UMC’s self-study document provided by its leaders; 2) FCJ on-line survey; 3) interviews with the pastor, 4) interviews with staff and ministry team leaders; 5) a focus group with participants from the congregation; 6) a meeting with the Church Council; 7) a MissionInsite demographic report of the area’s population; 8) Faith Perceptions Mystery Guest Report; and 9) input from Saturday’s leadership workshop.
Our prayer is that God will use this assessment experience and consultation report to help Gobin Memorial UMC more effectively make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the community and the world.
- FRIENDLINESS AND CARING
Gobin Memorial UMC’s congregational survey indicated that the members believe the church is friendly and caring. One of the ways that Gobin Memorial UMC demonstrates this great hospitality is by being a reconciling community and welcoming to all persons. The congregational survey results were affirmed by the Faith Perceptions Mystery Guests. The friendliness of the church was the number one strength of the church as rated by the mystery guests and a majority of the mystery guests said they would return because of the church’s diversity, friendliness, and commitment to social justice.
- 2. LOCATION AND OPPORTUNITY
Gobin Memorial UMC is nestled on the edge of the DePauw University campus near downtown Greencastle in the center of Putnam County. This location is ideal for reaching the student population of DePauw and those around the campus. Gobin Memorial is located in the midst of an already active community that is easily accessible by foot and by auto. The foot traffic into Gobin Memorial is evident by the number of people who are in the church each day. This location is convenient for continued ministry to the community and student population.
- SEASONED LEADERS
Gobin Memorial UMC has 10 certified lay servants. Many leaders are professionals in their respective fields and bring those leadership talents to the church. Their gifts of discernment and administration will help rally the church to make the changes that are required to become fruitful.
- PASTORS BRYAN AND MAUREEN
Church leaders expressed an overwhelming confidence in Pastor Bryan and his abilities to lead the congregation. Mystery guests and congregational surveys showed that his sermons resonated in relevant ways that inspired. Leaders noted that he is making changes that are necessary for Gobin Memorial UMC to increase its effectiveness in making disciples. Pastor Maureen’s position at DePauw University lends itself to connecting the congregation to the campus.
5. MISSION ACTIVITY
Gobin Memorial UMC has a clear heart for mission, especially to the least of these in their community. This is evidenced by their personal involvement in ministries, such as Transformers, that are making significant differences in the lives of those in the community. Their work in Bridges Out of Poverty, school mentoring and other ministries are excellent foundations upon which to build an outward focus.
- LACK OF CLEAR, SHARED VISION
While Gobin Memorial UMC engages in many ministries, there is no focused, compelling vision that would unite the people of the church to maximize its effectiveness in sharing faith, building relationships, and making disciples. We affirm the adoption of “Connect, Grow, Serve”, however; this mantra is not universally understood as the picture of God’s preferred future for Gobin Memorial UMC. One leader summarized the mood of many in the congregation as “I just want to come on Sunday morning–don’t ask me to do those others things. I’ve already done them.”
- ABSENCE OF INTENTIONAL FAITH DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
There is currently no strategic process to help persons—new or long-time members—to discern where they are on their spiritual journey and what steps they could take to become mature in their faith. Also, the church does not have an intentional plan to help those in the community or new to the church understand the faith. There is no clear answer to the question, “How does a Christ-follower at Gobin Memorial UMC walk through the stages of spiritual development to ‘grow in every way into Christ?’” (Ephesians 4:15)
- UNDERDEVELOPED STAFF, COMMUNICATION AND ORGANIZATIONAL ENVIRONMENT
The consultation team heard that there is no intentional plan to develop new leaders for the ministry of Gobin Memorial UMC, beyond the very helpful certified lay servant courses that many took in the past. Without an intentional system to identify, recruit, train, mentor, and launch new leaders, the same people will continue to serve on teams, and the mission and vision of the church will suffer. A further concern has to do with communication patterns that appear ineffective. In nearly every conversation with the people and leaders, we heard about people who are either confused, unaware, or have incorrect information about the life and ministry of the church.
- LACK OF EXTRAVAGANT GENEROSITY AND FUNDING FOR MINISTRY
Gobin Memorial UMC’s per capita giving does not reflect extravagant generosity. This results in inadequate funding for new ministries, effectively resourcing staffing needs, and addressing current and future facility needs.
5 . MISSING GENERATIONS
The congregational survey revealed that one of the significant concerns of the congregation is
declining attendance. The consultation team heard repeatedly about the aging of the
congregation, and a desire to have more young families with children and youth involved in the life of the church. There was also a stated desire to reach the college-aged population that is outside the doorway. However, no one articulated a plan for how this would be accomplished or what resources would be made available for this to occur.
MINISTRY ACTION PLAN
- DISCERN A CLEAR, SHARED VISION
The congregation understands that the day this consultation report is accepted (should that be the case) this congregation will reaffirm the mission of the United Methodist Church: “To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”
Gobin Memorial UMC will have a Sunday morning Service of Prayer and Forgiveness. This will spiritually prepare the congregation to hear the vision the Lord has for the future of Gobin Memorial UMC. The FCJ Prayer Coordinator will select the worship service leader. This service will be conducted by March 1, 2016.
Immediately following the service of Prayer and Forgiveness, the pastor, in consultation with the coach, will form a prayer team. This team will help the members of the congregation individually and corporately pray for the church by asking the Holy Spirit to ignite and saturate the church with the powerful presence of Jesus Christ. This prayer ministry will continue to help focus the congregation on praying that it will seek and be open to the Holy Spirit’s direction and guidance during the whole process of the Fruitful Congregation Journey.
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will form a team of five to seven persons by April 1, 2016, to identify the core values and discern the vision for the church. The coach will conduct a Core Values Workshop in May of 2016, followed by a Vision Workshop for the congregation by August 15, 2016. The team will present its recommendations to the Church Council for review and adoption by September 1, 2016.
Upon adopting the core values and vision, ministry leaders will demonstrate how each ministry will accomplish the mission and vision.
- To that end, the Church Council will conduct a ministry review of all existing ministries to evaluate ministries for their faithfulness and fruitfulness to the mission and vision.
- Any ministries that are not faithful to the mission and vision and any ministry that is faithful, but still not fruitful, will be modified and re-evaluated for fruitfulness.
- All continuing ministries will set goals and objectives in alignment with the mission and vision. This review must be completed by June 1, 2017.
- All new future ministries must demonstrate how they will be aligned to the mission and vision and have a plan for fruitful ministry.
- 2. CREATE A CLEAR, INTENTIONAL FAITH DEVELOPMENT PATHWAY
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will establish a team of three to five persons by March 1, 2016, to continue to develop a clear intentional faith development pathway that helps move people from where they are on their spiritual journey to becoming fully committed followers of Jesus Christ. The coach will lead the Intentional Faith Development workshop by August 1, 2016, to assist the team in its development of a discipleship pathway.
The Intentional Faith Development pathway will be designed for everyone, whether a non-believer or one who is maturing in their faith. This discipleship pathway will represent a lifelong process in which participation in small groups will be encouraged and expected. The team will discern a faith development plan within a Wesleyan model that encourages all persons to:
- connect and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through passionate worship,
- be transformed by intentional faith development by studying the Bible, the beliefs and principles of the Christian faith,
- connect with other believers for support and accountability through small groups,
- practice extravagant generosity, ● participate in opportunities for risk-taking service and mission,
- invite others into a relationship with Jesus Christ and His church through radical hospitality.
This plan will be adopted by the Church Council and they will begin implementation in the life of Gobin Memorial UMC at all ministry levels by November 1, 2016.
- STAFF DEVELOPMENT, COMMUNICATION PLAN AND ACCOUNTABLE LEADERSHIP
Beginning January 1, 2016, Gobin Memorial UMC is planning to implement the single board structure. This is commendable, but the consultation team recommends that the implementation of this single board be delayed until July 1, 2016 so that additional communication around the single board structure can occur. To help in the understanding of the single board structure, the coach will present the Accountable Leadership Workshop to the congregation by April 15, 2016.
Upon adoption of the single board:
- The pastor and Church Council acting as the SPRT, in consultation with the coach, shall conduct a “Zero-Based” staffing evaluation. This is a way to avoid the temptation of protecting current positions in order to focus on accomplishing the mission, vision, and values. This evaluation will be completed by September 1, 2016.
- Establish clear, “fruit-bearing” outcomes, vision-centered job descriptions for each position – paid and unpaid. These job descriptions will provide a more objective basis for evaluation, accountability, fruitful goal setting, and supervision. This will be completed by March 1, 2017.
- All staff and leaders–paid and unpaid–will enter into a behavior covenant and practice spiritual disciplines. This will be completed by March 1, 2017.
- Assess and align staffing with mission, vision, and values. This will be completed by September 1, 2017.
- The pastor, as head of staff, shall then conduct regular evaluations of the staff in consultation with the Church Council.
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will create a communications task force of 3 persons by March 15, 2016, to:
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the current communication practices of other vital congregations, the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, and DePauw University to learn and explore effective ways to communicate.
- Contact Skyler Nimmons, Director of Conference Communications of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church, to conduct a Communications workshop by June 1, 2017.
- 4. CREATE A CULTURE OF EXTRAVAGANT GENEROSITY TO FUND FUTURE MINISTRY OPPORTUNITIES
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will name an executive leadership team of 3-5 individuals by November 1, 2016, working on behalf of the Church Council, to develop a comprehensive plan for funding future ministries. The funding plan will be consistent with the other elements of the Ministry Action Plan, including the new vision. This plan should include:
- A historical financial analysis of revenue and expenses
- Creating a dream budget proforma (revenue and expense) to guide and fund future
- Explore resources with Jennifer Gallagher, Director of Finance for the Indiana
Conference of the UMC with one of the goals being that at least one-half (50%) of the giving households will be tithing by November 1, 2021.
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will name a 3-5 person Future Facility Task Force by January 15, 2016 to do the following:
- Apply for a grant from the Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund a professional assessment of the building’s condition. This study is to be completed by November 1, 2016 or as soon as possible following the receiving of the grant (or the congregation may fund the study from other sources in the absence of a Lilly grant).
- Continue the conversation with the resident Bishop of the Indiana United Methodist Church, and the President of DePauw concerning the possibility of a long-term partnership with DePauw University regarding the improvements and maintenance of the church facility.
- A report to the Gobin Memorial UMC Church Council by May 1, 2016 from the Future Facility Task Force about a possible agreement with DePauw University regarding the facility. The report (or a summary of the report) to be shared with the congregation in worship, and in at least two “town hall” forum settings for information purposes and feedback which would take place within 4 weeks after the report to the Church Council.
- A report from the building study made to the Church Council by December 1, 2016, with the report (or a summary of the report) being shared with the congregation in worship and via a congregation-wide email and snail mail. Also, the report to be shared in at least two “town hall” forum settings within 4 weeks after the report to the Church Council.
- A decision will be made by a Gobin Memorial UMC Church Conference by June 1, 2017 to either undertake a capital improvement campaign to address building needs, enter into an agreement with DePauw University whereby the school takes responsibility for the structure/future facilities, or explore a third option for resolving the critical facility needs.
- PLAN TO REACH MULTI-GENERATIONS
In order to develop inspiring, relevant ministries to children, youth, and college-age generations, as well as people who are non-faculty and of lower socio-economic status, the pastor in consultation with the coach will establish a Multi-Generations Ministry Team by July 1, 2016.
The team will develop a plan for ministry that will include the following:
- Evaluate the existing Safe Sanctuaries policy and its implementation
- Visit three congregations that have effective children’s and youth ministries.
- Evaluate all current programming to determine effectiveness in reaching the target
- Develop a strategy to expand the number of participants involved in current ministries.
- Effectively communicate these ministries inside and outside the church
- Develop additional leaders and servants in these ministries, and equip teachers to
effectively teach core Biblical truths in exciting and meaningful ways
- Address childcare needs of younger adults participating in the life of the church
- Evaluate facilities including classroom locations and decor
- Reach out to other university churches (such as Bloomington First UMC, Indianapolis University Heights UMC and West Lafayette First UMC) throughout the conference to create a shared learning community.
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will establish a hospitality group of 5-6 people by
April 1, 2017. The coach will lead a “Hospitality” Workshop to discern the necessary components of an effective system that continually tracks and connects with guests so that they become integrated into faith and the church. The hospitality group will design and implement the
church’s hospitality to guests beyond the first-time visit, and present it to the Church Council by
May 1, 2017.
The pastor, in consultation with the coach, will establish a Worship Connections Team of 5-6 people by June 1, 2016 to.
- Train those who will operate the respective equipment involved in worship.
- Enter into an evaluation of the Gobin Memorial UMC worship experience, using the results of the Mystery Guest reports and other resources (such as Robert Schnase’s chapter on passionate worship in the “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations”, Andy Stanley’s “Communicating for a Change,” and Dave Ferguson’s “The Big Idea”), for a prayerful, honest, bold conversation about worship experiences that will speak faithfully, relevantly and passionately to people.
- Visit other churches that are connecting to the desired demographic (churches of various sizes).
- Attend a worship planning workshop (e.g. Center for Congregations).
- Institute and implement a worship planning process for pastor, staff, and laity.
- Implement the discoveries made from the studies above into the worship life of the congregation by June 1, 2017, with the possible launch of a service designed for students and young adults by August 15, 2017.
We, the Consultation Team, thank you for the opportunity to serve your congregation through this Fruitful Congregation Journey assessment process. Our prayers and hope for your congregation is that God will use this process to help your church become more effective and fruitful in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. May God give you courage and strength as you move forward.
Steve Clouse, Lead Consultant
Mark Fenstermacher, Coach
TOWN HALL MEETING DATES:
Tuesday, November 17, 7:00 pm,
Monday, November 30, 6:30 pm.
Thursday, December 3, 5:30 pm
CHURCH CONFERENCE DATE:
Sunday, December 13, after worship