Why do our priorities matter? (2019 Congregational Survey)

(2019 Congregational Survey) Pastor Rick spent his first two years here listening to the people of Shepherd of the Valley. What is special here? What are our gifts and strengths? How are we part of our larger community? How do we move forward to best meet God’s call for SOTV?

He came up with four priorities that were affirmed in the last congregational survey and focus group discussions. I’m going to talk a bit about each one and why it matters.

Ministry in times of transition. Sometimes, transitions are expected or anticipated – things like graduating from school, having a child, retiring. Sometimes, they are unexpected – things like a tough diagnosis, loss of a job, or the death of a loved one. Regardless of the cause, transitions can find us struggling for our identity, searching for others who can relate or walk with us, or questioning what we believed to be true just days or weeks earlier. Transitions can be times when we turn away from or turn toward God and the church. We feel called to meet people in their transitions and accompany them along their journey.

Being wider and deeper. During the survey, this was phrased as “bigger and smaller.” It means breadth and depth. How do we help more people know the love and grace of Jesus Christ? How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus in our surrounding communities and world? How also do we support and challenge people to weave God into their daily lives, grow in faith through life’s ups and downs, and use their gifts to love and serve God and neighbor? Many churches are good at wider or deeper, but not both. This might move us out of our comfort zone, but we feel called to pursue both.

Increasing benevolent giving. Gifts to and through SOTV send $200,000 to $300,000 into our communities and partnerships to meet needs, change lives, and restore hope every year. We know core basic needs like food, water, and shelter still exist, and are even growing is many cases. We are able, willing, and called to make a difference where we can.

Eliminate our debt. Our mortgage is around $28,000 each month. Through our capital campaign, we’ve often been able to allocate extra money toward our principal, eliminating a balloon payment and reducing money toward loan interest. People who care deeply about this priority are excited to see how we might be called to be generous and offer more inviting, engaging, and caring ministry.

We see God at work at SOTV, and seek wisdom and discernment for ways we can hear and respond to God’s call. Do you want to talk about this? Reach me at kari.slotten@sotv.org.