There’s been a lot of “OPENING” at Our Redeemer’s this fall. Now our newly renovated building is open, and our Opening Doors generosity campaign is well on its way. And there’s more to come! What’s next?
OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS IN 2022. Open-ended questions are held open for a year and are part of answering: What big steps will we take in the coming year toward implementing our vision?
WHY ASK OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS? Faithfully living into God’s vision, we focus on and plan for the future. These questions allow our next steps into the future to be based on information, wisdom and discernment.
WHO’S ASKING? Our congregation, other experts, resources, and best practices from other churches give input before Council proposes future initiatives.
WHAT OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS WILL WE BE ASKING THIS COMING YEAR?
1. How do we, as people of faith, use our building and resources to engage our community for the sake of the Gospel? (How) Shall we prioritize who uses our building? What uses serve our congregation and the community? How do we weigh being of service and receiving rental income? What needs exist in the community that we might want to offer our building for? What role do Our Redeemer’s participants’ passions and energy play in focusing building use?
Hoped for outcome: Suggested recommendations and direction for Council and Staff to consider, try out, and give feedback on in the next few years.
2. “What does the Lord require of us but to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God?” (Micah 6:8). In this moment, how do we understand our calling as Our Redeemer’s to advocate for justice and to serve the world through expressions of God’s love? In what specific ways do we as a congregation want to respond to this call and re-envision our social justice ministries for the next 3-5 years?
Hoped for outcomes: Recommendations toward a social justice vision and strategic plan that both serves God’s kingdom, and infuses the lives of individuals and our church with a justice lens and practice.
HOW WILL WE ASK THESE QUESTIONS?
What’s in the works so far.
We will be opening our building for community holiday concerts and events, with minimal fees. This lets us get a feel for what such building use involves, make connections with community groups, and let the congregation try out different kinds of events and uses first-hand. So far: Sustainable Ballard Barter Event (December 3); Norwegian Ladies Chorus Concert (December 5) are on the calendar. We hope other requests for use will come when our publicity goes out.
Members of the Community Engagement Task Force (ALL are welcome to participate!) have been interviewing community leaders to see what trends and needs they see in our community, and what suggestions they have for us. This will be presented to the congregation for discussion in early 2022.
A trial monthly youth space and activity for community as well as church youth is expected to begin in January. Stay tuned. Again, congregational participation is encouraged, as part of how we discern best use of our building.
Watch for an online/paper survey about your experiences of Our Redeemer’s social justice and direct service activities.
Join a “World Café” on January 9 at 10:00. In rotating small groups, we’ll share stories and talk about such questions as: “What has been your most meaningful social justice experience?” and “What are you noticing in our wider community and world that is breaking your heart?” (We will also offer an online version of the World Café at a later date.)
Attend a Social Justice Forum on January 16 at 10 AM. This will be the first of a series of forums in which we hear from community leaders engaged in faith-filled social justice. We hope to highlight such areas as mental health, housing and homelessness, racial justice, immigration and climate change. These leaders will share their ideas about why and how a congregation like ours can get involved.
These events are intended to help us discern a strategic plan around our congregation’s involvement in social justice for the next 3-5 years.
All this is a very new approach to congregational input and future-oriented planning. We’ll need to offer one another some grace as we try it out for the first time. Thanks in advance for your willingness to participate…and remain “open-ended”!