Why A Discernment Process?
Every church has areas of strengths and places to grow. In a healthy congregation, it is important from time to time to take a step back and ask where God might be calling us as a church. In 2007 Broadway embarked on a vision process through prayer that lead to areas of growth in worship, missions, spiritual formation, outreach, and communications. Eight years later we began to realize it was time to evaluate where we are now and where God might be calling us next.
A team of 7 individuals from within the congregation volunteered to explore how this process would work. The team included a cross-section of ages, Sunday School classes and tenure of membership at Broadway. This group along with some other volunteers were trained in Appreciative Inquiry (AI). A.I. is a process of collecting information that focuses on the positive aspects of organizations which then leads to dreaming about how those strengths can be utilized to help with growth for the future.
An opportunity to be a part of A.I. interviews was offered to the congregation through Sunday School classes, small groups, and open invitations in newsletters and the Worship Folder. These meetings were held through the span of about 2 months to collect feedback. Over 100 church members participated from various ages and groups. Feedback from the groups was compiled and several themes emerged.
Questions used in the A.I. process included:
- When have you been most excited to be a part of Broadway?
- Why did you choose to come to Broadway, why do you stay?
- What strengths do you bring to Broadway?
Themes that arose as strengths of the church included:
- Quality Worship
- Strong Music Program
- Supporting/Caring for One Another
- Learning and Growing Together
- Nurturing our Children and Youth
- Giving to Others in Need
Discussion around these strengths led to future breakout sessions in May at the church-wide Potluck and round table discussion.
Four dreams developed from these groups:
- Growing Younger Populations
- Greater Diversity and Openness
- More Service to the Outside Community
- Maintaining strong beliefs and traditions
Lastly, the ministers and the teams/committees they work with have developed the 2016 Ministry Plan with these themes in mind. Broadway will continue to have excellent ministries and programs that were celebrated during the Appreciative Inquiry process. There will be opportunities for Spiritual Growth and Discipleship for all ages, quality worship, excellent pastoral care, and outreach to the community around us. There will also be challenges to grow in new ways as God continues to work through Broadway to share the love of Christ with the world.