Growing Stronger

Growing Stronger

Growing Stronger: WPLC’s Continued Direction


WPLC is experiencing rapid growth, and it’s very exciting! Since the Congregation Council introduced “Growing Together: WPLC Future Direction” in mid-2016 to identify our goals as a congregation, we are getting stronger by realizing our vision. We’ve grown stronger as we respond to injustice, stronger with our community as we repair and share our building, and stronger with each other and our God. With this in mind, this year we’re introducing “Growing Stronger: WPLC’s Continued Direction.”

After a year of pursuing the “Growing Closer” goals, the council discerned, prayed, and evaluated these goals in light of our current environment. Below you’ll see some of our accomplishments from “Growing Closer.”  You’ll also see our long-term goals with our next steps and a couple short-term goals to help us better live out our mission, vision, and purpose as a congregation.

“Growing Closer” Progress

Click here to read more about “Growing Closer” and why these accomplishments matter to our mission, vision, and purpose.

  • Increased church musician’s pay from $14,000 to $15,000 as a fulfillment of our long-term goal objective
  • Expanded our work as a “teaching congregation” by welcoming two second-year seminary students
  • Evaluated our main investment (a rental property at 2112 W. Le Moyne St.) and decided to sell the property to better focus our members’ and staff’s efforts on ministry with a similar financial return on investment
  • Increased our contribution to fighting injustice locally and globally through our ELCA Mission Support to 7.5% of the annual budget (from 7% in 2017, a $2,931 increase)
  • Celebrated a record-shattering Advent Project donating over $8,800 to fight hunger domestically and globally through ELCA World Hunger
  • Updated and expanded Fellowship Hall membership photo board
  • We’re sending two members and three staff to “Analyzing and Understanding Systemic Racism” in October 2018
  • Raised funds during Seal and Sustain Campaign and began work on over $325,000 of repairs and upgrades, including a replacement of our flat roofs, solar-powered air conditioning for the upper level, and waterproofing the basement to support our growth
  • Established Sunday-centric programming, namely Second Sunday Social and Third Sunday Teaching
  • Developed season-based meal groups (called “Meet & Eat”)
  • Introduced WPLC Concert Series

“Growing Stronger” Goals

Long-Term Goal #1

Former goal: Firmly establish WPLC as a pastoral-size congregation by increasing average worship attendance to 75 by the end of 2020

Revised goal: In an effort to live out our values of being inclusive, diverse, and hospitable, we will firmly establish WPLC as a pastoral-size congregation by increasing average worship attendance to 75 by the end of 2020

Why the change in language?

The intention of this goal was not to focus on numeric growth but rather to focus on structuring ourselves as a larger congregation to both accommodate and support our growth. Rephrasing this goal will, hopefully, clarify the intention and de-emphasize the specific attendance number.

2018-2019 steps:

    • Better support our pastor by establishing a Mutual Ministry Committee made up of council members that will meet at least three times a year
    • Evaluate and optimize our Second Sunday Social and Third Sunday Teaching initiatives
    • Continue our season-based meal groups (“Meet & Eat”) and reform new groups in January 2019
  • Host a WPLC Party
  • Complete short-term goal #1

Why this goal?

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


Long-Term Goal #2

Goal: Equip and empower the congregation and staff to respond to injustice

2018-2019 steps:

  • Increase our financial participation in ELCA’s justice initiatives by expanding our mission support from 7.5% in 2018 to 10% of the annual budget by 2021
  • Have an outside expert hold an onsite training related to ELCA’s Social Statement justice beliefs at least twice in 2019
  • Partner with the Metropolitan Chicago Synod’s Antiracism Ministry to engage in their pilot program for helping to guide WPLC to respond to racial injustice
  • Complete short-term goal #1

Why this goal?

  • To expand our commitment to justice in our community
  • To live-out our mission to be “a passionate, Christian community that is committed to nurturing and building up the body of Christ”
  • To better engage with our constitutional purpose to “challenge, equip, and support all members to carry out the calling” and also to “respond to human need”

Short-Term Goal #1

Discern if WPLC should become an “AMMPARO Welcoming Congregation”


  • Create a task force to discern and make a recommendation by March 1, 2019

Why this goal?

Short-Term Goal #2

Improve the Congregation Council’s visibility and communication to the congregation


  • A minimum of three council people in attendance at each WPLC Basics class, along with a pilot project to share a meal during the WPLC Basics class
  • At least half of the council people in attendance at a new “WPLC Intermediate” class, which will be led by Pastor Jason and designed to deepen member’s connection to the congregation
  • Establish a Council sub-committee to investigate best practices for the Council’s communications and to educate the congregation on long-term goal #1 (you can review information on a “pastoral-size congregation” in this presentation for Episcopal congregations or this chapter from “The In-Between Church.”)

Why this goal?

  • Because the 2018 Congregational Evaluation indicated a potential opportunity for increased Council visibility
  • To assist the Council in caring for the congregation’s membership
  • To allow us to live out our mission to “nurture and build up the body of Christ”
  • To help us realize our vision “offering spiritual and social resources to our community”