Closing the Gaps

Can you believe it is September? I don’t know about you, but the Kuo family is fully immersed in a crazy fall schedule.

Fortunately, Labor Day weekend was like a big hug between two seasons.  Our hearts were full with summer – Lake Michigan memories, s’mores and sunsets.  But by Labor Day Monday, our minds turned to autumn – homework, sports and business deadlines. It was time to let go of one season’s embrace and face another’s responsibilities and possibilities.

Over the last few years, our Church similarly has been deep in a summer-like season. This is not to say it has been one big easy button! But our minds and souls have been filled with prayer, reflection and successes. Our Strategic Advisory Board (SAB) worked with Consistory to clarify our mission. We’ve felt rejuvenation from our growing outreach events. We identified some operational gaps and developed an organization chart aligning teams closer to our mission.  Consistory worked with a missional living team on leadership training. And we’ve had the opportunity to dream.

What a crazy dream it was!  SAB solicited proposals for our new Headley Street facing land and our congregation voted to commission a team to further evaluate a proposal for a shared community/hotel conference center. Together, we believed a new space would better equip us to share God’s love with our neighbors. But abruptly, the dream ended when the developer pulled out of the proposal. And a sump pump malfunction left us re-evaluating our future.

At the annual meeting this past June, Consistory asked the congregation to spend time reflecting on our current reality.  To begin the dialogue, Pastor Billy and Pastor Mara delivered message in the following video.

So, what did we decide? While no church is perfect, some observations were humbling and challenging:

  • The number of Christians in America is declining
  • Church competes against other outside priorities for members’ attention, and is losing
  • Our ministry’s potential impact is financially limited based on current giving levels
  • While we offer donations to mission partners, we rarely donate our time to strengthen these partnerships
  • Our building is aging and the constant maintenance puts a strain on our resources
  • More volunteers are needed to lead initiatives

Fortunately, other observations were affirming:

  • We’ve been blessed with excellent pastors who have helped breathe new life into our ministry. Over 50 people have joined the church since 2012, and our children’s ministry is growing
  • Our needs are always filled when disasters like a flooded basement strike
  • Our members truly are a family, enjoying time together both inside and outside the church
  • Community members frequently comment on how our congregation is welcoming
  • We are positioned as a key pillar in the community as Ada continues rebuilding its infrastructure and brand

Whether negative or positive, many of these statements generate some stress, some inner tension among all of us. That is okay. Tension is a great motivator, helping us close gaps between where we are and where God intends us to be.

Now, we’re ready to transition into our church’s next season. Over the next months, our church will face new responsibilities and possibilities. We will make some big decisions.  When we do, we can move forward confidently, as we will know our decisions were based on the current reality we spent so much time identifying.  We will know what we’ve been given and what we still need to give. This will certainly scare us.  This will certainly stretch us.  And this is what God wants from us.

Kendra Kuo

 

 

 

  • Sunday Schedule

    10:00 am – Service
    Nursery - infants through age 3

    Partway through Service - Children’s Worship: Ages 4-10

    After Service – Cookies and Coffee Social Gathering