Cultivating Community: WPLC’s 2023 Goals

Cultivating Community: WPLC’s 2023 Goals


Since early 2020, gathering as a congregation has been difficult. Early on, it was impossible due to stay-at-home orders. Later in the pandemic, we began to fear others as virus vectors that could cause us harm or even death. Over the past year, we needed to navigate the difficultly of being a multi-generational church with large portions of our membership too young to access the vaccines. Our goal for 2023 is to grow the community we have missed so dearly.

We are hopeful that 2023 will be a robust year of faith, fellowship, and fun! It is the time for our body, mind, and spirit to be bathed in community and Christ’s love. We are called to re-engage with, return to, and remember God’s gift of community.

Now is the time to cultivate community once again!

Table of Contents

2021-2022’s Progress

Let us celebrate our successes since our goals were last set! Click here to see our “Wherever You Are” goals.

Since last year, we:

  • Engaged in Sabbatical Summer with a focus on renewal, rest, and re-connection.
  • Brought in-person worship closer to pre-pandemic times by restoring:
    • continuous Communion
    • congregational singing
    • special musicians, including wind-blown instruments
    • children’s messages
    • Sunday School
    • in-person meetings
    • a staffed nursery
    • the children’s PraySpace
    • no requirement to wear a mask
  • Deepened our engagement with hybrid ministry by offering
    • virtual Meet & Eat groups
    • a Facebook group to interact
  • Sponsored community events such as Boo-palooza ad Movies in the Park
  • Responded to injustice locally and globally by achieving our long-term goal to give 10% of our annual budget as ELCA Mission Support
  • Financially-partnered with the Lighthouse Foundation and Reconciling Works
  • Installed the Gathering Garden, which included replacing the lead water supply lines and add a community outdoor space
  • Researched and submitted grants for our comprehensive building plan’s work to become ADA accessible
  • Utilized the Gathering Garden for fellowship time, meetings, and events
  • Deepened our teaching congregation program with a full-time pastoral intern and the continuation of our pastoral residency program for seminary students

As a passionate, Christian community, we are committed to nurturing and building up the body of Christ through welcoming, creative, and diverse ministries.

WPLC’s Mission

2022’s Ministry Evaluation

In early 2022, the Congregation Council invited the congregation to share their feedback on our ministry over the last year. We received 40 responses to this year’s survey. Each response was read multiple times and the comments were complied to develop the 2023’s goals. Below is a summary of the responses we received.

To be a thriving Christian presence in metro Chicago, recognized as offering spiritual and social resources in our community.

WPLC’s Vision

WPLC’s 2023 Goals

Long-term Goal #1

Engage with our community in inclusive, diverse, creative, and hospitable ways both virtually and in person.

Why Was the Language Updated?

  • The word “creative” was added to better connect it with our mission statement

Why is this goal important?

  • Helps us realize our vision to “be a thriving Christian presence in metro Chicago, recognized as offering spiritual and social resources in our community”
  • Empowers us to live out our purpose to reach all people as stated in the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28).
  • Roots us in our focus to worship God through lives of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, witness, and service (see C4.02.a. of our constitution)

Next Steps

  • Intentionally engage newcomers and rekindle relationships with existing members
    • Provide tangible ways to facilitate the congregation’s engagement with new people, which may include
      • hospitality worship/training
      • member or newcomer profiles in the e-news
    • Assess staff and pastor salaries to bring them closer to market-rate compensation for 2023 budget
      • Currently, the compensation offered to the pastor, church musician, and office assistant are a combined $36,000+ behind market-rate pay for
    • Continue our Sunday-centric programing, including Justice First Sundays, Second Sunday Socials, and Third Sunday Teachings
    • Resume Council-hosted lunch with WPLC Basics classes
  • Re-engage Volunteers to Support Our Ministries
    • Provide alternative ways to sign up as volunteers by February 2023, which may include a text-based method
    • Teaching and trainings for worship roles by May 2023, which may include
      • training videos/demonstrations
      • announcements from current individuals  
    • Council to host a volunteer recognition Second Sunday Social in fall 2023
    • Launch a “Time and Talent” survey in summer 2023
  • Provide opportunities for multi-generational engagement and education
    • Hold multi-generation focus groups to determine needs and desires for programing and interaction in mid-2023
    • Consider adding a part-time position to support children, youth, and inter-generational programming by mid-2024
    • Host multi-generation activities throughout 2023

Long-term Goal #2

Equip and empower our community to be agents for justice.

Why is this goal important?

  • Expands our commitment to justice in our community (see C4.03.f. in our constitution).
  • Helps us to live out our mission to be “a passionate, Christian community that is committed to nurturing and building up the body of Christ.”
  • Allows us to better engage with our purpose to “challenge, equip, and support all members to carry out the calling” and also, to “respond to human need” (see C4.03.c. in our constitution).

Next Steps

  1. Continue financially supporting the Lighthouse Foundation and Reconciling Works ministry partners in 2023
  2. Work internally and externally to advocate for the ELCA Constitution to better embrace anti-racist ideals by engaging with the ELCA’s Commission for a Renewed Lutheran Church through 2025
  3. Deepen our relationships with the Lighthouse FoundationAMMPARO, and Trinidad Lutheran Church by partnering with one of these ministry partners to hold an event or service project
  4. Resume composting at church activities and for worship attendees, which may include partnering with a commercial composting service provider
  5. By 2025, pay for and ensure all staff and council members attend an Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism or equivalent training within 18 months of starting
  6. Cover the cost for at least three people to attend an Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism or equivalent training in 2023
  7. Continue progress on long-term goal #3 to make the building inclusive and accessible for all
  8. Work towards long-term goal #1 resuming Justice First Sunday and providing market-rate compensation

Long-term Goal #3

Improve space use opportunities, facilitate congregational growth, and provide more inclusive accessibility (virtual and physical) to our facilities through a comprehensive building plan.

Why is this goal important?

  • So that we might continue to live out our vision to provide “spiritual and social resources in our community.”
  • Allow us to be good stewards of our financial and physical resources so that we might best fulfill our mission, vision, values, and purpose.

Next Steps

  1. Prepare for and launch a capital campaign for the next phase of the next phase of the comprehensive building plan in early 2024
  2. Explore interim solutions to increase accessibly by early 2023
  3. Utilize the Gathering Garden for ministry

Short-term Goal

Create a focus group to explore how the congregation might engage in the intersection of art, spirituality, and community.

Why is this goal important?

  • Strengthens our missional identity as a “passionate, Christian community” through opportunities for all ages to work together creating works of art
  • Enables us to both praise God and teach the Word of God through artistic works that, like the illustrations of parables, clarify truths, praise, and witness of what God has done for us in a creative way (see C4.02 and C4.03d in our constitution)
  • Provide a way for community members to use their God-given talents for art in service of God, potentially enabling them to bring their praise and worship of God into their daily lives through art (see C4.03c in our constitution)
  • Allows the congregation to engage in “creative […] ministries” that may reach people who respond better to artistic works (see C4.02c in our constitution)

Questions or Feedback

You are invited to contact the Executive Committee of the Congregation Council with any questions or feedback on these goals. Please email to contact the full committee.