The Mission Study is an important prerequisite for a congregation
to call a new pastor.
The information created by the Mission Study will support and enable the Pastor Nominating Committee to nominate a pastor who will meet the needs and desires of the congregation.
The Mission Study is an opportunity for the congregation to evaluate all aspects of church life and to imagine the future. The Mission Study Team will meet with members and staff in large and small groups, use surveys, and request additional input, in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of who we are as a church and where we want to go.
Everyone’s participation is vital. We recognize this is not a normal time for any of us due to COVID, but we know God will be at our side as we progress through the necessary steps to Call of our next Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. You will see specific invitations to participate highlighted in the weekly Bulletin Insert and E-Blast, on our webpage. Although your Mission Study Team is charged with creating the final report, its content and style will be driven and shaped by contributions from all of you who lend your voices, opinions, suggestions, and concerns.
How can I participate?
Please look for announcements and invitations in the church’s mailings, emails, worship announcements, and Facebook page. Let us know you where you would like to participate.
Please contact the team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the church office.
Mission Study Activities and Milestones
The Mission Study Team continues leading our congregation’s self-study and its learning about our community. We are now moving toward the culminating Mission Study Report that will be submitted first to our Session, and then to Presbytery’s Commission on Ministry for approval. The Mission Study Report will be composed with key activities from our mission study: Congregational Gatherings, Congregational Survey, Ministries Focus Groups, Historical Review, Financial Review, Demographic and Community Study.
We continue listening together for God’s leading for this church. We encourage you to share your comments, questions, and suggestions via our email email@example.com or with any team member. We believe that your contributions are central to the value of our Mission Study Report, and we sincerely hope you will share your thoughts and opinions!
Mission Study Milestones and Process
1. Organize (Completed)
The Mission Study Team was commissioned, and begins regular meetings to follow the process outlined in the Presbytery’s Guidelines.
2. Define Scope (Completed)
Per the Mission Study guide, the scope of the Mission Study looks at the history, current status, and future directions for the congregation in the areas of:
• Spiritual health
• Finances and Stewardship
• Relationship to our community
• Relationship to Presbytery
3. Define Key Activities (Completed)
The team’s primary function will be discerning God’s leading for this congregation by listening for God’s voice in all that we hear during this time, including: scripture, the congregants’ voices, the voices coming from beyond FPC, the team members’ own voices, and FPC stories in its history. No single church can be all things to all people; the team is listening for our particular needs and calling in this place and time.
To engage, listen, and gather data, the team will carry out the following activities; many are planned to be launched in parallel:
• Congregational Gatherings
• Congregational Survey
• Focus Groups with FPC Ministries
• Historical Review
• Financial Review
• Demographic and Community Study
4. Time to Reflect and Plan (In Process)
Determine goals, key stakeholders, and potential report contents for each activity. Design processes and identify team leaders for main areas, with focus on our Ministry teams. Utilize relevant resources including other church Mission Studies, websites, church experts, etc.
5. Engage and Gather Data (In Process)
Information will be gathered by engagement with members, participants, community leaders, and other stakeholders through the first key activities.
6. Analyze and Summarize
Review and analyze all information from conversations and survey data. Summarize findings that apply to our history, as well as current and future direction. Write analysis sections.
Prayerfully reflect and consider the findings from the various FPC engagements and gathered data. Two themes have emerged: “Begin with the End in Mind” and “Listen for God Guidance”
Complete the Mission Study Report, including drafts, reviews, and edits. Determine the report format and communication plan for Session and the Presbytery, as well as the congregation.
9. Session Review and Adoption
Present report to Session for adoption. Upon adoption, submit Mission Study Report to the Presbytery Commission on Ministry for review.
10. Presbytery Review and Approval
Presbytery can request more information. Upon Presbytery approval, Session will dismiss the Mission Study Team. The Mission Study Report will be ready to be used by the Pastor Nominating Committee for Calling the next Sr Pastor/Head of Staff at FPC.
Description and Summary of the Key Activities
Due to the uniqueness of the COVID impact on our Church and Community, we have determined the best pathway is to leverage the use of virtual meetings for our team as well as the congregational gatherings. We will offer a limited number of in person meetings, respecting the safety of all participants, as allowed by the Session approved regathering plan .
Congregational Gatherings: Due to the COVID impact, the MST has decided that our initial gatherings will be held using virtual technology (Zoom). We will determine if this approach will require additional in person gatherings. We have held two gatherings lasting for 90 minutes each and engaging around 40 members per session. Participants graciously gave of their time to provide well-considered input into describing FPC identity. The MST gleaned rich insights into how you see FPC as it is and how you envision this church to be going forward. Our gatherings will conclude with a Congregational Town Hall Meeting designed to be an open session with a short feedback from initial gatherings and a chance for questions and to propose ideas for consideration. After the MST Report is approved by Session and Presbytery, the MST will present select preliminary findings and participants will be able to provide responses to extend our understanding of key challenges and opportunities.
Congregational Surveys: In a complementary way, the Congregational Survey has been designed to capture both demographic data and thoughtful responses to open-ended questions that deepen our understanding of who we are and where we hear God calling us to act and serve. We are hopeful that we receive a broad participation form our FPC Community. A brief survey was released in November. A more detailed survey is planned for early January, 2021.
Historical Review: The MST capitalized on the work of the Strategic Plan (2016) to understand our history of FPC. A shared knowledge of our history will inform us about both those aspects of our identity that we continue to value, as well as how we must evolve to best follow God’s leading for our church into the future.
Financial Review: The MST has studied FPC Financial and Stewardship data, with a focus on the past five years. Pre-COVID (2020), our financial situation is stable, and our members are cheerful givers who do so with abundance. Historically, our congregation has shown openness to faithful risk-taking for Mission Outreach both local and Global.
Demographic Study: Part of the process of understanding who we are and what work God has planned for us in this time and place is getting to know ourselves and our relationship to the community to which we minister. The MST has collected demographic data from Mission Insite, PC (USA) Research Services, and Congregational Survey. These data describe aspects of who we and our neighbors are now, and who we and they probably will be in the coming years. This provides valuable information about the needs of our community as well as how we might reach out to potential new members.
Community Study: MST members have interviewed two key contacts on Staff to learn more about key needs in our community, the role of organizations of faith, and how our neighbors view FPC. The MST will summarize the responses of community leaders to key questions in an effort to discern where and how our passions can be directed to serve our neighbors.