During the 2018 Annual Conference session, church consultant and guest teacher Claire Bowen, a human resources specialist and Statesboro native, led clergy and laity to work together in teams to develop a plan for vitality and ministry.
The teacher for the 2018 South Georgia Annual Conference Session, during the Tuesday, June 5 morning business session Bowen taught delegates how to put a "Plan on a Page" to bring new life and vision to their congregation.
“Whatever size we are, we need a plan for being alive together in the world,” Bishop Bryan said in his introduction of Bowen, a lifelong United Methodist who grew up attending Statesboro First United Methodist Church.
As clergy delegates sat with their lay delegates, Bowen led them through simple, fun, practical exercises to put vision into action. Dubbed “Plan on a Page,” the process helps church leaders create a plan and make a commitment.
In Bowen’s experience with congregations, church staff, and church leaders, all want vision from their pastor. They want to be in agreement about where the church is going, priorities that direct resources to the critical needs, innovation, and focus.
Bowen led the groups through a series of questions designed to make them think through their unique settings, their church’s history, and their hopes and dreams for the church.
“I like a question Bishop Bryan has asked,” Bowen told the group when discussing the importance of learning a community’s needs. “What needs to happen in this community that is not likely to happen unless our church does it?”
Once a church has identified its soil - the community and its needs - and its core values - heritage, what the church has done well and how it has gotten where it is - it is ready to articulate its vision.
Casting a vision for a church and setting measurable, attainable goals takes imagination and conversation, Bowen said, with each other and with God and the Holy Spirit. But the final plan shouldn’t take months to create or fill a binder.
“Express your hopes and dreams. Involve the Holy Spirit! Be bold, and make it short and sweet,” Bowen said.
“We all want a vision - a vision that stretches us and inspires us to be God’s children making disciples of Christ for the transformation of the world,” she said. “What inspires you to lead your church to be all that it can be? What vision would make you want to stretch your arms and shout, ‘Yes, God! Let’s do it!’”
Recording of Presentation
Plan on a Page handout