Looking Forward: WPLC’s Goals

Looking Forward: WPLC’s Goals

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NRSV)

Each year, WPLC’s Congregation Council takes time to assess the year’s successes, learn from our setbacks, and plan for the future. This evaluation is done with feedback from our ministry survey, visitor surveys, lived experience, and with an eye towards our mission, vision, values, and purpose.

While a lot has changed over the past year, there are many things that remain the same. As a congregation, our future is built on welcoming all people, providing hospitality, and partnering with the community to respond to injustice. Our growth has continued, and our ministry has expanded. We are “looking forward” to God’s future for our congregation with hope!

Check out our “Looking Forward” announcement from Worship Livestream on Sunday, September 13, 2020.

Let’s celebrate our successes since our last strategic plan update was released! Click here to see our “Diving Deeper” goals. Since “Diving Deeper” was released, we:

  • Officially sustained our growth as a pastoral-size congregation with an 2019 average Sunday worship attendance of 79 people and a median Sunday attendance of 80. (If you’re not sure what that means, explore the “church-size theory” in this presentation or this chapter .”)
  • Developed and launched an entirely Digital Church with diverse programming and Worship Livestream offerings.
  • Continued our quarterly meal groups, called “Meet & Eat.”
  • Fought injustice locally and globally with 9% of our annual budget as ELCA Mission Support (up from 8.5% in 2019).
  • Extended our partnership with the Metropolitan Chicago Synod’s anti-racism team to better respond to racial injustice.
  • Explored the ELCA’s AMMPARO Welcoming Congregation” designation and assessed the viability of becoming such a congregation.
  • Expanded the WPLC concert series with a growing audience.
  • Deepened our teaching congregation program with a pastoral resident and a pastoral intern.
  • Launched our member database/directory and online community (commonly known as CCB or Church Community Builder).
  • Added a second nursery attendant to improve child safety and enact our Child and Youth Abuse Prevention Program.
Black text reads "Looking Forward" with a WPLC-red triangle and a black arrow.

Live out our values of being inclusive, diverse, and hospitable by focusing on both internal and external community engagement, communication, and welcoming new faces.

Why the change in this goal’s language from last year’s strategic goals?

  • We want to better include others in our transformational work without naming the church-size theory, which may complicate understanding. (If you’re not sure what “church-size theory” means, check out this presentation or this chapter .”)

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

  1. Focus on internal community engagement by: 
    • diversifying “Meet & Eat” quarterly meal groups to be multi-generational by end 2020,
    • continuing the WPLC party (if possible), Second Sunday Socials, and Third Sunday Teachings, and
    • finding ways to connect with one another that are not digitally-oriented by the end of 2020.
  2. Grow our external community engagement by: 
    • working towards the establishment of the “Gathering Garden” on Hoyne Ave.,
    • accomplishing short-term goal #1 (see below), and
    • fulfilling short-term goal #2 (see below).
  3. Expand our communication practices by:
    • posting a public version of the Congregation Council minutes to CCB by the end of 2020, and
    • beginning a “listening project” to discern congregational values and future directions for our collective ministry by mid-2021.
  4. Enrich the way we welcome new faces by:
    • continuing to provide meals at WPLC Basic classes (as possible), and
    • engaging with visitors via visitor-followup Discovery Series in a non-digital way by early 20201.
  5. Encourage the support of our staff and pastor to achieve this goal by:
    • evaluating the compensation of the church musician and pastor based on expectations and market-comparable rates, and
    • determining if we can increase the office assistant position to 40-hours per week.

Equip and empower the congregation and staff to respond to injustice.

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 with the Metropolitan Chicago Synod’s anti-racism program.
  2. Increase ELCA Mission Support to 10% of the budget by 2021.
  3. Act upon AMMPARO Welcoming Congregation” principles in 2021
  4. Continue exploring our relationship with the Lighthouse Foundation, including potential 2021 financial partnership.
  5. Complete short-term goal #1 (see below)

Improve space use opportunities, facilitate congregational growth, and provide more inclusive accessibility to our facilities through a comprehensive building master plan and begin phase one renovations by 2024.

Why the change in this goal’s language from last year’s goals?

  • Allows for better clarity that the renovations will help us live out our value of inclusivity as related to ADA accessibility of our historic building.

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, vision, and purpose.

Next Steps

  1. Complete “phase 1” renovations that includes replacing a lead water supply lines and the addition of a Gathering Garden on Hoyne Avenue with a capital campaign to be considered for 2021.
  2. Continue to develop a “conceptual master plan” when the congregation is able to restore in-person activities and can engage in congregation-wide conversations on the design proposals.

Establish a monthly conversation and action around issues of injustice, called “Justice First (Sunday),” in 2021.

Why is this goal important?

  • Helps to address long-term goals #1 and #2 (see above)
  • Empowers us to live out our Biblical calling to welcome the stranger and advocate for the marginalized as an expression of our purpose (see C4.02.d. in our constitution)
  • Enacts our commitment to “respond to human need, work for justice and peace . . . and participate responsibly in society” (see C4.03.f. in our constitution)
  • Allows us to “foster and participate with interdependent relations with other congregation, the synod, and the churchwide organization” as expressed in our purpose (see C4.03.h. in our constitution)

Begin advocating for building code changes to allow for gender-neutral bathrooms.

Why is the goal important?

  • Assists us in building relationship with like-minded organization to advocate for systemic justice within Chicago.
  • Helps address long-term goals #1, #2, and #3 (see above).
  • To live out our Biblical calling to welcome the stranger and advocate for the marginalized as an expression of our purpose (see C4.02.d. in our constitution).
  • Encourages us to more fully embody our “Reconciling in Christ” status.
  • Allows us realize our vision to “be a thriving Christian presence in metro Chicago, recognized as offering spiritual and social resources in our community”