COVID brings a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent the way disciples are made, so trust your pilot (Jesus) and crew.
Before COVID, we were experiencing the highest average attendance in our church's history, while on pace to baptize more people than ever before in our 104 year history. The way we designed ministry worked well - yesterday. Then came the coronavirus. While we still have the largest congregation ever - thanks to our online campus, and we've had 158 baptisms so far this year, (with more to come at our next Outdoor Worship and All-In Service), it is truly a whole new ministry environment and therefore requires a whole new strategy.
It's a Whole New World
COVID-19 is not just an interrupter, it's been a disruptor to everything on planet Earth, and the church is no exception. Churches that want to be movements and not museums or mausoleums, will have to learn how to pivot in this brand new world. We are choosing to embrace redemptive disruption. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more about some necessary changes we are making to better align our staff, structure, and strategy to accomplish our timeless mission, and serve you better than ever.
As churches begin to pivot to this emerging and changing COVID culture, we have to refocus and recalibrate every asset we have - staff, budgets, and building to be relevant and effective. Every job description in our wonderful church staff has dramatically changed in the last four months and we are verbalizing that. Here are a few initial staff changes I want to share this week:
- Because of the pivot away from in-person services, Nic Gonzales and Alisa Childers have rotated off our normal worship team rotation. This was a difficult, but strategic and practical decision. We will forever be grateful for the incalculable difference they made over the past decade in our church.
- Jon Graybeal has resigned from his position of Production Associate. Jon's decision came as a result of some past and present actions that are not congruent with our staff values. Jon has apologized for his choices and is on a strategic pathway, with our help, to heal and allow Jesus to restore and redeem him.
- We're excited to announce James Gray will be joining our team in August as our new Director of Connections and Outreach. He and his wife, Leti, and family are coming from NE Ohio with a wealth of experience in the Christian Church, as well as in marketplace ministry. James coming on staff not only increases our diversity, but also allows us to deploy Jereca Humphries as a community pastor to concentrate more time and energy on building relationships/community in our movement to expand a Whitewater church presence in Lawrenceburg over the next 12-18 months. This is an intentional (and key) piece of our strategy to reach people in specific areas of greater Cincinnati where Whitewater members already live. Jereca and Rob, (and Navy!) have sacrificed so much to bring about Kingdom transformation here at the Cleves campus, and I am so grateful she is stepping into this new role.
My Executive Leadership Staff and I are working as hard as ever to bring missional clarity through a new 12-month playbook to strategically accomplish our mission: For The One. This new COVID reality we find ourselves in is a challenge, but it is also a once in a generation opportunity to reinvent the way disciples are made to find help, hope, and a home in Jesus. I look forward to sharing more about this in coming days. I know you probably have some questions - I understand. I do, too! Although I am unclear as to all the specifics of this new COVID strategy, I am absolutely sure of why we need to make changes - to fulfill our mission given by Jesus. I sometimes say to the staff that 'we're building the plane while we're flying it.' That has never been more accurate than right now, so trust your pilot (Jesus) and crew. We will land the plane shortly.
P.S. We had our largest Outdoor Service yet last Sunday. Great energy and worship. Don't forget your homework that I gave you - no grumbling for this week! How have you done? You can start again if you've messed up (like me!). See you this Sunday outdoors again. Register here.
Because whether we're outside or online,
we're still on mission!
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