UUMC Ministry Team works on a path to discipleship at UUMC, engaging with new guests, caring for our constituents, and encouraging summer worship attendance.
Your UUMC Ministry Team coordinates the ministries of University United Methodist Church. We met on February 18, 2016 to consider attendance patterns, how we engage and integrate with new guests, what it means to be a part of our community, and how we care for one another. Highlights follow:
Attendance has improved significantly through Fall 2015 and January 2016, surpassing somewhat the prior year’s numbers.
June was the worst attendance month in 2015. So, we set a goal to encourage attendance June 2016. The chosen worship theme for June is Summer Sabbath, which is congenial with encouraging summer attendance. We will look seriously at an earlier time for worship, perhaps 9:30 a.m.
To this end, we will take a congregational survey post-Easter in April. One question will be whether absences in summer are due to vacation, time of day related, or other.
Some items which will be considered will be: Length of service; what we will offer for children and youth for Sunday morning, and other programming ideas.
Leadership Council on April 28 will be asked to review the input received and approve a plan of action.
Ministry Calendar items of note:
Palm Sunday plans include procession around the sidewalk of the round-about, and a dramatic reading in lieu of sermon.
Mark calendars for Holy Week services: Maundy Thursday on March 24 and Good Friday on March 25. Services will be at 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday will include foot-washing.
Easter will see a change from lilies to other species of flowers, based on requests concerning lily allergies.
Stewardship Campaign is 5/1 through 5/22.
Confirmation Sunday is at Pentecost.
Our Path to Discipleship and Caring for Constituents proposals were carefully and creatively considered.
Ushering / greeting / outside greeting system:
Worship Team is in the middle of rethinking how we use people in these functions.
Some ideas being considered so far are: distinguishing functions between front door and back door positions; emphasis on lively greeting upon entry, rather than outside; informal recruitment of people to take up the offering; keeping doors to outside open, subject to weather and HVAC concerns; having more people hang out in narthex before service in an intentional way; having cookies in the narthex; add chairs to encourage lingering and conversation; seeking out gifts of hospitality in the congregation.
Bread for first time guests
Worship Team is seeking better consistency in distribution of the bread in two ways:
Coverage every week
Consistent message by the giver
We plan to have one page flier to hand out with the bread, with basics about the church (things already on our website), with customization by age to include at least a young adult flier as well as older adult flier.
Follow-up beyond the first guest visit:
We plan to develop small packet for third-time guests. The main thrust of the packet would be to present our Path to Discipleship in a simple manner, and to encourage participation in the Be You, Be Love, Belong class. The flier would also have basic information on integrating into the congregation and its activities. This packet could be customized towards our target groups.
The class will take place about 3 times a year, and needing 3+ units (single or couple) of participants each time. Rev. Diane will schedule accordingly.
The class will continue in its present 3-session format. It is intended to give participants basic information about our faith and our congregation, insight into how to integrate into the congregation, and introduce our path to discipleship, encouraging taking the next steps and engage in our community and its work. We will continue to have sponsors for each unit, with some adjustments to how we match up.
The next step after the class is a subsequent meeting one-on-one with a coach of about one-half hour. The coach listens to the participant express their hopes, wishes, and concerns about the next steps in the path (worshiping / serving / praying or spiritual development). This is intended to result in decisions by the participant. The coaches need to be generally familiar with the breadth of our congregations’ activities, be attuned to listening, and familiar with and supportive of our path to discipleship. We have two volunteers already for this.
The coach introduces the participant to the proper contact persons or leaders relevant to each decisions. These are to be in person introductions.
The class is intended to lead to further spiritual growth, but not necessarily in baptism or membership. For that step, the participant will meet with Rev. Diane to discuss.
Caring for Constituents – other categories
We affirmed that Congregational Care continues to care or coordinate care for:
- Home bound
- Emerging inactive persons
- Those stressed or distressed
They are not presently focused on long-term inactive constituents as a priority.
Young Adults / College Students are under the wing of the Team by that name.
Emerging Constituents (guests as they evolve into active constituents) are primarily under the wing of Worship Team.
The home-bound program is highly structured and active. Ideally, the team would like to pair home-bound persons with other members.
The emerging inactives caring is initiated by weekly lists of persons with three weeks of absence (preceded by at least occasional attendance prior). Lots of judgment and consideration of circumstances is required in discerning actions on this list.
The stressed / distressed support is mostly initiated by word of mouth exchanges of information and general alertness to life changes and situations. We are seeing this focus really coming to life and bearing fruit.
Information Technology in support of our over-all caring efforts
Volunteers are working hard to improve the quality of data on our Church Windows software in order to provide useful attendance and other reports in support of our caring efforts.
Yours, Tom Mitchell
Lay Leader (Ministry Team focus)