Vision Focus Teams: Transition Plan of a Congregation

2009, 3 pp
In 2009 Steinmann Mennonite Church, Baden ON went through an intentional transition period as it reflected on its facility, program and ministry dreams.

Here are some thoughts and reports about that process - from Gladys Bender, chair of the congregation's Vision Focus Team.

Our congregation is now organized in three core teams:
  • Christian Witness
  • Christian Community
  • Christian Formation
See our Organizational Chart.

Our Vision Focus Team (VFT) replaced the Church Council. The purpose of our VFT is to reserve time each month to do some visioning. More of the operational decisions are made at the core teams and this frees up our time on VFT to look at the big picture. We try to regularly ask questions like:
  • What is God calling us to do?
  • What would be different if we were not here?
See my interview with Sue Steiner at the Fall 2009 MCEC Consultation that captures some of the things that we did to make the transition from a council to a visionary team.

We had to work at updating our policies, job descriptions, etc. and evaluate how the core teams were adjusting to this change. See the Summary for core team meeting. This evaluation is ongoing.

Each fall we have a VFT 1/2 day retreat to begin visioning and discuss our goals for the new year. It also serves to bring the team and its new members up to date with how we function. See our Retreat Notes from 2008 and 2009.

Overall I see evidence of renewed energy and passion for the work of the church. The new way of doing things has allowed new ideas to come out. We try to keep our Vision Statement and Congregational Commitments visible. If the new ideas fit with them then they don't need approval at VFT. Our Vision Statement is what guides us. I hear us saying that just because we have done things a certain way does not mean we need to continue doing it this way. An example of this has been Gift Discernment has downsized the committees into coordinators and working groups. That means that it takes 1-2 coordinators to strike up a working group for a particular event. Subsequently less people are asked to serve in a 2-3 year term. Instead people are more inclined to help out for an event rather than be part of a committee for a longer time.

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