Our Visioning Process: A Great Start, and What's Next
Ross Murray, Vision Team member
Kevin Bowen, Vision Team co-chair and Communications Coordinator
Wow! The Vision Team at Advent is overjoyed by everyone who showed up for a 4-hour retreat on a Saturday in January. Seeing all the Advent members, the unity of our English and Spanish speaking members beginning this process together, and the openness, honestly, engagement that everyone brought to the day was honestly inspiring.
Your faith in taking the first step of this process with us, and engagement with this faith community to explore our shared vision and mission together — these are what will make this process an amazing success for our church!
But as a team, we know we can’t stop at this mountain top high, but rather need to continue with our process. The Vision & Mission Retreat launched our journey on this visioning process together, but it isn’t over yet. Not by a long shot.
The retreat was only the first of four visioning process stages — engaging, listening, distilling, and empowering, and as we continue through this process, we invite and encourage you to keep sharing with us where you believe God is calling us as a congregation.
Following the Retreat
In the week following the retreat, we catalogued, shared, listened, and thought deeply about detailed notes from every small group, 250+ post-it responses on our Vision Board, and 25 reflection surveys from the retreat; plus all the emails and verbal conversations that followed.
The Vision Team met just over a week after the Vision Retreat, on January 21, to talk about what we heard and learned in the retreat responses. A deep and nuanced understanding of all these voices and perspectives, and the emerging themes, would be essential when we began building out our “Listening” phase at our next meeting on February 3.
Now, the Vision Team is deeply involved in the process of building out the programming, implementation, and outreach for our “Listening” phase with the Advent community.
As we move through the Engaging phase, and into the Listening phase, there are still ways that we want to hear from the congregation.
Adult Faith Formations is one opportunity to continue exploring our visioning process! Join us every Sunday mornings in February from 10:10-10:50am in the back half of the Community Hall as we dive deeper into Christ's vision for community. Together, we will seek out connections between the Gospel and our mission as a unique and unified church. See upcoming topics >
As we prepare to enter Lent and the "Listening" phase of our Visioning Process, the congregation is invited to pray for one another. Starting on February 1, through March 5, we will pray through the roster of our community. Download the *updated* Prayer Calendar to join us in praying for every member of the Advent community.
But we are not stopping there. We will be rolling out a series of listening sessions, to be held at a variety of times, locations, and for a range of audiences. We know it’s important to listen to the various affinity groups within the congregation, as well as ensure members continue to engage with and listen to one another.
You may be wondering, “What does this bible study and prayer practice have to do with the visioning process? When are we talking about money? When are we talking about building? When’s the GOOD STUFF?”
As the Advent Vision Team, we are committed to discerning a vision that is rooted in the Gospel, collectively owned by all Advent members, actionable, and aspirational. We believe that study of the Gospel and Spirit-led prayer are the “good stuff” that will lead and guide our congregation into a vision and mission that encompasses a variety of temporal questions.
We want Advent’s vision to inform all our decisions, about money, about property, about staffing, about our ongoing ministry, which is why we continue to need your discernment, your voice, your vision, and your ongoing support during this process. We are standing together, as a congregation and community, in the gift of God’s grace, looking forward to a vision together. And we pray that the Spirit of God continues to bless us with a community that continues to engage, listen, and care.