Four years ago in 2011, we spent time as a congregation dreaming together. In this year long process, we talked with a lot of different groups in the church, had dinners with leaders of the
congregation, and held forums in the church where we heard from people about what would be new additions to existing ministries at Messiah that we would want if money were not the issue.
The information gathered from that year-long discernment was put into a report and internalized in our planning. However, it was never published as a set of goals. Normally, I would grieve something like this. “We spent all that time and energy, created a report and then forgot about it.” However, that was not the case. Our year of discernment, affirmed support for things already happening and planted seeds for new ministries.
Frank Kokai recently discovered one of the reports from that year and brought it in to share with me. It is a list of the top 41 ideas that came from the congregation and leaders to work towards. Out of the list of 41, twenty eight items have been accomplished or will be when our Sanctuary Renewal is completed this year. This means we have accomplished 70% of our biggest dreams just four years ago. The list included new lighting, a new organ, new choir robes, a community garden, a community food pantry, a property reserve fund, a dishwasher, a fourth afternoon service, new name tags, new carpet, padded pews and new video capabilities for worship. All of these were dreams a few years ago and are now reality or nearly so!
What didn’t we accomplish? Two things on the list have been talked about quite a bit, but we have not yet found the way to move forward on them, a permanent home for Joseph’s Coat and an expanded parking lot. The two are tied together and if one happens, the other likely will, too. Some of the others were ideas that would require a major addition to Messiah, new Sunday School rooms, a dedicated choir room, a gymnasium, something our current size does not warrant. A few not pursued were just probably forgotten or had no real advocate, a soft serve ice cream machine, member mail boxes.
This list honestly made my day. It was an affirmation of our work together. Messiah continues to move forward, to change and accept new challenges as ministry opportunities arise. We are a place that is alive and what makes us alive is the Holy Spirit! May we not only continue to be blessed, but to use that blessing to bless others.