Parish Council Minutes

November 25, 2003

The meeting was convened at 7:05 PM. Present were Perry Hayden, George Hayden, Debbie Cotting, Sue Durkee, Margaret Waugh, Bruce Gist, Linda Ladd, Bill Newell, Marion Orfeo, Barbara Langill, Chris Gehret, Sue Lambe, Raymond Patch and Paul Nickerson.

Paul Nickerson was introduced to the group. He is the U.C.C.’s Minister of Evangelism, Mission and Justice. His home base is the Church of the Cove, U.C.C., Beverly. Meeting attendees introduced themselves. Raymond offered the meditation. Paul offered a general overview of the topic "What is Important in Evangelism and Church Growth?" His handout included a formula for revitalizing churches and reaching out to prospective members that will result in growth in size and spirit. The CCC members present reviewed his overview and decided to focus our discussion on the following areas:

-Renewing and multi-tracked worship

-A Core Discipleship Process

-Streamlined Organization

-Excellent Hospitality

-Good Advertising and Marketing

Multi-tracked Worship- this encompasses the idea of offering other types of worship to attract newcomers. We should continue to offer what we do well, but, think about whether we need to expand to other types of worship to attract new members. How would we identify what people would want? Different ways include using the Percept Survey (which was distributed), interviewing different associations within Lynnfield and prayer triads. Suggested reading on this topic is "Church for the Unchurched." The main idea here is to get to more segments of the population through your worship offerings. We also discussed the possible benefits to church growth of growing your church school and interacting with the groups that rent your church space.

Core Discipleship Process- How can we help members grow in their faith? Traditionally, new members are told all about our church, assigned a job, supervised until exhaustion and then they disappear after their children are confirmed. They have been very busy, but have they grown in their faith? Emphasis in this area needs to be placed on what people need to grow. We should discern people’s callings and gifts, then train them and team them with others.

Streamlining the Organization- The many workings of the church should be divided among small groups, mission teams and a small administrative triangle, formerly known as the "Board," whose focus is the question "how can we have our church reach the public?" Workings of all parts of the organization should focus on vision and values. Discussion continued on how to transition from the traditional "By-laws" model of organization to the small group/missions model. When working with newcomers, it is important that they are guided to something they would love to do, rather than being assigned to a committee.

Excellent Hospitality- Paul stressed how important this is to us. Most newcomers actually decide within the first 4-8 minutes of their visit if they will come back. The majority of newcomers attend a church service because they were invited. Church welcomers need to be outgoing and energetic, and well trained in their calling. Successful churches have many welcomers so they can rotate. First time church visits are followed up with same-day greetings and goodies dropped off at newcomers homes. This is not a visit. Coffee hours should strive to scramble all guests and not be cliquish; and, to avoid discussion of church business. The purpose is fellowship.

Good Advertising and Marketing- Paul gave us a handout that reviewed many possible ideas. He stressed that having name recognition in the community will help your church, but it takes much more than advertising to recruit new members.

We finished our very informative discussion by looking at a series of questions about reaching out and growing our church.. The meeting adjourned at 9:10 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Susan Lambe, Recording Clerk