More than 75 members of all 29 agencies, boards and committees in Greater New Jersey met in January for a 2016 Strategic Kick Off Session to review goals and objectives so that all activities are in alignment with the strategic plan.
The featured speaker at the session was Lisa Greenwood, the Vice President for Leadership Ministry at the Texas Methodist Foundation. She said GNJ is certainly going in the right direction, but the key is to keep that momentum going.
“Greater New Jersey has really gotten clear on its purpose about its role of equipping spiritual leaders who can grow vital leaders and make disciples,” she said. “You’ve defined what vital congregations are and what being a transformational leader is. You haven’t left it all mushy.
“You need to put teeth into it and see what difference you can make.”
One of Greenwood’s goals for the session was to help each agency find ways to take part in making the strategic plan a reality.
“Sometimes we struggle in the church to articulate our purpose and the difference we are trying to make,” Greenwood said. “When we struggle with the clarity of our purpose and clarity of the outcomes we want, we then tend to focus on activities. My hope is that when people think about the agency or committee they are on, they will be really clear on the differences they are trying to make.”
The session made a difference to agency leaders in attendance.
“I learned how to clarify and identify our goals for 2016,” said Michelle Ryoo, who is the chairperson for the Commission on the Status and Role of Women. “We need to move away from the maintenance mode toward equipping risk-taking, deeply spiritual, creative, strategic, resourceful and transformational women leaders.”
Greenwood, a life-long Methodist who has been at the Texas Foundation since 2012, says the first step in the process for some will be altering their mindset.
“A trap we tend to fall into, and it seems very faithful, is that we do a needs assessment and then we work on filling those needs,” she said. “But what if we shift and ask not what the needs are out there, but what assets are out there?
“This shift is already being done in Greater New Jersey.”
Greenwood was specifically referring to initiatives such as Team Vital, PaCE groups, clergy coaching and small groups.
One GNJ committee leader believes the initiative a group takes can make all the difference.
Judy Colorado, the Chair of the Committee on Ethnic Local Church Concerns said, “changing our paradigm from a membership club mentality to discipleship paradigm” is one of the ideas she took away from the session.
Greenwood hopes the ideas generated in the Kick Off Session lead to not just action, but the right kind of action.
“My hope is to bring GNJ leaders into conversation around identity, purpose and outcomes,” Greenwood said. “We want to help the local church find ways to do their work, but we don’t want to do the work for them.”