The leader of a church consulting firm once told me that they bring in an outside consultant from time to time to consult with them about their consulting. That might sound like a cat chasing its tail, but it was really something wise. Churches, non-profits, corporations, almost any group--including a family--can benefit from some careful listening and a fresh perspective, often from the outside looking in. Communities and companies get into patterns of living and functioning that need a good looking over from time to time. That's exactly what we are getting this weekend Oct. 3-5 with a visitation from the Rev. Renee LiaBraaten. She was just named Associate to the Bishop for Generosity in New England and we are the first congregation she is working with in this new role (see notice and profile below). We engaged her services over the summer before she got this new title to help us explore a possible capital campaign. But there is more going on here than that.
We worked with Pastor Renee ten years ago. She got to know us well and offered expert guidance as we undertook a major expansion of our facilities. But that was a long time ago and things have changed. I'm so glad she is able to check in with us and get to know us again. What better way than to ask powerful questions (see below) in discussions with 30-40 individual households and gather into a couple of focus groups this Sunday. It's not just about debt, or parking, our organ, or the fellowship hall. It's also about our life together, our ministry and mission as a congregation, our present and our future. I'm convinced that God will make good use of her visit and we will be all the stronger for it. She will share a report on the health of St. Paul and the feasibility of a campaign in writing and in person on Sunday Oct. 18.
Thanks to all of you who signed up for confidential interviews. Just follow the signs up to the church offices to the waiting area outside the upper lounge and Renee will come find you. There are ten spots left and going fast! For those who can't fit that in their schedule or would prefer a group setting, you're invited to join in this Sunday at 9:30 or 11:45 a.m. here at church. There are links for sign ups (required for interviews) below, but you could just show up for a group.
I'm convinced, along with the church council and vision team, that this is a good time to take stock and try to address some financial and facility needs. Even more I feel blessed to have someone as wise and trusted as Pastor Renee visit us and see how we are doing.