Parish-Input Executive Summary December 31, 2023
On September 16, 2023 St. Paul’s Brookfield held a Parish-Input meeting to evaluate the church’s effectiveness in achieving its mission “to create a place where lives are healed and transformed through the power of Jesus Christ.” Seventy were in attendance, and parishioners were grouped in 12 tables, with 5 – 6 at each table.
Half of those present have participated in the parish for 15 years or less, while the other half have made St. Paul’s their home for over 15 years.
The parish assessment included an initial ice breaker followed by 5 focus area questions. The icebreaker posed the following questions:
- How many years have you been at St. Paul’s?
- What brought you to St. Paul’s?
- How has your life changed since you first arrived at St. Paul’s?
The focus area questions were as follows:
- Being a welcoming community – How well are we are at assimilating new people into the life and ministry of St. Paul’s?
- Providing opportunities for healing and transformation – How well are we doing in providing the resources or gifted personnel to facilitate spiritual healing and spiritual growth?
- Equipping others to faithfully serve – How well are we at providing resources and opportunities to train and prepare members for service both within and without St. Paul’s? How effective are our Children and Adult Christian Education programs?
- How well do we enable you to identify, develop, and exercise your spiritual gifts?
- Missions: How well do we provide opportunities for you to participate in local and global evangelism through proclamation, prayer, sharing, giving, and serving.
In concluding the event, two additional questions were posed to parishioners:
- What needs do you have that are not being met at St. Paul’s?
- What skills or gifts do you have to offer that are not being used at St. Paul’s?
26 pages of comments were collected, assembled, and delivered to a Parish-Input Committee for review. A summary of the committee’s findings are as follows:
- There is an unawareness and an unfamiliarity with the persons, activities, and culture between those participating in the traditional 8 AM and contemporary 10:30 AM Sunday services.
- Parishioners feel that there is a lack of vision and effort to develop children and youth ministries. More needs to be done to address this need.
- Many pastoral needs are not being met.
- There is a need for smaller, intimate groups that can provide support for spiritual, social, and physical needs, and opportunities for those with gifts to exercise them.
- Communication and promotion of parish and outreach ministries and committees, highlighting opportunities for service is lacking.
Parishioner responses, and subsequent committee meetings, uncovered a tension between those most concerned with local humanitarian efforts, and those seeking more broad missionary evangelism initiatives. St. Paul’s vestry will be taking a closer look at this in 2024.
The Parish –Input Committee will be meeting in 2024 to do the following:
- Prioritize, form committees around, and develop action plans and a timeline to address the cited focus areas
- Identify human, financial, and training resources needed to develop and implement the action plans
- Identify obstacles that may be encountered in developing and implementation the action plans
- Develop measurable goals and objectives to ensure the success of action plans centered on focus areas
- Identify leading indicators that will be used to evaluate, modify, and adjust action plans
St. Paul’s is grateful to all those that participated in this exercise of the living body of Christ coming together to examine the mission and health of our parish. The discussion, comments, tension and continuing follow up to this Parish-Input meeting is clear indication of the health and vitality of this church. May we continue to move forward as our Lord Jesus Christ goes before us leading the way.