Next Level Innovations
Early in 2018 Centreville UMC was invited to consider participating in our district’s Next Level Innovations (NLI) program designed to help churches discern where God was leading them as thy sought to serve Him through worship and service. The beginning of the process involved training for the pastors and lay leaders, a weekend church wide retreat, introduction to the plan for the church and then a period of discernment before a vote to decide whether or not to proceed. At the church conference the decision was overwhelmingly in favor of accepting the Next Level Innovations report (see link below).
The report contained five areas that our church needed to focus on based upon our self study and the input from the weekend retreat. These areas are vision, welcoming, worship, generosity and leadership. The report recommended that we form teams to address each of these areas with suggested timelines. Since the report was adopted in December, 2018, we have made considerable progress in several of these areas, though work continues in each of them. Teams have been formed to address the first four focus areas. The Leadership Development Team is planned to begin its work in late 2020 or early 2021.
The first team that was formed was our Vision Alignment Team. This team developed a vision statement that was communicated to the church and approved. Our vision is to be “A welcoming congregation, inviting all God’s children to experience and share Christ’s transforming love.” This new vision statement was introduced to our congregation during a sermon series in February, 2020. The Vision Alignment Team is now focused on aligning the ministries in our church with our vision.
The Relationships/Hospitality Team has been working since spring of 2019 to ensure that our church is one where all who enter sense that they are welcome. The team worked to establish a time between services where we could connect with each other and build relationships that helped us feel that we were all members of the Centreville UMC family whether this was our first visit or we had been attending for 30 years. Their role became more important once the vision statement was approved. Their work will continue as we move back to in person worship at some point.
The Worship Revitalization Task Force was formed in early 2019 in order to look at our Sunday morning worship schedule. At the time we had four services at 8:15, 9:30; 11:00 and 11:02. The first three were traditional services in the Sanctuary and the 11:02 was a contemporary service held in the ROC. The team looked at a number of options and conducted a congregation wide survey in which more than 150 members participated. Based on the information they collected the church decided to change our schedule to three Sunday services beginning in September 2019. The first two at 8:00 and 9:15 would be traditional services and the traditional service changed to 11:15. In addition, the 10:15 hour was turned into a time to make connections with one another and for adults, youth and children to attend Sunday School. The team was planning to conduct a review of these changes in the spring of 2020 to be sure they were meeting the needs of our congregation, but this has been postponed until after we return to in person worship.
The Generosity Team was formed in March, 2020 and has been tasked to develop a five year financial plan to ensure that the ministries of the church will be adequately supported moving forward. The team is also tasked to explore ways in which we might be able to raise money to reduce or eliminate our mortgage. Finally, the team is planning the fall stewardship focus and will be looking at ways to develop a year round focus on stewardship.