LMC’s Proposed Emerging Vision and Action Plan

LMC Brown Line 4An Emerging Vision for Luther Memorial Church + May 2015

Luther Memorial’s vision for the future is to be a church that is continually REFORMING, RENEWING, RESPONDING, REJOICING. To identify and address priorities to grow our ministry, leaders have focused on these areas for our future:

REFORMING

We will articulate our LMC identity and vision so that our congregation and the community and will know who we are and how we will serve our neighbors.

Action items:

  • Strategize a plan for our future/vision/mission/facility –Council in process

-Brand our ministry (how we see ourselves and want to be seen, including guidelines for consistent messaging) so that we are known in our community as an open congregation welcoming all people without judgment (emphasis as an ELCA Reconciling in Christ congregation. –Planning phase

-Upgrade our facility to enable and support the ministries we envision (projects: kitchen, floors, offices, gym, roof, elevator, general updates, new space between buildings, parking)-Planning phase

-Audit neighboring churches to see how our identity is different-Mission and Vision Team in process

RENEWING

We will grow connections among members to engage a deeper sense of community and to facilitate faith formation for all ages and perspectives

  • Renewing Communication

-Develop a plan for communication within the church and the community by implement recommendations from Kairos Communication Audit-In process

Audit volunteers to determine who is volunteering and where-Planning phase

  • Renewing Faith

-Develop areas of ministry led by staff and lay leaders as congregation

grows  for Adult Ministry ( All ages:Singles/Couples with no children), Senior adult ministry and expanded Family Ministry (parents/children/youth)-In process

-Possibly look into hiring part-time staff or engage motivated lay persons to direct and make a road map for faith formation-Planning phase

  • Renewing Spirits

-Empower the congregation to identify spiritual gifts through a spiritual gift inventory with a flow plan to act on the gifts-Planning phase

-Possibly hire part-time staff or engage motivated lay persons (Community Enrichment Coordinator) to help match gifts with opportunities-Planning phase

RESPONDING

We will provide a clean and safe facility with efficient building use to provide services for those with needs

  • Identify and develop and strengthen  signature outreach project(s) for LMC

-Determine unmet needs in our community by conversations with community leaders and available data-Ongoing process

-Get the word out-Ongoing process

  • Reconcile People with Jesus Christ and One Another

-Partnerships with other churches and community organizations –In process

-Equip people to invite their friends, neighbors, coworkers and relatives to “Come and see” the resurrecting work of Jesus-Ongoing process

-Become an advocate for social justice issues for all neighbors-Ongoing process

-Embrace a ministry of reconciliation to bring people and groups into acceptance and unity through the power of Christ-Ongoing process

  • Deepen community outreach and connection to neighborhood

-Explore connection opportunities with the elementary school-planning phase

-Use our facility as a center for events/concerts/groups-Ongoing process

REJOICING

We will joyfully gather to praise God, and grow in faith through worship, study, and fellowship.

  • Create space to celebrate the community we have in Christ

-Acknowledge the mountain tops as well as the valleys of life-Ongoing process

-Stephen Ministries for support-In process

-All healing ministries of the church-Ongoing process

  • Celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

-Help the congregation connect to its heritage intentionally-Planning phase

  • Enhance worship experiences

-Improve space and technology capabilities-Planning phase

-Develop an engaging fellowship time with educational opportunities-In process

Vision Statement: Transforming Chicagoland in Christ’s name as a Reforming, Renewing, Responding, and Rejoicing community of faith.

Mission Statement: “We reach people with the Gospel by reforming ourselves and the world around us, renewing our faith and supporting others on their faith journey, responding to our neighbor through service and advocacy, and rejoicing in the love of God shown through Christ in engaging worship.”

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Mission and Vision: A Proposed Path Forward as a Reforming, Renewing, Responding and Rejoicing Faith Community!

LMC Brown Line 4

This is not a new logo. This is an internal graphic that will help us visualize the “stops” we make as individuals of faith, and a community of faith. This is what we do in our part of Chicago between Western and Rockwell!

People of God at LMC,

At a retreat in the summer of 2014, LMC’s council resolved to be proactive in tackling our growth. People are coming through our doors and we need to have plans and processes in place that not only welcome them but also connect us all together. We convened cottage meetings in the autumn to start a congregation-wide conversation about who we are and where we are going as a faith community. We heard we’re ready for a new mission and vision. We are ready to tackle future growth proactively while also keeping faithful to the past of this sacred community.

In early 2015 the newly commissioned council started working our action plan. Taking the notes and discussion points from the cottage meetings, we set out to partner with Kairos and Associates (after a lengthy vetting process) to craft a new mission and vision that describes who we are while also leaning into who we want to be. We began dreaming about how our building and community would be able to live into this revised mission and future vision.

The newly created Mission and Vision Team convened in March. In meeting with David Misenheimer from Kairos, we quickly identified three major areas of focus: our identity (how we see ourselves and want others to see us), our connections (connections in the neighborhood as well as connections with God and one another), and our building (it matters that we have a building, and why location matters). Over the next month we sifted these three themes, coming up with action plans, good language, and sticky words to convey our thoughts.

We resolved that we will articulate our LMC identity and vision so that our congregation and community will know who we are and how we serve. What is our identity? Well, we are faith community from the Reformation tradition (we are Lutheran, after all). But more importantly, we are a welcoming community who meets people wherever they are on their faith journey. Could we re-brand ourselves to reflect this better? To make more witness to the idea that we’re a Reconciling in Christ congregation welcoming all without judgment in God’s love? We began to see we are continually Reforming and re-forming as people faith, even now looking to re-form our building to be more hospitable, and re-forming our community to include all.

We resolved that we will grow connections to engage a deeper sense of community and to facilitate faith formation for all ages and perspectives. As we’ve grown, we’ve outgrown many of the previous ways we disseminated information. A communications audit is now in process. In addition, we’ve outgrown the ability for everyone in the church to know one another intimately. There is a feeling we need a new center for making intentional connections not only between people, but also between people and their gifts and passions. Perhaps we look at commissioning a Community Enrichment Coordinator whose purpose would be to help the church do just this. We need more specialized faith programming: adult ministries for singles and doubles, senior ministries, and expanded ministries for families with children. Do we need staff to help here? In Renewing our processes and growth-in-faith activities, we renew the life of Christ within our community.

We resolved that we will provide a clean and safe facility with efficient building use to provide service for those with needs. Why does it matter that we have a building? Our worship space provides inspiration. But our building overall is not inspiring, and is past-due for upgrades. There are so many groups who use our building, both within the congregation and from the outside neighborhood. We are a community hub. And yet, our building is not the only thing that makes us a community hub. From the people within the church we find we are continually reconciling humanity in Christ’s name: reconciling the hungry with food and advocacy; reconciling racial, gender and sexual identities with one another through the love shown in Jesus; reconciling the impoverished and the wealthy through sharing of gifts. Our people are also inspiring, and we need to reflect that. Now is the time to embrace this part of ourselves through planned upgrades and a focus on service and advocacy so we can continue to be a community Responding to the needs of our neighbor.

We resolve that we will joyfully gather to praise God and grow in the Christian faith through worship, study, and fellowship. How can we be a community continually Rejoicing in God’s amazing love and grace?  How can we keep worship engaging, connecting the transcendent and the mortal in ways that inspire faith and love through music, word, and the arts? How can we continue to make our worship space hospitable through the use of media and design? How can we acknowledge our Lutheran lens while also opening ourselves up to the many traditions filling our pews on a Sunday morning?

Out of all of this we’ve discerned a vision and mission for the next five years of Luther Memorial Church of Chicago.

Vision Statement: Transforming Chicagoland in Christ’s name as a Reforming, Renewing, Responding, and Rejoicing community of faith.

Mission Statement: “We reach people with the Gospel by reforming ourselves and the world around us, renewing our faith and supporting others on their faith journey, responding to our neighbor through service and advocacy, and rejoicing in the love of God shown through Christ in engaging worship.”

The Mission and Vision Team feels confident these four words – Reforming, Renewing, Responding, and Rejoicing – not only describe us now, but also will be an identity to grow into. They are active words; words in process just as we are in process. These words are generative and re-generative: we form ourselves again and again (re-form), we are made new in faith again and again (re-new), we are tasked with the ability to help our neighbors again and again (respond), we are continually brought back to the joy found in the God seen through Jesus (rejoice).

They are the four stops that we, as a faith community, continue to take over and over again in between Western and Kedzie here in the city. This is Luther Memorial Church of Chicago.

Council Introductions: Meet Linda Khoury!

Lutheranism is in my blood.  My grandfather was a Lutheran pastor and I grew up going to a small Lutheran churcimage in the southwest suburbs.  I loved going to church when I was a kid.  I loved following along with the divine service.  I loved singing hymns and going to Sunday school.

That little Lutheran church gave me a solid foundation but as I grew into young adulthood, I realized I was searching for something more, something deeper. Through college and after moving into the city, I attended a non-denominational, evangelical church.  There I found people who hungered for God and strived to incorporate faith into all aspects of their life.  While I enjoyed my time there and grew in my faith, something was missing. At the time I wasn’t sure what that was or where to look.

A few years later I moved to Lincoln Square and found what I was looking for and it happened to be across the street from my new apartment.  Home.  I walked into Luther Memorial and I felt like I had finally come home.  I found the Lutheranism that is so much a part of me.  I found a community that welcomed me (all of me) with open arms and immediately took me in and made me one of their own.  I have so enjoyed being part of this community and serving with such a diverse group of people; people of all ages, walks of life and faith backgrounds.  I feel so blessed to continue to grow in my faith at Luther Memorial.

Council introduction: Christian

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Life is funny sometimes. When I moved to the US 5 years ago, I would not have thought about being on a church council or even be part of a Lutheran congregation.

When my wife and I moved into the Lincoln Square neighborhood, we were looking at different churches on our quest to find a congregation that we would feel at home and that would align with our spiritual beliefs. It was shortly before Christmas when we attended a service at LMC for the first time and we were positively surprised on how welcoming everybody was, how big the variety of people were at the service and how well the sermon resonated with us. After coming back several times, we finally set up a coffee date with the pastor and started asking all kinds of questions about LMC and Lutherans in General. Shortly after we joined the congregation officially and have been excited to be a part of this great community every since.

After helping with getting our new member orientation class, “The Great Conversation” off the ground, I wanted to explore other ways I could contribute and when the idea was brought up that I could join the council, I was thrilled.

LMC is constantly evolving and exploring new ways to serve the community. I am grateful and blessed to be part of this visionary team who is so dedicated and wonderful.

See you at the services on Sunday!

– Christian