Shepherd of the Valley United Methodist Church Vision Statement

We are Shepherd of the Valley United Methodist Church, a multi-generational Christ community

seeking to sing God’s spirit into the world by inviting all, serving all, loving all.

We are called to include God’s people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, economic status, physical and mental abilities.

We are called to be a curious people on a spiritual journey, exploring our faith, asking questions, and growing together in Christ.

We are called to hunger for and work towards a just and peaceful world in which all of creation has what is needed to live fully and love wastefully.

A Message for the Congregation about Who We Are and Who We are Called to Be

During 2015-16 we engaged in a process of discerning God’s intention for our church.  We wanted to figure out who we are and who God is calling us to be.  We began by surveying the whole congregation and asked you to name two people you trust and who would you go to if you needed a help.  As a result, Loxi Ellingwood, Jerry Crosby, Kristen Dart, Joe and Tara Anderson, Linda Koehler and Rob Bower were asked to serve on the Vision Team.  We prayerfully spent a year interviewing church folks, taking a congregational look at our history and interviewing members of our community. Finally we took the information we had gleaned through our work and gave you all a chance to express how you see our church and who you feel we are called to be.  Through the process we learn a great deal about our strengths and our growing edges.  Some of these things may seem self-evident but are worth highlighting.

A few of our many strengths:

·         We were reminded that Shepherd of the Valley is a church with tremendous depth in terms of membership. Many of our members of have been part of the SOV community for 25 plus years!  This fact gives us access to wisdom and experience that we can learn and grow from, as well as it shows how deeply committed SOV member are to their church.

·         In general SOV folks feel loved and cared for by their church family and feel a sense of love and care for others.

·         SOV folks love nothing better than to get together as a church family for fun and fellowship.

·         We are a church that values the presence of children and young families.  We want to be a truly multi-generational church.

·         We are church that wants to make a priority for caring for our seniors.

·         We are passionate about the ministry of feeding the hungry.

·         We are a church that seeks to grow spiritually and in knowledge of our faith, with many members engaged in small groups.

·         Worship is important to us.  It is a time for us to gather and solidify our bond with God and one another. It offers us an opportunity to welcome outsiders into our home.  Therefore we want a worship experience that is authentic and meaningful and music filled.

·         One of our greatest gifts is our unique ability to welcome and serve children and adults who are differently able.  We love the presence folks with special needs and we seek to include them in the life of our church to the full extent that they are able.  In addition we seek to create a safe and inviting space for parents whose children have special needs.

Some of growing edges and challenges:

·         Because we are aware that we have so many members who have been part of the church for 25 plus years, we realize that we need to be able to provide care and nurture of those of our aging members who have done so much to serve Shepherd of the Valley.

·         We know that Jesus’ life and ministry is the model for our way of being.  We know we are called to bind the broken, feed the hungry, free the oppressed and love the unlovable. To that end, through our work we discerned how important it is for Shepherd of the Valley to find a balance between meeting the fellowship, care and nurture needs of our members and being in service to the world.

·         While we value and desire the presence of children in our church we have work to do to in our ministry to young families in our church. In addition need to find ways to be in service to children in our larger community.

·         When we interviewed members of our larger community we quickly discerned that people outside of Shepherd of the Valley don’t know much about Shepherd of the Valley at all.  We need to find ways to be more visible in outside our church.

·         While we do believe that we should make our feeding ministry a priority, for the most part we expect those who we feed to come to us. We need to find ways to expand this ministry, perhaps by expanding our partnership with Open Table of Christ.

·         Growing in relationship with God through Jesus Christ is essential for a Christian Church.  It’s important we find opportunities for all of our people to participate in some form of spiritual growth.

·         As I said above we have a unique gift of welcoming folks who are differently abled.  How can we focus those gifts and use them in ministry to special needs folks outside our church?

And so, after this long year of discernment, your Vision Team has created a vision statement and mission goals that take all these strengths and areas of growth.  We will use this vision to help us to focus our ministries for years to come.   Our mission goals will help us to decide where to use our energy and resources.   We hope you will spend time praying about this work and making our vision statement a central part of church identity.  When someone asks you about your church here is where you start!

We are a multi-generational Christ community seeking to sing God’s spirit into the world by inviting all, serving all, loving all.

And when someone asks you what we are called to do you can say these are our mission goals.

We are called to include God’s people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, economic status, physical and mental abilities.

We are called to be a curious people on a spiritual journey, exploring our faith, asking questions, and growing together in Christ.

We are called to hunger for and work towards a just and peaceful world in which all of creation has what is needed to live fully and love wastefully.

When you get a chance, please thank the members of your worship team for this important work on your behalf!