At this year’s Annual Parish Meeting I had the privilege of sharing the steps taken thus far to implement St. Stephen’s Strategic Ministry Plan. Since then, we have continued to implement aspects of the plan as well as look to develop other ways to engage the direction and spirit of the Five Strategic Objectives: Organization, Demographic Gaps, Church and School Relations, Growth, and Invite/Welcome/Connect/Reconnect.
At the Vestry meeting in January, the organization team presented a plan to realign support, accountability, and oversight of church volunteer ministry teams from under the clergy and staff to also include the Vestry. The plan called for the creation of portfolios to be selected and assigned to each Vestry member bringing greater definition and responsibility in their role. This change places Vestry members as the point of contact for leaders of ministries which fall within their unique portfolios. Thus, it shares greater responsibility for the leadership of the church among lay leadership. This plan was approved.
The Vestry also conducted their annual retreat in early February, during which this plan was a major focus of work and discussion. Of that work, Sr. Warden Elizabeth McClintock reports, “As a result of a productive retreat, the Vestry has set a goal to become better liaisons with the ministries of St. Stephen's, working with the staff and clergy to offer more support to our ministry leaders. I see this as a step towards understanding how to encourage more involvement from our parishioners with our ministries.”
We are in the process of working through the implementation of this plan. This means 2019 will be a time of tinkering and adjusting based on the needs of each unique ministry of the church to ensure the Vestry member or members who hold each portfolio are trained and equipped to be the support our lay ministry leaders need. We are also in the process of clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the Vestry, clergy, and staff to ensure that this change is for the benefit of the entire church. Over the next few months, we will be establishing communications between ministry leaders and the Vestry member that they will be working with in order to facilitate and clarify the relationships. We expect this process to take the whole of the year to finalize but believe it will be very worth the effort. Ministry leaders should expect introductions to their Vestry liaison in the coming weeks.
- Ryan Beaty, Missioner for Congregational Development