Monday, June 24, 2013

Vital Signs

What are the signs of vitality in ministry?  What do we measure to know if we are accomplishing what we understand God desires of us?  Discussion of these questions is a holy conversation.  What the PC(USA) asks us to measure each year in our statistical reports is membership gains and loses, financial receipts and expenditures.  These actually are resources for ministry, not the outcomes.  Worship Attendance is a ministry activity.  Professions of Faith and baptisms are  outcomes.  Less easily measured outcomes are transformed lives, transformed communities?  What difference is God calling you to make where you live?  

Looking at five measures of our congregations based on the Ten Year Statistical Trend Reports for the Presbytery of Lake Michigan:
  1. 2011 Reported membership increase over 2006 (5 years)
  2. 2012 Reported membership increase over 2011 (1 year)
  3. 2011 Receipts greater than 2001 (10 years)
  4. 2011 Worship Attendance increase over 2006 (5 years)
  5. 2011 Validated Mission Giving (Shared Mission, PC(USA) Special Offerings) greater than in 2001

I discovered that:
4 Churches, No Report/Records
23 Churches with no positive indicators reflected in the above five measures. 
19 Churches with one positive indicator
14 Churches with two positive indicators
5 Churches with 3 positive indicators
Buchanan, First, 1 year members +1, receipts +$145,000, worship attendance +7 
Concord, First, 1 year members +5, receipts +$47,000, validated mission +$1,200
Homer, First,  receipts +$36,000, worship attendance +35, validated mission +$1,900
Kalamazoo, First, 1 year members +16, Receipts +$196,000, worship attendance +59 
Eastminster, GR, 1 year members +7, worship attendance +10, + $1,500 validated mission

Congratulations to these congregations.  How do you measure success?  The number of contacts with people?  More powerful than numbers are the stories of lives transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The church is blessed and is vital when it participates in such transformation.  Let us be part of those transformation stories, identify and praise God for them, and tell the stories!  

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Website!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website! This is the result of 6 months of labor by our staff and leadership. Visitors to our previous site were experiencing a variety of issues, many caused by the advancement of technology.  We hope the new site will be quicker and easier to use. Below you will find a few new features of the site:

The home page has been simplified to allow users to find information quicker. The main menu has been shortened to only the most frequently accessed items. All ministries are now located under one menu item.

The new interactive search will start displaying results as you type in your search criteria.

We thought it would be a great idea to make announcements really stand out so we included a homepage slideshow. The slides link to web pages that contain more detail about the announcement.

Office Links
To help our congregations, we created a block with frequently used links for church offices, treasurers, clerks of session and ministers.

The member login is now located in the top left on every page. When a member logs in the Presbytery Meeting page will automatically be displayed along with special ‘Member only’ menus, displayed on the right. This allows members to find meeting information and documents easier.

Remember, we also use Facebook to communicate quickly, so please join our group. The link is found at the bottom of every page on our website.