WCI February Update

In my experience, the whole church initiative is not a cut and dry, do things this way, type of initiative, but rather a challenge to look at the ways we currently do Church, and to help us question whether there might be some changes in ways of communicating and serving that can help us better reach people who are un- churched and are seeking some spiritual nourishment.

Questions we have asked as a group are: How can we keep the church relevant in today’s world? How can each church best make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in the speci c environment in which they are located? With all of the changes in society and the many di erent ways people commu- nicate, are there better ways to reach them? Where do we see God leading us as individuals and as a community?

Currently we are looking at ways nature has adapted to t better into speci c envi- ronments and considering if some adaptation may be bene cial to some churches. Certainly some of this has already happened over the years as small rural churches no longer do things exactly the same way as large mega churches. So far we have

a lot of questions and we will keep you informed as we progress along this road of seeking how God might guide our churches in the future. If you have any ideas
or concerns that you would like to share, please feel free to talk to one of the task force members from either St. Paul’s or Covenant. We will be meeting with the Great Falls teams shortly after the rst of February and we plan to put other articles in future newsletters to keep

you informed of any progress or new ideas being considered. ank you all for your patience as we travel this road together.
WCI Team Member – Jim Fishburn

Learn and Imagine 1

The Whole Church Initiative (WCI) team had their first Learn and Imagine event on Saturday, Nov. 19. This is where the Helena group, made up of St. Paul’s and Covenant, gathered with the Great Falls church groups that have joined us in this adventure. We gathered at Covenant UMC and met our facilitator, Rev. Barry Padgett. Barry is a retired pastor that has led churches for many years in Great Falls, Billings and Missoula, and now lives in Missoula.

We were given abundant information and had great discussion. Here are just a couple of things that I learned and am still pondering. Did you know that congregations have lifecycles, like all living things? A church lifecycle begins at birth, moves through adolescence and adulthood, then to maturity, retirement, and then eventually death. Now, this is not meant to alarm anyone! I don’t see St. Paul’s anywhere near the end of life, but I do believe St. Paul’s has already had many lifecycles, starting with the first sermon given on a pile of logs in 1865 which later became the first church in Helena, and then evolving several times to where we are now. Whether our change and growth happened as a result of earthquake or necessity, we have continued to evolve as a church community. Remember, our faith is about resurrection, not resuscitation. This applies to our churches lifecycles too.

We also watched a TED Talk by Simon Sinek where he described ‘The Golden Circle’ (Watch it at https://goo.gl/9sKJaA). This idea could be applied to just about anything; business, marketing, ideas, people…life. But, it inspired our specific discussion on church community and mission. The Golden Circle has three circles, the center is ‘why’ (purpose), the next circle, around ‘why’ is ‘how’ (process), and the next circle around ‘how’ and ‘why’, is ‘what’ (product). The speaker stated that some organizations explain themselves starting with what, how, and why, but successful ones start from the inside out: why, how, what. People don’t buy what you have. They buy why you do it. People invest in things if they appropriately offer the “why” to help them run faster, look better, save time, or in our case become transformed disciples transforming the world to do good.

Our team has only just begun this journey of learning and sharing, and I am truly inspired and hopeful for what this work will do for the future of St. Paul’s, Covenant and Helena United Methodist Ministries.
— by team Convener Heidi Gold