Yesterday, I traveled with the senior staff from Resurrection to the Lutheran Church of Hope. It was an opportunity to benchmark another church and have conversation about how ministry happens in their setting. I have had the opportunity to take part in several of these trips during my time at Resurrection to visit other congregations both larger and smaller than Resurrection. The bus ride is always a great opportunity to connect with fellow staff members and it was a great time touring Hope’s West Des Moine location and spending time in conversation with some of their staff. Here is some of what I learned:
- Mission, vision and values are what holds true across all of their campuses
- Senior pastor provides a worship plan six months in advance with the series, sermon title, scripture passage and a sentence or two about direction for the sermon
- Rooms all have numbers. No ministry area has claim to a particular room.
- A culture of trust in leadership has been developed that has proven beneficial over time.
- If you can’t give cheerfully, we don’t want you to give. Giving will bring you freedom.
- Success looks different in different contexts
- Bigger or smaller isn’t better, better is better.
- Who are the people that no one else is going after?
Being in transition to serving as lead pastor at El Dorado First United Methodist Church, I also had some personal reflections:
- Touring the buildings of other churches is not worth much. There are little things that can be picked up about facilities, but overall the building that the church has is what it will be. The building at El Dorado First seems to have been kept up well and is an asset for ministry.
- There was a sense of camaraderie amongst the staff of our churches – similar worship attendance, programs and ministries and hopes and dreams for the congregations. I am looking forward to finding out which churches are “peers” to El Dorado First.