June 6, Dear First Presbyterian Church Member:

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1 June 6, 2013 Dear First Presbyterian Church Member: After 15 months of thought, interactive conversation and active listening for God's direction, the Long Range Planning Committee is delighted to present the Strategic Plan The Plan was adopted unanimously and enthusiastically by Session May 19, A new ministry (committee) will be formed to direct the implementation of the Plan, and our Senior Minister, Dr. John L. Frye, Jr., is to supervise its implementation. The members of the new Strategic Plan Implementation Ministry will be approved by Session at their stated meeting June 23, We refer to the Plan as the Strategic Excitement Plan because we believe it will create energy, enthusiasm, focus and inspiration to successfully springboard us into God's plan for this church. The appropriate homework has been done, the process was inclusive, and the resulting Plan is thoughtful, progressive and responsible. The Plan provides for change, improvement and growth. The Church's goals are based on five compelling action words: ENGAGE, SERVE, LEAD, GROW, and GIVE. These words give direction and involve all members in meaningful activity. The strategies and initiatives have been developed with reflective involvement from our members and are stimulating, practical, specific and measurable. As the Plan unfolds, we will be able to adjust activity based on outcomes and changes that occur. Thank you for your help as we unite as a congregation to accomplish the exciting mission, vision, values and plans that God has for us at First Presbyterian Church. Sincerely, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29: The Long Range Planning Committee David R. Ratchford, Chair

2 FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH GASTONIA STRATEGIC PLAN 2018 (Adopted by the Session May 19, 2013) ENGAGE. SERVE. LEAD. GROW. GIVE. From the Long Range Planning Committee After 15 months of thought, interactive conversation and active listening for God s direction, the Long Range Planning Committee is delighted to present the Strategic Plan We refer to it as the Strategic Excitement Plan because we believe it will create energy, enthusiasm, focus and inspiration to successfully springboard us into God s plan for this church. The appropriate homework has been done, the process was inclusive, and the resulting Plan is thoughtful, progressive and responsible. The Plan provides for change, improvement and growth. The Church s goals are based on 5 compelling action words: ENGAGE, SERVE, LEAD, GROW, and GIVE. These words give direction and involve all members in meaningful activity. The strategies and initiatives have been developed with reflective involvement from our members and are stimulating, practical, specific and measurable. As the Plan unfolds, we will be able to adjust activity based on outcomes and changes that occur. Let s unite as a congregation to accomplish the exciting mission, vision, values and plans that God has for us at First Presbyterian Church Gastonia. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29: Members of the Long Range Planning Committee Ellen Cinq-mars Charles Gallman John Garrett Don Harrison June Jones Dustin Letts Richard Rankin David Ratchford, Chair Ralph Robinson Tony Sigmon Beverly Stowe Mike Wallace Tim Witherell Description of the Planning Process In late 2011, the Session directed the formation of a new Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) to provide direction and specific goals in keeping with the mission and vision of First Presbyterian Church. The Committee was directed to assess the current status of the Church and to develop a long range plan for the next 3 5 years. The LRPC was asked to create new goals and strategic initiatives that define mission, evangelize the Gospel, engage and increase membership, provide stimulating programs for young members and youth, and connect us through missions and community outreach. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 1

3 The LRPC began meeting in early 2012 and directed the following planning process. This process seeks the will of God for this congregation in this time: Phase 1: Information Gathering (early 2012) Phase 2: Congregational Survey (Summer, 2012) Phase 3: In-Home, Small Group Meetings (Fall, 2012) Phase 4: Joint Meeting of Session and LRPC (February 24, 2013) Phase 5: Plan Development (March and April 2013) Presentation of the Plan to the Session (April 28, 2013) Adoption of the Plan by the Session (May 19, 2013) OUR MISSION Following the Word with Christ s heart into the world with open arms spreading the Good News. OUR VISION To be a church where engagement with God s Word shapes us into faithful and committed disciples of Jesus Christ. We joyfully unite in worship so that we will go into the world urgently with the Good News in transformational and sacrificial ways inviting others to follow Christ. OUR CORE BELIEFS AND VALUES WE BELIEVE that God transforms people and communities in ways sufficient to fulfill His will. that we are called to share the Good News of God s love in Jesus Christ. that we are disciples of Jesus Christ called to service, and our mission is to equip our congregation for Christ s sending into the world. that all we have is God s gift for our responsible use in service to God. that God s Spirit knits us together as a community of faith for worship, shelter, and nurture empowering us for God s service in the world. that we are guided by scripture, nurtured by prayer and called to lead others into the responsible freedom of the new life in Christ. that all things are possible through the One who strengthens us, and that the future is bright if we are faithful to God s good purposes. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 2

4 OUR STRENGTHS The Springboard for our Future WE ARE a faithful people of Jesus Christ as we celebrate nearly 150 years of ministry. a fellowship of believers seeking mission and outreach as we continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus wherever He leads us. a Body of Christ with bountiful resources, including willing leadership, committed disciples, financial blessings and capable staff. a worshipping community who is privileged to gather on a beautiful campus for the purpose of glorifying God. a congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who possess a compelling vision to lead the church forward by proclaiming the Gospel, ministering to those in need and showing forth the Kingdom of God. children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ and inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit. GOALS AS DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST: 1. ENGAGE. We will provide exciting and diverse opportunities for all members to be engaged in worship, education and ministry. Matthew 28: 19 20* 2. SERVE. We will provide meaningful ways to equip every member to serve Jesus Christ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for Christian service. Ephesians 4:11-13* 3. LEAD. We will build up and empower the leadership to execute our mission, vision, values and plans. 1 Thessalonians 5: 12 13* 4. GROW. We will intentionally grow the church as commanded by Christ. Our goal is to increase the membership to 1,300 members by adding 420 new members by year end It is the goal that 50% of the new members are under the age of 45. John 15:5 and Acts 16:5* 5. GIVE. We will give accordingly. Our goal is to increase total annual pledged giving to $1,600,000 by We will prepare a capital campaign for 2015; and, we will implement a planned giving program. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 8* *Referenced scriptures are presented on page 10. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 3

5 STRATEGIC INITIATIVES Initiatives for Goal # 1: ENGAGE. We will provide exciting and diverse opportunities for all members to be engaged in worship, education and ministry. Matthew 28: 19 20* (refer to page 10) 1. Develop small group ministries at FPC. We will gather in homes or small venues for Bible study, reflection and Christian fellowship. This style of worship strengthens the church members as a family, not estranged, but in relationship. 2. Expand the Sunday School program. Create more personal classes that are inviting to both existing and new members and offer congenial forums for study, growth and fellowship. Further develop a new member s class. 3. Require all pastors to lead and teach Sunday School regularly (e.g., standing classes taught by pastors, classes targeting younger members, creation of a new member class, etc.) 4. Encourage congregational and Sunday School dinners, socials, Bible study, in-home meetings, and special trips. 5. Develop on-line opportunities for Christian education and worship. 6. Invigorate the 10:30 AM worship service as the centerpiece of our worship, mission and core beliefs. (see LRPC reports for listing of ideas from members) 7. Develop a Come Back campaign to re-engage past members (similar to the recent Catholic Come Home campaign). 8. Develop a suitable music program that encourages variety, congregational participation and appreciation. 9. Further develop an integrated communications program, and maximize new technology, techniques and media to better communicate the life of the church, (e.g., a more state of the art and interactive website, a redesigned, more informative and inclusive newsletter, use of video, enhanced signage, web-based communications, and effective marketing tools and collaterals). Initiatives for Goal # 2: SERVE. We will provide meaningful ways to equip every member to serve Jesus Christ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for Christian service. Ephesians 4:11-13*(refer to page 10) 1. Develop an Every Member has a Calling campaign with a goal of involving every member in at least one ministry. 2. Develop a long term international mission relationship facilitating regular mission trips by members in ways that are sustainable and transformational for the mission and our Church. 3. Develop a major local mission that makes a dramatic impact on the Gaston County community (e.g., transitional housing for Family Promise graduates facilitating selfsustaining lifestyle, or other identified missions). 4. Develop ministries with other congregations or other non-profit organizations providing for community enrichment. 5. Develop enriched educational opportunities for at-risk children through a mentoring program with targeted schools and institutions of higher learning. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 4

6 Initiatives for Goal # 3: LEAD. We will build up and empower the leadership to execute our mission, vision, values and plans. 1 Thessalonians 5: 12 13* (refer to page 10) 1. Governance: a. Enhance the position descriptions for the members of the Session and Diaconate and include the criteria for nomination and selection of officers (e.g., officers are expected to pledge and participate in worship, education and ministries and required to achieve certain levels of training). b. Improve the process for nominating officers, including consulting with the pastoral staff to best match talents with needs. c. Re-institute an annual Officers Retreat. d. Continue and enhance leadership development and relevant education for Deacons and Elders. e. Improve the focus and effectiveness of the Session meetings. f. Study and consider reducing the number of Session members and changing the number of Diaconate members. 2. Ministries: a. Rename (reposition) all committees as ministries. b. Form a Plan Implementation Ministry (or some other name) to monitor, guide and direct the Strategic Plan c. Enhance the ministry structure as needed to ensure the Plan s success. d. Involve all members in the Church s ministries by maximizing the Every Member has a Calling program. e. Improve communications between pastoral staff and ministry chairs, including but not limited to the Commitment and Nominating Ministries. f. Enhance training and education for ministry chairpersons and members. 3. Staff: a. Hire: i. a full time Director of Communications & Membership Development (one position) in ii. an Administrative Pastor in iii. appropriate staff for the additional service, as needed. b. Re-align responsibilities and re-write the position descriptions for selected staff to ensure the Plan s success. c. Add and emphasize the following responsibilities to the Senior Minster s position description: i. supervise the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2018; and ii. design and lead the 10:30 AM worship service. d. Consider year-long pastoral internships (seminary students and recent graduates). e. Consider hiring a Stewardship and Planned Giving associate, contractor or consultant. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 5

7 Initiatives for Goal # 4: GROW. We will intentionally grow the church as commanded by Christ. Our goal is to increase the membership to 1,300 members by adding 420 new members by year end It is the goal that 50% of the new members are under the age of 45. John 15:5 and Acts 16:5* (refer to page 10) 1. Substantially strengthen the opportunities for congregational evangelism, spiritual growth and new member development, and further expand the resources and techniques to support membership development. 2. Renew a spirit of evangelism with the congregation to go out into the greater community and proclaim the Good News with enthusiasm, missionary zeal, purpose and activity. 3. Increase the church s budget appropriately in order to accomplish this Goal #4: GROW. 4. Further develop an integrated communications program, and maximize new technology, techniques and media to better communicate the life of the church, e.g., a more state of the art and interactive website, a redesigned, more informative and inclusive newsletter, use of video, enhanced signage, web-based communications, and effective marketing tools and collaterals. (This initiative is also stated in Goal #1, initiative 9.) 5. Provide an additional worship service. This service should be culturally relevant and offer a variety in music and worship styles appealing to younger members and those who desire a more casual atmosphere for greater ease of participation and increased worship involvement. 6. Hire a full time Director of Communications & Membership Development. (This initiative is also stated in Goal #3 LEAD under Staff.). 7. Consider hiring a consultant (e.g., The Alban Institute or other) to assist in new membership development education, strategy development and training. 8. Develop and implement a themed new member campaign (similar to an annual stewardship or capital campaign) each year. 9. Develop ministries, programs and facilities to attract younger members between the ages of (e.g., an active sports ministry, opportunities for young children, new worship service, etc.). 10. Enhance the orientation program for new members. 11. Further emphasize growth and involvement of the Youth Ministry with the vision of providing the region s best youth program. Initiatives for Goal # 5: GIVE. We will give accordingly. Our goal is to increase total annual pledged giving to $1,600,000 by We will prepare a capital campaign for 2015; and, we will implement a planned giving program. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 8* (refer to page 10) 1. Implement a stewardship education program, especially for members under the age of Conduct stewardship campaigns that more deeply educate members and promote one-onone visits with members. 3. Develop a stewardship education curriculum and programs for children, youth and young adults. 4. Identify and study significant ministry opportunities, potential new facilities, capital replacement plan needs and reserve safeguards that deserve funding. Prepare for a capital campaign in The campaign will include at least one targeted ministry or mission with a designated goal of not less than $350,000. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 6

8 5. Consider hiring a Stewardship and Planned Giving Director, contractor or consultant. (This initiative is also stated in Goal #3 LEAD under Staff.) MEASURES OF SUCCESS Measures of Success for Goal # 1: ENGAGE. We will provide exciting and diverse opportunities for all members to be engaged in worship, education and ministry. Matthew 28: 19 20* (refer to page 10) 1. General: Every member is matched (linked) with a well fitted ministry or ministries. 2. Worship: Average weekly worship attendance increased to 550 by the last quarter 2015 (using a weekly average for the quarter). a. To 350 by the last quarter of 2013 b. To 400 by the second quarter of 2014 c. To 450 by the last quarter of 2014 d. To 500 by the second quarter of 2015 e. To 550 by the last quarter of Sunday School: Average weekly attendance in Sunday School increased to 300 by the last quarter of 2015 (using a weekly average for the quarter). a. To 175 by the last quarter of 2013 b. To 200 by the second quarter of 2014 c. To 225 by the last quarter of 2014 d. To 275 by the second quarter of 2015 e. To 300 by the last quarter of Christian Education Opportunities (beyond-sunday School): Our Christian educational opportunities (e.g., classes, special studies and events) have been enhanced and expanded. We measure attendance and participation in all Christian education opportunities. 5. Ministry: We maintained selected ministry opportunities and developed new opportunities for ministry. We measure attendance and participation in all ministries. Measures of Success for Goal # 2: SERVE. We will provide meaningful ways to equip every member to serve Jesus Christ and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for Christian service. Ephesians 4:11-13* (refer to page 10) 1. Every Member Has a Ministry Campaign. An Every Member Has a Calling campaign was initiated in 2013 to involve every member in at least one compelling and appropriate ministry. 2. Renaming. All committees were re-named (re-positioned) as ministries. 3. New Ministries: 9 new Ministries (3 each year for next 3 years) were created by December, 2015 (e.g., small group, Alpha, sports ministry, ongoing foreign ministry, etc.) FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 7

9 4. Major Ministry to be Funded by Capital Campaign. A major targeted ministry or mission was selected to be funded with a designated goal of not less than $350,000 through the new Capital Campaign by Measures of Success for Goal # 3: LEAD. We will build up and empower the leadership to execute our mission, vision, values and plans. 1 Thessalonians 5: 12 13* (refer to page 10) 1. Governance: We enhanced position descriptions for officers with clear criteria for nomination and election; improved the nomination process; re-instituted the Officers Retreat; improved effectiveness of Session meetings; and studied reducing the number of Session members. 2. Ministries: We renamed all committees as ministries; implemented a successful Plan Implementation Ministry; enhanced the ministry structure; involved every member in at least one ministry; and enhanced the training and education program for all ministries. 3. Staffing: We hired and effectively empowered a full time Director of Communications & Membership Development, an Administrative Pastor, a Stewardship and Planned Giving Associate, and appropriate staff for the additional worship service, and we enjoyed the benefits of pastoral interns. Measures of Success for Goal # 4: GROW. We will intentionally grow the church as commanded by Christ. Our goal is to increase the membership to 1,300 members by adding 420 new members by year end It is the goal that 50% of the new members are under the age of 45. John 15:5 and Acts 16:5* (refer to page 10) 1. Total Membership: Total net membership increased to 1,300 by year end a. To 1,125 by year end 2013 b. To 1,150 by year end 2014 c. To 1,175 by year end 2015 d. To 1,200 by year end 2016 e. To 1,250 by year end 2017 f. To 1,300 by year end New Members: 420 new members added by year end 2018 (new members + attrition). a. 45 new members added by year end 2013 b. 65 new members added by year end 2014 c. 65 new members added by year end 2015 d. 65 new members added by year end 2016 e. 90 new members added by year end 2017 f. 90 new members added by year end Attracting Younger Members: We added 210 new members under the age of 45 by year end FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 8

10 Measures of Success for Goal # 5: GIVE. We will give accordingly. Our goal is to increase total annual pledged giving to $1,600,000 by We will prepare a capital campaign for 2015; and, we will implement a planned giving program. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 8* (refer to page 10) 1. Pledged Giving: Pledged giving increased to $1,600,000 in a. To $1,450,000 in 2014 b. To $1,600,000 in Pledging Units: Number of pledging units increased to 360 by December, a. To 300 by December, 2014 b. To 360 by December, Median Giving: Median pledge increased to $5,500 by December, 2015 a. To 5,000 by December, 2014 b. To 5,500 by December, Pledges from the < 50 age segment: The number of pledging units of members who are less than 50 years of age increased to 75 by 2015: 5. Capital Campaign: A Capital Campaign Ministry was formed in 2013 to study the future needs and prepare for implementation of a capital campaign in Plan Giving Ministry. A new Plan Giving Ministry (utilizing bequests, trusts, annuities and other planned giving tools) was formed in 2013 and specific goals were set. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 9

11 *Scriptures Referenced in Goals. ENGAGE. Matthew 28: 19 20: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And, surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. SERVE. Ephesians 4:11 13: It is he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelist, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in faith an in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. LEAD. 1 Thessalonians 5: 12 13: Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. GROW. John 15:5: I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. Acts 16: 5: So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers. GIVE. 2 Corinthians 9: 6 8: Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God love a cheerful giver. And God is able t make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. FPC Gastonia, Strategic Plan 2018, Adopted by the Session, May, 2013 Page 10

12 The FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Periodicals US Postage PAID Gastonia, NC 1621 East Garrison Boulevard Address Service Requested Gastonia, North Carolina Dated Material Postmaster please deliver by June 7, ENGAGE, SERVE, LEAD, GROW, AND GIVE Dr. John L. Frye, Jr. Senior Minister Extension Rev. Lauren Sease Vanacore Associate Minister Extension Timothy J. Belk Director of Music Ministries and Organist Extension Jill B. Kimbirl Director of Children s Ministries Extension Aaron R. Mead Director of Youth Ministries Extension Elizabeth T. Stewart Director of Membership Development Extension John H. Stanley Pastor of Visitation Extension Janeen F. Silver Director of After School/Summer Enrichment Extension Cheryl S. Mims Director of Mothers Morning Out Extension Myles A. Davidowitz Childcare Coordinator Extension Dr. Patricia L. Sudderth Director of Presbyterian Weekday School Extension Lisa Marisiddaiah Parish Nurse Ministry Extension Jennifer J. Childers Business Administrator Extension

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