Dear friends in Christ,
Last week, Forward Movement’s board of directors met near Cincinnati. It was our first in-person meeting since late 2019. Of course, we were all profoundly grateful just to be together. But beyond our joy at gathering, we had important work to do.
The board has been working on strategic priorities for Forward Movement for several months now. The days of thick three-ring binders with strategic plans are over. The world is changing too fast for that. Instead, many organizations set strategic priorities. Where should an organization invest its time, energy, and money? What are the areas of work that need to be pushed to grow and change to meet the needs of a quickly-changing world?
We’re still working, so I’m not ready to share all the results yet. But I will say this. One of our emerging priorities is to capture data. We want to understand what the church needs, where it is strong, and where it needs help. We want to understand what Forward Movement does well and what we could do better. These things will help us map out our work to serve the church in the months and years to come.
This time of pandemic may seem like a strange time to be thinking strategically, but. The church was already changing quickly before the pandemic, and many of those changes have been dramatically accelerated. Whatever is coming next for the church, it will not be going back to life before the pandemic. There’s no “back to normal” because norms have shifted.
Good leaders and healthy organizations will take advantage of this disruptive time to make changes that might have seemed impossible before the pandemic. Is your church changing now? I suspect so, but is it changing in a purposeful way? If ever there were a time to let go of things that needed to end or to take up bold new ventures, this is it.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is unchanging. The hope of God in Christ is our anchor in a turbulent time. But how we preach the Gospel and how we live as a church must surely change. I am delighted that our board did hard work to help steer Forward Movement through this time so that we can emerge stronger and healthier than ever, ready to meet the needs of the church in our time.
May God bless you in this time and fill you with strength and purpose to discern how you might be called to change and grow.