Cultivating Connections: WPLC’s 2024 Goals

Cultivating Connections: WPLC’s 2024 Goals


In 2024, we will celebrate our 145th anniversary as a congregation! Our founding members chose the name Wicker Park Lutheran Church to emphasize our location and set a standard for how we might engage. This name reminds us that we are not here to only care for our members. Rather, we are a community of faith connected with others to serve all people. This history helps us ground our goals!

From the feedback offered in the spring of 2023, it’s clear that you want to grow these connections even more. So, with our founding members’ vision and your feedback, together we are committed to cultivating spaces of connection. We will tend to this work by expanded programing for all ages, deepening commitments to justice work, and creating accessible spaces. We are committing to cultivating these connections for the good of our church and, more importantly, for the good of all of creation.

Together, we can expand God’s vision by cultivating connections.

Table of Contents

2022-2023’s Progress

Let us celebrate our successes since our goals were last set! Click here to see our “Cultivating Community” goals.

Since last year, we:

  • Intentionally engaged newcomers and rekindled existing relationships
    • Resumed Council-hosted lunch with WPLC Basics classes.
    • Shared newcomer profiles in the e-news.
    • Kept staff and pastor salaries aligned with inflation.
    • Sponsored community events, including Movies in the Park.
  • Re-engaged volunteers to support our ministries
    • Rolled out a text-based sign-up method for worship volunteers.
    • Offered teaching about and trainings for worship roles.
  • Provided opportunities for multi-generational engagement and education
    • Held a multi-generation focus groups to determine needs and desires for programing and interaction.
    • Worked to add a part-time position to support children, youth, and inter-generational programming.
    • Hosted multi-generation activities, including a Block Party and Earth Day event in the Gathering Garden.
  • Made significant strides toward a Comprehensive Building Plan
    • Held community and congregation Master Plan meetings.
    • Completed Schematic Design phase with rough architectural schematics
    • Engaged in a Fundraising Feasibility Study to prepare for a Capital Campaign.
    • Submitted multiple grants and were awarded two significant grants.
  • Financially supported the Lighthouse Foundation and Reconciling Works
  • Utilized the Gathering Garden for fellowship time, meetings, and events.
  • Expanded our teaching congregation program with a full-time pastoral intern, a seminary student, and the continuation of our pastoral residency program for those learning to be pastors.

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

2023’s Ministry Evaluation

In early 2023, the congregation shared feedback on our collective ministry over the last year. We received 45 responses this year. Each response was read multiple times and the comments were complied to develop 2024’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 2024 Goals

Long-term Goal #1

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

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

  • Expand children’s ministries and launch youth programming
    • Add a part-time position to support children, youth, and inter-generational programming by mid-2025.
    • Explore creating physical space for older students (tween/teens) to hang out during/after worship by holding additional conversations with those age groups.
    • Increase children and youth engagement at social events, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities (planned and ad hoc), which may include intergenerational buddies.
  • Deepen Fellowship Opportunities
    • Implement at least two creative ways of fostering social connection during post-service fellowship, which may include name tags, ice breakers, and rethinking traffic flow from the sanctuary.
    • Facilitate the development of at least two social opportunities by using 2023 focus group and Time and Talent survey feedback, which may include outings, choir, cocktail hour, picnic, and playground meetups.
    • Continue to offer Second Sunday Socials to offer a robust time of fellowship over a meal on the second Sunday of the month.
  • Expand Engagement
    • Rethink/revise communication methods, including e-news and bulletin, to facilitate or simplify engagement in worship roles, committees, service, social, and other opportunities.
    • Connect volunteers of all ages with new and existing engagement opportunities using the results of the 2023 Time and Talent survey.
    • Continue our Sunday-centric programing, including Justice First Sundays, Second Sunday Socials, and Third Sunday Teachings.

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. Increase financial support to the Lighthouse Foundation and Reconciling Works ministry partners in 2024
  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 attending and/or promoting at least three events in 2024.
  4. By 2024, pay for and ensure all staff and council members engage with “Beyond Diversity: How to Build a Truly Antiracist Organization” training provided by Crossroads Antiracism within 18 months of starting
  5. Cover the cost for at least three people to attend an “Introduction to Antiracism one-day training or help offset costs of attending the “From White Supremacy Toward Liberation: Building Shared Analysis to Transform Institutions” three-day training in 2025.
  6. Assess staff and pastor salaries to bring them closer to market-rate compensation for the 2024 budget.
    • Current compensation offered to the pastor and church musician are a combined $23,000+ behind market-rate pay for similar church positions.
  7. Work toward long-term goal #3 to make the building inclusive and accessible for all
  8. Make progress on long-term goal #1 to resume Justice First Sundays.

Long-term Goal #3

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

Why Did the language change from 2023?

  • The Comprehensive Building Plan has been formulated and is now in the stages of refining and implementing. Therefore, we changed “through a comprehensive building plan” to “by implementing 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 2024.
  2. Utilize the Gathering Garden for at least four ministry events in 2024, which could include Gathering Garden Gigs, fellowship time, worship, and other activities.
  3. Engage with our space use groups (and broader community) through an open house or similar gathering.
  4. Continue to engage with Wicker Park Lutheran Building Friends (a newly created and separate non-religious, non-profit community group) to best preserve and renovate our building and provide relevant updates to community partners, including space use groups.

How we Succeed

  1. Pray that our work might best support God’s vision for the world.
  2. Support the work by volunteering your time. Remember, these are not council’s goals, these are our goals. Let Pastor Jason ( know if you’re particularly interested in a goal.  
  3. Give to support our annual budget during our Giving Campaign in October. Begin to imagine how your financial gifts can help continue what we’re doing and make all these new goals a reality!

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.