By Karen Harder, Mission Statement Task Force
Congregations exist to serve their owners. But who is the owner of a church? More specifically, who is the owner of Foothills Unitarian Church?
Dan Hotchkiss, in “Governance and Ministry,” — the book many of us read together earlier this year in an effort to understand current thinking about effective and responsible church leadership — maintains the church is owned by its mission.
So quick — without looking it up on our church website — can you recite our mission?
Thom Belote, in “The Growing Church,” states that if we can’t recite our mission from memory, we really don’t have one.
Even if you could recite Foothills’ mission statement, how well do you think it does the job? What should a good mission statement do anyway?
Hotchkiss says a church’s mission is the congregation’s unique answer to the question, “Whose lives do we intend to change and in what way?” Hotchkiss maintains a congregation needs to know “the mission it belongs to, the real owner for whose benefit the leaders hold and deploy resources. “
According to “Holy Conversations,” by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann, the unique mission of a congregation is formed by its specific context, location, giftedness, and place in time. We at Foothills have learned much over the past interim year about our specific context, location, giftedness and place in time. We have the extensive work of our dedicated Ministerial Search Committee that informed our Congregational Profile. We have the results of our Congregational Survey. We have the provocative proposals from our Appreciative Inquiry process. And we have had much dialogue about who we are and what we want to be.
What better time to revisit the topic of mission? In doing so, we will reflect on what we have learned this year while building on and reinforcing work done before the announcement of the Rev. Marc Salkin’s retirement as senior minister. Additionally, we will supplement it with your impressions and reflections here and now
Each Sunday between January 10 and January 31, the Board of Trustee’s Mission Task Force will meet with interested congregants in the sanctuary between the services for dialogue to help us refine our understanding of our mission. We invite you to one or all four of these interactive sessions around the question of: “What is uniquely ours to do?” We will take your feedback and incorporate it into the Board’s review and reworking of our mission statement. Our goal at the end of this work will be a mission statement that is memorable, meaningful and moving to guide us in our work ahead.
Please plan to join the conversation!