Goals and Gratitude
Between April 23 and June 11, 2017, St. Paul’s Listening team reached out to 185 St. Paul people and listened one-on-one to 123. The campaign’s goals were to:
What We Heard
The campaign got St. Paul people thinking about the future, in a way they hadn’t before. Listeners asked nearly everyone some version of the question: “If money were no object, what would you want to see St. Paul do or become?” And many said, “I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”
A large number of St. Paul people believe the church’s future depends on attracting more people to worship and St. Paul’s ministries. Specifically, people want to attract young people and strengthen ministry with youth and children. For many, it’s personal, having to do with their own children and grandchildren. A few suggested adding staff to advance these (and possibly other) priorities.
Many people want new opportunities for small groups or bible study or adult formation.
Many celebrated St. Paul’s ministries for the poor or hungry. Several wondered what more St. Paul could do, specifically in response to homelessness in Clinton, and suggested providing shelter.
Several St. Paul people have a heart for people with disabilities. Several others are interested in doing more outreach.
A few people are eager for the Director of Music position to be filled permanently. A few others expressed concern about recent staff changes.
Many want to see changes in the building. Suggestions had to do with hospitality, including improving the sound system, improving signage and/or layout, expanding the parking lot, increasing accessibility, and creating a space for children in worship.
Above all, it was clear, many people have powerful stories to tell about why St. Paul matters or about a time St. Paul was there for them when they really needed it. People have met Jesus through St. Paul, and the church has been a center for community and “family” for many generations. People want to see that continue for generations to come.
Suggested Next Steps
The Listening Team recommends gathering people for conversation about:
The team also suggests gathering and sharing stories about why St. Paul matters, strengthening St. Paul’s relationship with L’Arche, and making use of the free services offered in the ELCA by the Mission Investment Fund’s “Building Consultants.”
Respectfully submitted, June 25, 2017
by St. Paul’s Listening Team
Diane Guntzel, leader
Lisa Thompson, co-leader
Joan Guidebeck (honorary)
Donna Jean Holste
Leigh Ann Houzenga
Pr. Clark Olson-Smith