Growing Closer

Growing Closer

Growing Closer: WPLC’s Continued Vision


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 closer to realizing our vision. We’ve grown closer to others as we respond to injustice, closer to our community as we open our building, closer to meeting our goals for growth, and closer to each other and our God. With this in mind, this year we’re introducing “Growing Closer: WPLC’s Future Direction.”


After a year of pursuing the goals, the council has discerned, prayed, and evaluated these goals in light of our current environment. Below you’ll see some of our accomplishments from “Growing Together.”  You’ll also see our revised long-term goals and a couple short-term goals to help us better live out our mission, vision, and purpose as a congregation. Thanks be to God for all that has been abundantly provided!



“Growing Together” Progress

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

  • Spent time educating and informing the congregation about the intention to grow into a “pastoral-size” congregation
  • Increased church musician’s pay from $12,000 to $14,000
  • Conducted 34 “one-on-one community conversations” to discover local community needs
  • Conducted membership survey to discover members’ passion for justice through current volunteering
  • Became an “Immigrant Welcoming Congregation”
  • Sent two members and Pastor Jason to synod’s “Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism” workshop
  • Increased our contribution to fighting injustice locally and globally through our ELCA Mission Support to 7% of annual budget (from 5% in 2016, a $4,134 increase)
  • Updated and expanded Fellowship Hall membership photo board
  • Planned “member party” (now called WPLC Party) for October 7, 2017
  • Formed a Congregational Life Committee
  • Surveyed the congregation on preferred educational opportunities and times to hold these offerings
  • Provided greater transparency to Congregation Council’s decisions through e-news and worship announcements


“Growing Closer” Goals

Long-Term Goal #1

Former goal:  Increase average worship attendance to 75 over the next four years, firmly establishing WPLC as a pastoral-size congregation

Revised goal: 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.

2017-2018 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
  • Increase church musician’s pay to $15,000 per year to encourage retention and ensure the chosen staff has the skills required to develop a robust music offering that fully engages the congregation (by 2018 budget)
  • Complete short-term goals #1 and #2

Why this goal?

This goal is meant to help us strive for our vision to “be a thriving Christian presence in metro Chicago, recognized as offering spiritual and social resources in our community;” it connects with our constitutional purpose to reach out to all people to fulfill the “Great Commission” (Matthew 28); and it is rooted in our focus to worship God through lives of prayer, praise, thanksgiving, witness, and service.


Long-Term Goal #2

Former goal: Use our resources to more robustly engage in social justice initiatives

Revised goal: Equip and empower the congregation and staff to respond to injustice

Why the change in language?

The new language aims to make clear that our Christian faith and baptismal vocation are rooted in our pursuit of God’s justice. Because “social justice” can be perceived as being partisan, the Congregation Council has reworded the goal to emphasize the original intent.

2017-2018 steps:

  • Increase our financial participation in ELCA’s justice initiatives by expanding our mission support from 7% in 2017 to 10% of annual budget by 2021
  • Have an outside expert hold an onsite training related to ELCA’s Social Statement justice beliefs at least twice in 2018
  • Fund and send to the synod’s “Understanding and Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop” at least four congregation members (including at least one council member) along with one staff member each year (beginning in 2018)
  • Complete short-term goal #1

Why this goal?

This goal helps us realize our commitment to justice in our community.  The goal corresponds directly to our mission to be “a passionate, Christian community that is committed to nurturing and building up the body of Christ.”  Also, constitutionally, our congregation’s purpose is to “challenge, equip, and support all members to carry out the calling” and also to “respond to human need.”

Short-Term Goal #1

Restructure Sunday’s fellowship and adult education offerings by establishing two dedicated Sunday opportunities: one for fellowship (“Second Sunday Social”) and one for education (“Third Sunday Teaching”)


Pilot October 2017 – January 2018

  • Second Sunday of the month – a more robust fellowship hour with food and drink (no educational component after worship)
  • Third Sunday – light snacks, immediately followed by a 50-minute educational class (the goal is to begin immediately after worship with class ending no later than 12:30 p.m.)
  • First, fourth, and fifth Sundays will continue to operate as normal with a time for fellowship along with other educational or group activities

Why this goal?

  • To allow members to better plan their schedule to find spiritual nourishment at WPLC
  • To better teach the Word of God
  • To challenge, equip, and support all members in carrying out their calling in their daily lives and in the congregation
  • To provide pastoral care and assist all members to participate in this ministry
  • To emphasize the centrality of Sunday as the crux of our life together
  • To help support our long-term goals


Short-Term Goal #2

Organize and establish season-based meal groups (called “Meet & Eat”) with rotating hosts coordinated by a variety of council members beginning fall 2017


  • Leaving intentional “space” in each group to involve new members as opportunities arise
  • Having the same dinner group throughout all four seasons (a full year)
  • Asking participants to commit to attend all four dinners
  • Having program staff provide engagement questions and spiritual reflections that can be used during the meals

Why this goal?

  • To help us better live out our mission to nurture and build up the body of Christ
  • To help all members provide pastoral care to one another
  • To deepen our unity together as a church
  • To support our long-term goals