Purpose Becoming Clearer

Continuing reflections on Christ Our Savior's Strategic Operations Workshop

Mike Puterbaugh

In last month’s Disciplegram, Arlo Wiltenburg wrote a segment outlining the 3-day Strategic Workshop held in late January. It was led by Rev. Dr. Robert Kasper, Assistant to the President for Congregation ministries/Ministry Support and attended by representatives from Council, Board of Elders, Staff, and members of the congregation. I would like to continue that review with a look into what we accomplished and how we accomplished it.  

We began the workshop with three themes, one for each day. The themes were: “Where are we now?” “Where are we going?” and “How do we get there?” but in fact, we never asked ourselves these questions specifically. Instead, Pastor Kasper introduced us to a process which was designed to aid leaders and teams to cut to the core of what is needed to make an organization move forward. In essence, it is a whirlpool. It is a series of exercises that take the diversity of a group’s ideas, comments, and concerns through an inward spiral to an inevitable reduction of thought.

With close to 30 exercises in all, each day was driven to stay on schedule, yet always allowed breaks for deeper discussion. Most notably was the manner in which we began each day. After prayer and before moving forward, Pastor Kasper would ask the group, “Overnight, what became clearer?” It was during these segments that I could really sense the engagement of each individual and the group as a whole.
One of the opening exercises
Although the relevance of every exercise wasn’t always clear, looking back, I can see how each one was impacted by the last and played a role in the next. The ones that stand out to me the most are:

  • Expectations/Hopes (What we expected the workshop to produce)
  • Turning Points (The highs and lows of COS’s history)
  • What is Our Ministry? (i.e. What role do we play in changing lives?)
  • Our Primary “Customer and Their Values” (Who does the church serve?)
  • Our Core Values (Word & Sacrament, serving others, growing in discipleship)
  • W.I.N. Initiatives (What’s Important Now)
Our group in discussion
In the end, the workshop produced an Action Initiative Profile. This prioritized our top five projects and assigned teams and deadlines to each one. The five teams, focusing on objectives and key deliverables for the top 5 W.I.N. Initiatives, are:

  • Defining Policy Based Governance
  • Communication Plan
  • Members Spiritual Gifts & Talents Update
  • Community Needs Study
  • Gap Analysis – Review Ministry Alignment

The group identified about 15 initiatives in total, so as each of these top 5 are accomplished, there are more to take their place and the process continues.

All in all, the workshop was a great success!!

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