Our overall strategy at New Roads focuses on the Sunday worship experience. The Sunday experience is the number one opportunity for people in the community to connect with our church. The biggest and most important strategic decision we have made over the last few years has been to focus our staff, volunteers, and resources on the Sunday experience, from the perspective of unchurched people--that is, the thousands of people in our community who have drifted away from church or who have never really been a part of a church community. We stopped doing a lot of things we had been doing “because we’ve always done it” and we started focusing on Sunday worship.
Focusing on the Sunday worship experience from the perspective of people who have been disconnected from church has been a big step forward. But we’ve realized recently that it’s not focused enough. We’ve been trying to change six Masses across two parishes all at the same time. So our new focus, our strategic goal for this year, is to focus on transforming one Mass into an experience of worship that is modern, relevant, and engaging--a worship experience that helps people meet God through full, conscious, and active participation in worship.
Furthermore, our desire is to treat this one Mass as a “lab” or “workshop” where we can implement our vision of worship, but also experiment as we go. This will allow us to figure out what one worship experience will be like--what works and what doesn’t in attracting the unchurched and engaging current members more fully in worship. Once we’ve refined one worship experience and have a “proof-of-concept,” we can then expand what we’ve learned to other Masses.
In addition, we feel that focusing on one Mass will be the least disruptive and most honoring of the people in our community. In the past, we have made the mistake of rolling out changes and new initiatives before we had a clear idea of what it would take for those changes to be successful. That has led to several unintended and undesired results: frustration, lack of clarity and understanding, and burnout of staff and volunteers. Treating one Mass as a “lab” will also allow us to create a Mass where people can come and experience more concretely where we’re heading.
Making big changes to one Mass at a time seems to make sense for a number of reasons. The next question was: which Mass should we focus on? We think the 10:00 a.m. Mass at St. Joseph represents the best opportunity as it is a desirable Mass time for many and one that attracts many families with children. There are various objectives we’ll be working on related to this goal: upgrading our worship space and technology, enhancing kids’ worship experiences, expanding hospitality, and more. Stay tuned as we’ll be sharing more on this goal throughout the year, particularly here on our blog: this is Part I of a series of posts on “the lab” that will continue over the coming weeks and months.
It’s the church itself--the people of God--who are called to carry out the mission and vision of our church. And it’s important to say, that is the only way this will happen--through the service, generosity, hard work, and commitment of our whole community. At New Roads, we have so many smart, talented, committed, connected, and creative members whose input, ideas, and service are working together to make God’s vision for our church a reality. We want to partner with you in the work God is calling us to and we want to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to chat with us and to find out how you can partner with us in this effort.