What is God up to in the life of the Minnesota Conference UCC?
What is it that people have a right to expect of conference ministry that,if they do not do it, no one else can or, in all likelihood, will do it?
The Board of Directors of the MN Conference United Church of Christ has begun a period of intentional discernment to explore questions like these and think strategically about the future of our Conference. We enter this time from a perspective of abundance and with the commitment to being proactive versus reactive in a time of significant change in society and the Church.
At a day-long retreat on January 27, Board members set norms for their time together as follows: to be open to the Holy Spirit; to engage in courageous conversation; to have a vision of abundance with honesty to trends & statistics and their impact; to be mindful of the whole Conference; and to be aware that the role of the Conference is rooted in the role of the wider Church. Guided by a facilitator from Leaderwise, the Board worked to identify the current ministries of the Conference and the context within which those ministries are carried out, to articulate Board members’ personal reality in relation to the work of the Conference and then identify themes, patterns and next steps.
As its next step, the Board extended an invitation to MN Conference churches and clergy to share their needs, hopes and ministry context. We knew that we need your valuable input about the opportunities, blessings and challenges experienced in the varied settings and ministries of the MN Conference. Our future together depends on broad, timely and honest participation.
We have now engaged the professional assistance of DeYoung Consulting Services in developing and executing a comprehensive approach for listening and gathering further input. A survey was sent to over 4,000 people for their input. Over 400 of you responded and our consultants are in the process of creating charts detailing the analysis of this survey information. Thank you to those of you who took the time to respond to the survey.
Focus groups and individual meetings are also being scheduled and conducted throughout August and September. The goal is to have all this information available to the Board of Directors at their November Board meeting
We will continue to work diligently to achieve the outcomes set forth in our 2020 Vision plan and to empower the many vital and energy-driven ministries already in place. We recognize, however, that the world and Church are changing and we must be ready and able to change as well.
The covenantal relationships we hold together will under-gird our decision-making and actions going forward. We are committed to transparency. We will continue to seek and utilize multiple avenues to keep you informed throughout our process.
We are excited to imagine what kind of future God may have in store for our ministry in the Minnesota Conference. We hope you’ll join us in these courageous conversations and help us prayerfully shape that future together.