In the last 6 months we have enjoyed the incredible privilege of being coached and guided in this goal-planning process by Russ & Carol Sabia, members of our community who are also professional consultants in organizational health and clarity with Patrick Lencioni’s firm, The Table Group. With Russ & Carol’s guidance, we set out to identify accomplishments in the last 6 months by asking the question: what’s different now from 6 months ago, particularly when it comes to the 10am Mass?
Here are some of the highlights:
LITURGY -- We’re always working to improve our messages and message series, but we’ve recently begun to focus and tailor our series in ways that our community specifically needs to grow (e.g. our current series, Upgrade, all about prayer). Music has been a core focus as well and in the last 6 months we’ve worked to improve both the quality and consistency of the music at the 10am Mass. We’ve also begun to use music not just as something that happens occasionally during the Mass, but as a tool that enhances the experience overall, to help focus our attention and draw us in (e.g. we’ve experimented with having soft music underneath the Gospel and during the Eucharistic Prayer to draw people into the meaning and importance of those parts of the Mass). This fall we’ve also worked to make Kids’ Church and Tiny Disciples more engaging and relevant for our younger members and seen more children participating with greater enthusiasm.
ENGAGEMENT/COMMUNICATION -- We decided to explore staying in the hall as a longer-term possibility (see this post for more background). We have had (and continue to have) conversations with people in small groups and one-on-one to discuss this possibility. We’ve worked to communicate our vision and engage people in conversation, not shying away from disagreement but seeking to listen and hear from people who have different ideas and perspectives. We’re deeply grateful for people’s engagement in this process as it’s crucial in helping us make decisions and move forward. We’ve also started this blog as a way to communicate more and improve clarity of communication among our team, volunteers, community, and beyond.
HOSPITALITY -- We’ve made some big steps with hospitality in the last 6 months. We defined a vision for hospitality: everyone who arrives on our campus feels welcome and loved--by us and by God--from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave. And in a meeting in October, we had the chance to share that vision and brainstorm ideas with people who have served or are interested in serving in hospitality in our community. Since that meeting, we’ve had many one-on-one meetings with people who feel called to be a part of implementing this vision for hospitality at the 10am Mass. It’s been so exciting to engage with people in our community who have a real gift for hospitality and also a deep sense of ownership for making this vision come to life in our church. In 2018, we’ll be launching our hospitality team at the 10am Mass. Stay tuned.
TECHNOLOGY -- We’ve made some key purchases when it comes to our technology--some visible and some behind-the-scenes. The most visible (or audible!) change has been the purchase of a new headset microphone for the presider (Fr. Thom) as well as a new wireless (handheld) microphone, both of which tie into the same sound system as the music. The sound quality of these mics is far superior to our previous wireless mics for the hall which could only be used through the outdated built-in sound system in the hall. We also purchased some tech and sound equipment for both churches so that the churches own all the equipment used by the worship team. This is a healthier and more sustainable position for our churches to be in.
Those are some of the specific highlights from the past 6 months related to our goal. But when we think about what’s different now from 6 months ago, particularly when it comes to the 10am Mass, one big aspect of it is hard to describe. The best way we could describe it was this: the 10am Mass has a much different energy than it did 6 months ago. God’s Spirit is active and moving before, during, and after Mass in a new way. There’s a sense of excitement and anticipation. A few Sundays we’ve run out of seats (a good problem to have).
Certainly we’ve got a long way to go in realizing our vision. And most days we’re more focused on closing that gap and thinking about what’s next. But taking the time to pause to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of our team and our community related to this one goal was an encouraging and energizing experience. We hope sharing it here encourages and energizes you in our work together!