MEMORANDUM

To:       Church Leaders and Members:

From:   Gary Richards

Date:   October 30, 2013

 

Re:       Neighborhood/Community Ministry

 

Then he [Jesus] turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the folks from the other side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.” 

Luke 14:12-14;  The Message

 

  • Goals and Objectives:

 

  • Goal: To establish the New Covenant United Methodist Church building as a welcoming, functional and accessible neighborhood ministry and mission facility.

 

  • Objective:

Complete Phase II building renovations by June 2013.

Phase II completion includes installing a four-stop elevator, a new industrial kitchen, and accessible men and women’s bathrooms with showers.

 

  • Goal: To organize appropriate and sustainable neighborhood partnerships for the purpose of developing and sustaining a church-based collaborative neighborhood mission.

 

  • Objective:

Completea neighborhood assessment with support and participation of the New Covenant UMC leadership and members, East Hartford Community Resource Center, Bread and Honey, St. Rose Food Pantry, East Hartford Middle School, Naranon, public institutions, neighborhood businesses and interested neighbors. Research will include identifying key neighborhood needs specific to the area’s low-income and immigrant communities and deepening neighborhood relationships.

 

  • Goal: Develop a church-based collaborative neighborhood mission plan.

                       

  • Objective:

Formulate, with direct participation from neighborhood partners, a neighborhood ministry plan in response to the needs identified in the assessment. Included in this plan will be a budget and resource development plan.

 

  • Goal: Execute the collaborative one-year neighborhood mission plan.

                                   

  • Objective:

Organize events, services and programs as identified in the neighborhood ministry plan (including, e.g., social activities, feeding ministry, and educational and health programming.)

 

  • Goal: Establish New Covenant UMC as an urban mission center.

  • Objective:

Organize church and neighbor mission opportunities that engage church leaders, members, neighborhood partners and outside mission teams.

MEMORANDUM

 

To:       Church Council

From:   Gary Richards

Date:   August 12, 2015

 

Re:       Neighborhood/Community Ministry/Congregational Sustainability Plan

 

Then he [Jesus] turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the folks from the other side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.” 

Luke 14:12-14;  The Message

 

I. Introduction:

On October 30, 2013 I distributed to the church leadership and membership a memorandum titled “Neighborhood/Community Ministry.” The purpose of the memorandum was to “report on the activities that have taken place to date and to put forth a recommendation on how to move forward on the following two Hebrews 11 Goals and community mission (Hebrew 11 Goals Attached):

  • To organize appropriate and sustainable neighborhood partnerships for the purpose of developing and sustaining a church-based collaborative neighborhood mission.

               B.  Develop a church-based collaborative neighborhood mission plan.

               C.  Execute the collaborative one-year neighborhood mission plan.

                  

Additionally, the memorandum put forth a proposal:

Change+Invest+Partnership=Action/Holy Risk

 

“The process of congregational change, investments and partnership development requires prayerful patience and a willingness to take holy risks. Taking the time to change, invest and partner will allow a congregation to take the holy risk of acting and being the church in a new and exciting way.  I see New Covenant at this place of being ready to take a holy risk. A holy risk is a response to the biblical call to serve as God’s people without knowing what God will do with and for God’s people. Holy risking taking is living and acting in faith and building upon the foundation of change, invest and partners. Holy risk taking is about participating in the building up of God’s reign (kindom) here on earth (in our own place and time.)

The holy risk proposal was to partner with the Community Resource Center (CRC), Child Plan (and Child Plan partners), Sheri-Lynn Staeb-SODEXO and others to yet be identified to provide a holiday dinner gathering on Thursday, December 5th from 5:30-8:30 PM. 

 

Since the December 5, 2013 Holiday Dinner New Covenant has taken on one holy risk after another moving well beyond the scope of the October 2013 memorandum but very much in line with the vision of being a “church based collaborative neighborhood mission:

 “Such a ministry [Holiday Dinner] will serve as a foundation for new relationships and ways to serve and be served. I am confident that this is a holy risk very worth taking and that this one event will set the example for many more to come and open a door that the congregation has long been waiting to enter.”

 

II. Purpose:

 

The purpose of this memorandum is to outline the process for evaluation of the past two years collaborative neighborhood mission and the development of a church mission and ministry sustainability plan. This process will utilize the Luke 14:12-14 text as a biblical accountability tool.  Additionally, I propose that the Church Council adopt the theme of celebrating the first 10 years of mission and ministry while planning for the next (New Covenant UMC 2016-2026 Mission and Ministry Sustainability Plan.)

 

 

III. Evaluation:

                                   

      A. Review of the Hebrews 11 Goals and Objectives.

 

  • What have we done well?

  • What could we have done better?

                                   

       B. How have we been faithful to the practice of Luke 14:12-14?

 

  • What do you imagine Jesus saying to us the host?

  • Have we been faithful to the call to invite?

  • What blessings did we/you experience?

  • Any favors returned?

  • Resurrection sightings?

  • Holy Risks taken or missed?

                                               

IV. Development of a Mission and Ministry Sustainability Plan

 

A. Introduction:

New Covenant has intentionally implemented the change+invest+partnerships=action/holy risk formula. This formula has proven successful to date but begs the question of sustainability. Too often congregations undertake mission and ministry strategies that look good on paper and work for the short term but are not sustainable. Congregations like any volunteer organization must evaluate and plan for sustainability. Our neighbors and partners need New Covenant to grow as well as to secure its future as a neighborhood based and community committed congregation.

 

B.  Fiscal Sustainability Planning:

 

                 1. Review of the Fiscal Principles

                 2. Capital Campaign

                 3. Building Maintenance

 

  • What are the changes and investments that are required for future sustainability?

 

-General Budget

-Building Fund

-Others

 

  • How are we going to make the changes and investments?

-Stewardship Planning for 2015-2016 and beyond

-Congregational/Community Communication

 

  • Are we willing to take the holy risk?

 

C. Mission and Ministry Sustainability Planning:

 

                 1. Evaluation of Current Long Term Partnerships

                        a. Shared Values?

                        b. Sustainable?

                       

                 2. What current partnerships (short or long term) invite development?

                        (Example: Foodshare and community meals)

 

                 3. What new partnerships invite development?

                        (Example: Family Resource Center at Mayberry School)

 

                 4. Urban Alliance Network Opportunity

                        a. Resources/relationships for Mission and Ministry

                        b. Resources/relationships for sustainability planning.

                        c. Opportunity to join the Urban Alliance Network

                 5. Urban Alliance Information:

                

IV. Conclusion:

As noted above this memorandum is to serve as an outline for church leadership discussion and planning. The memo will surely feed our conversations and open up our hearts for prayer and minds for discernment. New Covenant has been faithful to its mission and the ministry of Jesus Christ. Moving forward in His ministry brings great joy and challenges. We have reason to celebrate and a need to plan for the future. I look forward to our shared ministry and learning what plans God has for our next steps in building up God’s kingdom here in this place and time.