When I think back on the last three months, I am amazed at how much we have accomplished and how many changes have taken place. As new staff get settled into their roles, I have been excited to hand off some of the responsibilities in Communications and Children’s Ministry in order to dig more deeply into other components of my job description—especially assets mapping and helping our congregation restructure for growth. Below are some of the highlights of the past quarter:
You may have noticed that a few things have changed in our communications strategy recently, and we want to continue to improve our communication within the congregation and outside our walls to the neighborhood community. I have been working with a fabulous designer recommended by Terry McMahon since early summer on a few projects that have now come to fruition. The first is the design of a new bulletin that would help us better tell our story and connect with one another in worship, even as our congregation grows and we are less familiar with the new faces we see each Sunday. We also worked to create templates for announcements both in print and electronic forms. Hope Cutchins, our amazing Communications Coordinator, started in late July, and has been using and tweaking these templates. We introduced an e-newsletter, The Tab Weekly, in August, in the hopes of helping members and friends of Tabernacle stay connected with us even when they can’t be physically present. We would love your feedback if you have thoughts about what is and is not working as we develop strategy for communications at Tab. Our next venture will be updating and streamlining the website—be on the lookout for more stories and highlights of Tabernaclers doing awesome work in our community and around the world!
At my six-month review in June, Sterling and I realized that while I’ve been busy working, much of it has been behind the scenes. I was hungry for more interaction with congregation members, and there was a need for my leadership to be more visible. In response, we decided on a few steps forward. (1) I would begin preaching more regularly. (2) I would lead a Sunday school series on Spiritual Practices in August. (3) I would start a Wednesday night Spiritual Formation option, which became the Lectio Divina group that gathers on Wednesday evenings in the Parlor. These have been wonderful ways for me to connect with you—and hopefully for you to connect with me, too!
In addition to on-boarding and supervising two new staff members—Hope Cutchins and Jerusha Moses, I worked closely with the Personnel Committee to conduct annual reviews for other non-ministerial staff this fall. It was an enlightening process for me, both for the purpose of better supporting our staff, and for the gift of working with this passionate Committee and getting to see their talents at work in our congregation.
Asset Mapping & Lay Leadership Development
Two of the more unusual items on my original job description were related to (1) asset mapping in the congregation and (2) thinking about how to best restructure our process of lay leadership engagement, recruitment, and development. I’ve made a few small steps toward this work in the past few months. Tabernacle has not participated in any self-study for over ten years—and in the past 10 years the congregation has grown and changed tremendously. I have put together a team of lay leaders to act as a “think-tank” for me as we discern how to best help Tabernacle consider the following questions: Who were we then? Who are we now? Who is God calling us to become in the future? In spring of 2019, we’ll be
rolling out some activities to open up this conversation to the whole congregation, and we hope you will participate! I have also spent some time researching best practices for lay leadership recruitment and considering the church’s current nominating structure. While we aren’t ready to make any large changes at this point, the staff did decide that we wanted the nominating committee to have more information about the positions for which they are recruiting leaders. Over the past few months, I’ve been working behind the scenes to collect from each committee chair a list of upcoming projects and goals for 2019, to get a better sense of who our congregation may select or nominate to fill these positions. In the coming months, we will also be talking about how we can transition from a committee that recruits leaders, to a committee that both recruits leaders and helps to develop and support them in their various positions of leadership.
I’m getting to know you more and more, and as each season passes, Richmond begins to feel more like home, and Tabernacle begins to feel more like family. Thank you for welcoming me, encouraging our staff, and listening closely with us for the movement of God’s Spirit in our midst!