The Presbytery of Lake Michigan's Leadership Team has committed to discerning what God is calling us to be and do. There are some givens which ground us as Presbyterians. The Book of Order Foundation section speaks to our identity. Chapter Three in our Form of Government addresses Presbytery's assigned role and given tasks. How we accomplish these is up to our creativity. It is not the gospel which has changed necessitating this work. Rather we have changed, society norms have changed. Our ministry context is different than just 4 or 5 years ago. Faithfulness witness to the gospel requires us to focus on most important things.
So on Thursday, January 12th, the Leadership Team and Presbytery staff shared a retreat day with Linda Badger Becker. Linda just led the Presbytery of Western Reserve in this discernment work. She led us in Bible Study, and gave us a common language of strategic visioning, which I am sharing here for all of us.
CORE VALUES: Central priorities in Presbytery's culture; who we are and what we care about drives priorities. Values define HOW Presbytery will do what it does. (See John 13:34-35 and G-3.-301, F-1.0302, and F-1.0304). What are the core values you see which need to claim, or values to ground us as we engage our future?
MISSION: Defines the purpose of the Presbytery; WHY it exists; WHAT it does; WHO it does it for. (See Matthew 28:18-20, G-3.03). Our purpose statement adopted in 2013 states: "The purpose of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan is to challenge, encourage and equip worshiping communities of faith to make disciples of Jesus Christ with the gifts God gives us."
VISION: Inspirational and aspirational; creates a mental image of the future of the Presbytery at its best. (See Jeremiah 29:11) At our best, what does God want us to look like in two or three years? What difference is God calling us to make together?
STRATEGY: Setting realistic goals, determining actions and resources needed to achieve mission and realize vision. HOW we propose to live into the vision. (See Proverbs 4:26).
STRUCTURE: Design through which the Presbytery's strategy for achieving mission and realizing vision is implemented. Changes in strategy require changes in structure for successful implementation. (See Mark 2:22, G-3.0106).
STAFFING: Determining what professional help is needed to support the structure that implements the strategy that realizes the vision that achieves the mission. (See G-3.0110)
DISCERNMENT requires open minds, open hearts, open wills tuned to not to our individual desires, but to God's will for us.
This is the language of strategic visioning for any vital organization. This is the work set before us. We've done this before. We've stumbled in recent years starting at the wrong end addressing staff needs and organizational structure thinking our core values, mission and vision were identified. We delegated this work to various task forces. This year, the Leadership Team will lead the Presbytery in this work. We are reviewing the work already done. Then we will take a new look at our core values, mission, vision, etc. and will be engaging the members of Presbytery in each step. So please join us in this work.