Kearney First United Methodist Church

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     First United Methodist Church
          Disciple-Making Plan

Plan Development Committee

Lay Members:

Tom Watson, Barbara Jo Burns, Bonnie Fulmer, Gloria LeDroit, Eric Zimbelman,
RoxAnn Olson and Jack Besse

Staff Members:

Rev. Gary Main and Rev. Rebecca Hjelle
Introduction...……………………………………………………………………………..... 1

Mission and Vision Statements…………………………………………………………. 2

The Six Signs of Discipleship

      1. Radical Hospitality………………………………………………………….... 3

      2. Heartwarming Worship…….………………………………………………. 7

      3. Risk-Taking Mission and Justice Ministries………………………….. 9

      4. Faith Formation and Prayer…………………………………..…………. 11

      5. Gracious Generosity………………………………………………………… 14

      6. Connectional Joy and Commitment…………………………………… 16

Adoption by Charge Conference……………………………………………………….17

       Beginning in January of 2009, a group of members from First Church

began meeting to review and assess the success and challenges of the ministries

of the Church. The goal of the Disciple-Making Plan is to ensure that the Church

provides the necessary support to take a non-believer to come to know Christ,

and to help those who profess this belief to become a true disciple of Christ.

       The group reviewed six areas of the Church’s ministry in order to educate

themselves about the ministries being provided, assess whether the previous

discipleship goals were being met, and request committees to suggest new or

modified goals. The goals developed by the committees and listed in this plan all

meet the SMART benchmark requirement:

       S      The goal must be as specific and focused as feasible

       M      The goal should be measurable

       A      The goal should be achievable

       R      The goal should be realistic

       T      The goal should have a time, whether long or short, built into the

       It is the hope of the Disciple-Making Committee that this plan will be

reviewed, updated and readopted every year at the Charge Conference so that

First Church will provide a culture for developing Disciples of Christ.

                           MISSION STATEMENT

       With open hearts, open minds and open doors, the people of Kearney

First United Methodist Church will use our gifts to passionately serve God, our

Church, our community and our world.

                            VISION STATEMENT

       Our vision is to maintain a dynamic culture for developing Disciples of

Christ. We will accomplish this by being involved, inviting, flexible, vibrant and

diverse in our daily journey with Christ, in our embracing of strangers, in our

service to others, and in our learning and living of the faith.

                        RADICAL HOSPITALITY

Prevailing Value: To change the culture of hospitality within our Church.

      I.    Current Ministries

            A. Radical Hospitality in our Church Services

               1.     Ushers and Greeters training has been improved and
                    expanded to be more responsive to those attending Church
                    by being better equipped to handle medical emergencies,
                    friendlier and more outgoing to ensure that everyone feels
                    welcome and at ease.

               2. Improved bulletin utilization by making the bulletins more
                  informative, condensed and welcoming.

               3. Better use of visitor bags and information brochures created
                  by staff help inform visitors and members of all the
                  ministries and activities in the Church.

               4. Improved visitor identification without embarrassment or

               5. Improvement of sanctuary lighting, sound and environment
                  by improving the projectors, use of the screens and adding a
                  third screen to the back of the Sanctuary.

               6. Placed “Little Methodist” bags at entrance of Sanctuary for
                  our very young.

            B. Friendliness

               1.    Inside signage has been added to identify the path to major
                    portions of the Church and, on temporary occasions, to
                    special events or new Sunday School Rooms.

               2. Outside signage has been added to make those unfamiliar
                  with the Church find their way with ease.

               3. A new Church directory is in the planning stages to help new
                  and old members connect.

         4. Outreach provided meals at the conclusion of VBS sessions.

         5. The Information Center has been improved.

         6. Outreach initiated and planned the Fall Kickoff/Cookoff and
            coupled with the Family Life Council had activities for the

         7.    Outreach has served meals one of the Tuesday evening
              meals at Harvey Park this past summer.

         8.     Family Life Council has re-formed and provided Trolley
              Rides/Christmas Light contest, Easter activities and pictures
              for kids, helped with activities for the Fall Kickoff/Cookoff
              and Trunk-or-Treat.

      C. Being a Good Neighbor

         1. Trunk-or-Treat for children at Halloween.

         2. Door hangers inviting neighbors to Church.

II.   Current Challenges

      A. Improve member and non-member’s knowledge of the building
         when describing events and activities.

      B. There is a need for more greeters so that all doors can be
         covered on Sunday mornings.

      C. The Information Kiosk needs to be more visible and is under-
         utilized – find out why. Would it be better by the Information

      D. Continue to research traffic flow improvement in the Narthex

      E. Secure volunteers to tend the Information Center on Sunday

      F. Follow-up with visitors after their attendance at a service.

       G. First Church needs to recognize and celebrate diversity. We
          need to celebrate diversity such as the Challenger’s Class.
          Other ideas include: inviting international students from UNK to
          participate in events at the Church; design ministries to reach
          out to specific groups to increase diversity, like singles
          (especially older singles) and single moms; reaching out to the
          Hispanic population by offering ESL classes and offering a
          Church connection, etc.

III.   Radical Hospitality Goals for 2010

       A. Improve signage identifying the location of the library in the
          Church by June 2010 by seeking permission from the trustees
          to add “library” to the location sign located in the hallway
          intersection by the information kiosk and also replacing the
          library sign attached to the outside door of the library to
          conform to the other signage.

       B. Sponsor a clergy/staff appreciation activity/event in October.

       C. Improve the traffic flow in the Narthex by proposing to remove
          a portion of the wall that separates the Narthex from the
          Fellowship Hall.

       D. The trustees will continue to research the feasibility of
          establishing a drop-off lane by Fellowship Hall to improve access
          and ease of dropping off items at the kitchen and Fellowship

       E. Trustees will continue to work on their priority list prepared
          back in February 2008 as funds become available, which
          includes: carpet replacement, replacement of Narthex windows,
          replacement of south door, replacement of parking lot sections,
          improving outside signage, and installation of an elevator.
          These are all long-term goals.

       F. Add and train greeters to be at all four doors.

       G. Recruit and train a visitor hospitality team of at least six people
          by May 1, 2010.

       H. A follow-up postcard should be sent to students who attend

I. Continue First UMC presence at UNK Blue and Gold Days.

J. With support of healthy foods and sensitivity to those with
   special dietary needs, the Health & Wellness Ministry will
   encourage the inclusion/request of foods at all Church functions
   during 2010.


Prevailing Value: To be a Church whose worship services meet people

where they are, so that they may move further on the path of Christian


      I.    Current Ministries/Programs Meeting SMART Goals

            A. Technology Improvements

                1. With David Klingelhoefer being hired as director of
                   Multimedia Services, Godcasts, webpage updates and
                   utilization of the projection screens has been improved and

                2. Music lyrics have been added for all songs on the projectors

                3. The projectors have been replaced with brighter ones.

                4. The sound booth electronic system has been upgraded.

            B. Nametags have been promoted to help others recognize others
               by name.

            C. “Faith We Sing” songbooks have been added

            D. Attendance Pads are now used to identify additional needs and
               used at a different point in worship so they are not disruptive
               but used as a tool to welcome others.

            E. New banners have been added.

            F. Six distinctive worship services are used so there is a service for
               everyone: informal (Saturday), blended (8:15), contemporary
               (9:30), traditional (11:00), come as you are (Wednesday at
               6:30) and 8:38 (Thursday—young adult).

            G. The Pastor’s connect well with the children in their children’s

       H. Re-creating relationships with 644 inactive members by sending
          a mailing including a cross and card, and personal visits. Calls
          were made to 180 persons on the inactive list (persons not
          attending any services for twelve months or more) inviting them
          to attend Holy Week and Easter Services. Twenty-five of those
          contacted attended service.

       I. Increased direct youth involvement in our services (song
          leaders at 8:15, ding-dong disciples, faith stories, and
          confirmation-led service).

II.    Current Challenges

       A. The current Worship Committee is not as balanced as it could
          be and may have too many members whose strength is in

       B. Continue to look at the format and content of the existing
          services and make them relevant to those who attend while still
          binding each member together.

       C. There is a lack of education to those attending worship about
          the traditions and symbolism that are part of the service.

III.   Heart-Warming Worship Goals for 2010

       A. During 2010, the various seasons of the Church year beginning
          with Epiphany décor for the Sanctuary will enhance the seasons
          and worship themes.

       B. By January 1, 2010, a lay liturgist consisting of 25 people will be
          formed and plans will be in place to utilize these persons as
          much as possible.

       C. Throughout the Church calendar year, beginning with Epiphany,
          the congregation will be informed about symbols and traditions
          at some time during the service using various methods.

       D. Experiment with having one pastor lead the worship services on
          Sunday mornings to allow the other pastor to teach a small
          group bible study or lead other small group activities during this

       E. 8:38 worship.

Prevailing Value: To help persons look beyond their own needs to the

needs of others, and to give them opportunities to do so.

     I.      Current Ministries

             A. Provided meals and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity for the
                Saturdays in the month of April as a community outreach

             B. Assisted and supported the Jubilee Center by providing evening
                meals each Thursday in September, supported the food drive
                and had youth help as needed.

             C. Outreach organized a VIM (Volunteers in Mission) team to work
                in Greensburg, Kansas for one week this summer.

             D. First Church leads the conference in our support of the Central
                Conference Pension Initiative, pledging $50,000 over five years.

             E. Sponsorship of the “Angel Tree” project at Christmas to provide
                gifts for the families of persons in prison.

             F. Neighbors in Need program.

             G. The Challenger’s Class meets the needs of a special group of

             H. Provided three mission trips for youth.

     II.     Current Challenges

             A. Continue to ask ourselves, “If the Church went away tomorrow,
                who would miss it?”

             B. Solicit more gifts for the “Angel Tree” projects, invite the youth
                to deliver and see the responses to the gifts, and invite the

          families to attend the Christmas Eve service and Christmas
       C. Research and develop a jail ministry.

       D. Improve the ministry to our Pumpkin Patch families.

       E. Develop more mission opportunities that do not require as much
          travel or time away from work/school.

       F. There is no Social Issues Committee to monitor legislation and
          organize writing campaigns to Senators, Congressmen,
          Legislators, Council members or other board members.

III.   Risk-Taking Mission and Justice Ministries Goals for 2010

       A. The library will promote Black History Month in February by
          preparing a list of library resources available for handouts,
          displaying books pertaining to black history and making
          members aware of the resources in the Spire.

       B. The Education Committee has a goal of re-defining the Safe
          Sanctuaries Program with the hope that this will make it more
          convenient and appealing to potential volunteers. The goal is to
          shorten training sessions, while maintaining basic educational
          values of the mandatory program. It is hoped that the more
          “condensed” program will make it more convenient for potential
          volunteers who may find it difficult making time for the longer
          training sessions, thus resulting in a larger pool of volunteers.
          It is stressed that the background-checking aspect of Safe
          Sanctuaries will not be changed, as this is vital to the safety of
          the youth and adults in our education programs.

       C. Research and develop a jail ministry to visit those incarcerated
          in the Buffalo County Detention Center to begin by June 1, 2010
          with weekly visits.

       D. Establish a Christian Social Witness task group at the first of the
          year to raise awareness of issues like immigration, poverty, etc.

       E. Prepare Christmas boxes for 50 local families and invite families
          to Christmas Eve services and the Christmas meal.

                                 - 10 -

Prevailing Value: To provide opportunities for people to deepen their

Christian faith and knowledge.

     I.    Current Ministries

           A. Fully implemented an 11:00 Sunday School in addition to the
              9:30 Sunday School utilizing Live Big.       Sunday School is
              averaging 125 kids per Sunday and we have two adult leaders
              in every class. Adult Sunday School classes include: Together,
              Crusaders, Friendship, Seekers, Sojourners, Deeper Faith and
              Challengers. There are also 30 small groups.

           B. Continued to offer short-term adult studies called “Kaleidoscope”

           C. Taught third graders how to use the bible they receive in a bible
              training class.

           D. Started a “Prayer Shawl” ministry.

           E.    Expanded Wednesday night ministries have seen substantial
                growth and include:

                1. Confirmation classes

                2. Kingdom Kids (70 to 80 kids)

                3. Community meal at 5:30 p.m.

                4. “Come As You Are” worship at 6:30 to 7:00 with open
                   worship for all

                5. Faith Formation and Sr. High Activities

                6. Bible Studies for adults

           F. UMW Circles and Unit meetings.

           G. Prayer Guardians pray for the children of the Church.

                                      - 11 -
       H. Prayer Garden space is lovingly maintained.

       I. A well established library offers a collection of books, DVDs and
          CDs for all ages that assist in faith formation.

II.    Current Challenges

       A. There is a need for additional growth in the upper elementary
          classes where kids typically drop out due to sports and other

       B. There is a perceived need for more “couples” Bible studies.

       C. Space for additional classes on Sunday mornings is a good
          problem, but needs attention.

       D. More Sunday School classes could easily be added if space is

       E. Recruit more leadership for small group events (Confirmation,
          Sunday School, Bible study).

       F. Creative small groups could be developed for special studies/
               classes on such items as elderly parent care classes,
          menopause, mentoring of youth Sunday School classes with
          adult Sunday School classes, book clubs, etc.

       G. Explore whether both Pastors are needed in each service or if
          their time would be better spent in other faith formation
          activities on Sundays.

       H. Offer more adult activities on Wednesday nights.

       I. Enhance opportunities for college-age/young adults.

       J. Expand prayer opportunities, education and locations.

       K. Men’s ministry needs improvement.

III.   Faith Formation and Prayer Goals for 2010

       A. Determine the feasibility of hiring a retired United Methodist
          pastor, already residing in Kearney, to work part-time to
          supplement pastoral services to the First UMC congregation.

                                - 12 -
B. Determine the feasibility of hiring a part-time individual to work
   with UNK campus ministry on a regular basis.

C. In order to meet the demands of continued growth in the
   Wednesday evening youth program, the Education Committee
   will split children into two age groups (grades K-3 and 4-5).
   This will allow for the older kids to be taught a more age-
   appropriate curriculum instead of one designed for the younger
   children.    The Committee feels this will also help better
   transition the 4th and 5th graders to the Faith Formation 6th
   grade youth group, and potentially increase youth members
   even more. The Committee has a target date of December
   2009 to have this in place.

D. The Education Committee has a goal of increasing the number
   of adult volunteers for leadership positions such as Sunday
   School teachers, youth program assistance and activity
   volunteers. At present, the Committee often finds it difficult to
   find a sufficient number of volunteers, based on the large
   number of youth involved. The Committee will use such
   methods as in-Church recruitment, home mailings, and group
   training sessions to meet with goal during 2010. We will also
   stress that a deep bible knowledge is not necessary as we feel
   many adults are “scared off” by the prospect of teaching.

E. Offer a six to eight week couple’s bible study twice a year.

F. Establish a prayer team to offer hands-on prayer at Church at
   least on Sunday mornings. A team of at least 12 persons to
   rotate by June 1, 2010.

G. Expand support of campus ministry monetarily and assist with
   recruitment, etc.

H. A GriefShare Class will be facilitated by trained facilitators and
   supported by the Health & Wellness Ministry during 2010.

I. During 2010, the Health & Wellness Ministry will continue to
   minister to those with health concerns by offering monthly
   blood pressure assessments by health professionals monthly on
   the third Sunday.

                         - 13 -
                       GRACIOUS GENEROSITY

Prevailing Value: Christians need to give as a response to Christ’s call

on their lives.

      I.     Current Ministries/Programs Meeting SMART Goals

             A. Continued the six special Sunday offerings: Native American
                Sunday, World Communion Sunday, Peace with Justice Sunday,
                Human Relations Day, One Great Hour of Sharing, United
                Methodist Student Day.

             B. Utilized Conference “Mission Moments” at the worship services.

             C. Made opportunities to respond to mission opportunities easier.

             D. First United Methodist Church gift cards.

             E. Neighbors in Need program.

             F. Financial Peace University classes were presented in the Fall and

             G.    New members were provided with Total Money Makeover

             H.     Stewardship program utilized a “Circle of Thanksgiving”

             I. Gift and talent survey was completed.

             J. Reconfigured office staff positions to allow addition of ¼ time
                volunteer coordinator.

      II.    Current Challenges

             A. Mobilize volunteers – people still need to be asked to help.

             B. Continue to find ways that members can participate in Christian
                discipleship by supporting the Church with prayers, presence,
                gifts, witness and service.

                                      - 14 -
       C.    Find a way to help our members volunteer testimonies on
            Sunday mornings.

       D. Don’t be afraid to “toot our own horn” and bring stories before
          the congregation about the work that our Church does to
          improve the physical and spiritual lives of others.

       E. Educate and train members to make regular contributions, not
          make them up in December or allow someone else to step in at
          the end of the year to make the budget.

       F. There is no Endowment Fund or Reserve Fund for the Church.

III.   Gracious Generosity Goals for 2010

       A. Recruit two new volunteers to help in the library by June 2010
          utilizing articles in the Spire to find and encourage interested
          people to volunteer. Gift and talent surveys may also be

       B. Define a baseline of the number of positions available in the
          Church for giving to the Church through Service by December of

       C. Use the Spire and the bulletins to publicize and educate the
          entire congregation as to opportunities to serve their Church.
          The goal is to increase participation by 25% by December 2010.

       D. Provide a calendar for 2010 to the Administrative Council so
          that each committee/group can commit to provide opportunities
          for testimonies showing how the Church improves the physical
          and spiritual lives of the entire congregation. This will be done
          weekly at all Services.

       E. Educate the congregation of the importance of monthly giving if
          possible to help the Church take care of monthly expenses.

       F. To establish an endowment fund by February 15, 2010 and
          promote the support of this fund throughout the year.

                                - 15 -

Prevailing Value: We want our members to be intentional and

knowledgeable United Methodists, who reflect the best of United

Methodism by being a Church of open hearts, minds, and doors; and

undergird our denominational ministries beyond Kearney.

     I.     Current Ministries

            A. First Church supports Nothing but Nets.

            B. First Church pays its mission shares in full monthly.

            C. First Church is always willing to host Conference events (free of

            D. UMW continued involvement in district and conference activities.

     II.    Current Challenges

            A. Utilize Tom Watson to keep members posted on matters that he
               sees as Conference Lay Leader in the Annual Conference.

            B. Encourage all Adult Sunday School classes to use United
               Methodist based curriculum.

            C. Explore the basis and a remedy for the strained relationship
               with Faith UMC in Kearney.

            D. Organize Volunteers In Mission (VIM) trips.

     III.   Connectional Joy and Commitment Goals for 2010

            A. Strengthen our youth involvement in conference and district
               level activities.

            B. Continue to develop relationships with Faith United Methodist
               Church by exploring cooperative ministries.

            C. Encourage participation in the Panama VIM trip (Summer 2010).

                                     - 16 -
This Disciple-Making Plan is adopted this ___ day of _______, 2009 by the

attending membership of First United Methodist Church, Kearney, Nebraska.

                                     - 17 -