The Unstuck Church
“The church is not a collective but a communion. A local congregation is not just a collection of individual people but also the love, commitment, values, and mission they share.” – Tod Bolsinger (Canoeing the Mountains)
We all experience uncharted territory in our lives. As many of you know, Lisa and I, along with 18 other pilgrims, went to the Holy Land. We were part of a group of 368 clergy and laity from the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church. This was the first trip to the Holy Land for all of us from Lakewood. It was uncharted territory for us all.
We experience uncharted territory anytime we encounter something we haven’t in the past. At Lakewood, we are becoming intentional about creating new beginnings. We foster environments for transformation. This means we will experience uncharted territory. As a church, we continue to experience new things together. There are times we will experience difficult conversations and walk through hard times. The blessing in our journey is that there are others who will walk with us.
If you were asked, “What is the mission statement of Lakewood?” would you be able to state it? If you were asked, “What is the vision statement of Lakewood?” would you be able to state it? In January, at a Lakewood leadership training event, we were asked to share our mission and vision statements by the Northeast District Superintendent. Collectively, we were unable to recite them. Our mission statement is “to share the experience of God’s transforming love.” Why do we do that? Together, it is important to walk through the process of determining what is our why (mission), our where (vision), and our how (strategy).
The entire Northeast District was gifted with the online resources from UnStuck Church. The UnStuck leadership, led by Tony Morgan, provides a 12-module resource to help us move through this process. It provides us with the distinct opportunity to determine how we impact and transform the community of Lakewood. It engages the conversation of how we can make disciples of Jesus and send disciples out to make more disciples.
Over the last several months, we shared our hope for this process, and the potential outcomes. Pastor Eric and I preached a sermon series entitled UnStuck. We engaged our current reality, bearing fruit, and new beginnings.
Along with 26 of our leaders, we attended an UnStuck conference at Beach Church. This conference was attended by nearly 750 church leaders throughout the Northeast District and 8 churches from the Atlantic Central District. Tony Morgan led us through determining if we are stuck and how will we get unstuck.
This is a process that is important for the whole church to get involved in. It is a process that requires the investment of all of us. In this process, we need to hear the voices of all our members. It will be a rewarding process. It will also be a painful process. I know that in the end it will be life-giving for all of us.
These are the next steps we plan to take.
1. We began diving into the modules with the staff and the 26 leaders that went to the training.
2. Beginning on March 18th, on Wednesday evenings during our Awaken Wednesday nights, we will begin the UnStuck process as a larger church. This will be after our meal at 5:30 pm. We will begin the UnStuck resources at 6:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. We will be intentional in this process and utilize the timing for each of the modules. During this journey, we will spend some time in prayer, fasting, and fueling our passion for making disciples. We will continue this journey to completion.
3. The conference was recorded, so we will utilize this training for another group to experience and build on the work accomplished. We will bring others into the process and utilize their gifts and graces to add to the journey.
4. At the end, we will commission a team to finalize the mission, vision, and strategy, so that we can have maximum impact in the community. We need your buy-in to the process. Be a part of the growth.
5. We will live into the mission (why), vision (where), and strategy (how).
In this together,