In 2016, the Guiding Coalition continued its focus of leading and anchoring the changes we need to make as a congregation.
With Pastor Al joining our faith family, the Guiding Coalition sought to strengthen the Leadership and Decision Making at St. Paul’s. It is clear in today’s complex world, one minister cannot “do it all”, so a team-based approach is critical. We have come to learn we are all called to develop the gifts God has given us, and church leadership is so much more than simply “managing” the business of the church.
As a Guiding Coalition, we reflected on how we can live out our calling as spiritual leaders. So often as leaders, we feel the need to have it “all figured out”, but this is just not the case. In this ever-changing world, church leaders need to be comfortable trying new things. By learning about our gifts, praying about it, and pushing beyond our comfort zones, we can grow in our faith, and as God’s servants.
All this takes time. So this year, the Guiding Coalition assisted Pastor Al in the development of an Elder’s Retreat. Our goal was to continue to create a sense of “us” as a team. Guided by Jesus sending out his disciples two by two, creating that strong leadership team is very important. By continuing to strengthen a sense of trust, support and care for each other, we are so much stronger.
We shared this day in October. We reflected on the times in our lives we felt closest to God, considered ways we could strengthen our faith lives, and how we could support each other as elders.
We also watched the powerful documentary, “When God Left the Building”. This film describes
life for the church in a post-Christian society, and the challenges many churches face today. It chronicled stories of churches that had lost their focus, and were ultimately forced to close. It also described the downfall of the Kodak Corporation. After dominating its industry for decades, Kodak failed to make those critical changes to embrace emerging technologies. The fear of “losing what they had” was greater than the vision of what they could achieve by trying something new. Like Kodak, churches that are no longer relevant in our time will not survive.
The elders were moved by this film, and felt it was an important message for our entire congregation. We decided to “try something new” and made the decision to share this film during our worship service. We believe this spoke to the importance of this message, and something we would want to reflect on together.
The documentary suggested that churches are fading from the fabric of our society. Yet, if we look around our communities, our workplaces and even our own homes, we have to ask, are we better off? Most would suggest we are not. So many people are looking for hope and strength as they face the challenges in their lives. Many are searching for answers to so many questions. A message we heard in the film was that we should be the “hands and feet of Christ to those who don’t know him”. It is about meeting people where they are, and being real with them in their everyday lives.
As we continue to reflect on our vision:
St. Paul’s: A place where we dream of being a kind, thriving faith community,
loving God and serving others.
we know we’re not there yet. As a Guiding Coalition, we will continue to discern what this means to us as we seek to live out our faith more deeply.
I would like to thank the members of the Guiding Coalition for their commitment to moving us forward as a congregation. It’s not easy work, but as a team, we have been inspired to understand what God yearns for us to be. This year, we lost a dear friend and GC member, Ruth Murray. We miss her warmth and wisdom, but are comforted to know she is with her Lord and Saviour today.
We give thanks for Pastor Al’s leadership this year. He has encouraged us to look to the scriptures to find insights about leadership, and how God has supported so many of His servants through the ages to share His message in their time.
We have much to be thankful for as a congregation. May we look to the future with hope and excitement, truly believing we have not yet seen our best days.
Kim Harrison Scott Janssens John Knox
Ewan MacKintosh Maureen Nicholson Kathy Smit
Pastor Allan Brouwer
Guiding Coalition 2015
This year, in understanding the importance of embracing change, Dr. David Thompson, introduced the elders of St. Paul’s to the book, “Leading Change” by John P. Kotter. This is an international bestseller about organizational change – what works and what does not.
In describing the challenges that are part of any organizational change, in today’s complex world, Kotter suggests that no “one” individual, no matter how capable, is ever able to develop the right vision, communicate it, work through the obstacles, and anchor these changes in the organization’s culture. He suggests that a strong “guiding coalition” is always needed to share in this type of effort.
As a result, this year, we created a “Guiding Coalition” at St. Paul’s, to lead the changes we need to make as a congregation. Change is hard for all of us. Yet, as we aspire to achieve our Vision, and to thrive as a congregation, implementing and sustaining these changes will be critical for our future as a church.
This year, the Guiding Coalition has worked with the congregation to create a Vision, or dream, that reflects who we believe God is calling us to be in the future. The next step in this process was to create Mission Statements that reflect “how” we will achieve this dream as a church family.
We have also started to draw on the work of Dr. Kennon Callahan, a renowned minister who has worked with congregations across North America for 30 years. Using his book, “12 Keys to an Effective Church” as our guide, we are now looking to assess those key areas in our church that are critical to the life and health of our congregation, and help our teams move forward in these areas. The role of the Guiding Coalition is to work alongside our teams, as we focus on these specific areas, offering support, resources and enthusiasm.
Using this “12 Keys”, our Mission Statements, and with God as our guide, we believe God is calling us to do great things in our future in this community. By anchoring the changes in our church culture, we believe we can achieve our dream of thriving in the long term.
Members of the Guiding Coalition are:
Kathy Smit (Team Lead)
Dr. David Thompson