HCI: Update from Bill Lewis

HCI: Update from Bill Lewis

About 1 year ago, we voted to embark on a study of our church. Over the course of the last 12 months, we’ve come a long way on this study. You can read all of the updates on the website here. Through that study came 5 recommendations for our HCI team to study in further depth:

  1. Make sure we have a crystal clear vision and that all of the congregation helps clarify and “owns” this vision
  2. Be very Relational in Outreach that Supports the Vision
  3. Produce and participate in Artful and Planned Worship
  4. Be intentional in Leadership Development and Deployment
  5. Consider Strong Administrative structure as a Ministry

Bill Lewis, our consultant from the conference, has summarized our work thus far. Check out his thoughts on our work on the 5 recommendations:

Compelling Vision

Vision: La Crescent United Methodist Church; The hands and feet of Jesus, bringing people to a transforming relationship with Christ.

Both of our sessions this month afforded the opportunity to visit not only the words, but the behaviors that are indicative of “walking the talk”. There is evidence abounding that the people whom are familiar with and close to this vision statement, feel it not only fits but is living out in actions. The opportunity is to engage, and establish for everyone at LUMC a personal opportunity to connect to the vision, think about how it affects their thinking, and ultimately charges their behaviors. Attached is a picture of a “hand” that has been placed in the entry area for people to think about not only the imagery of the “hands of Jesus” but the ways in which they can be those hands in action to others. Clever and an effective reminder that it’s more than just the words.

Relational Outreach Supporting the Vision

As mentioned in previous reports, a great deal of focus has been on an audit or as we have referred to it, “current situation analysis” regarding the ministries, resources, and activities of the church. At our meeting on February 13, a very important step was taken to lay out the activities of the church on a calendar for the entire year. Yes, an entire year! Focus was on the community activities and those that provided a fund raising moment. As has been mentioned previously, this activity has not been to cut or discontinue programs as much as it has been to be sure there is alignment on resources to support.

I feel some vibrant and important conversations were held within the team, to be sure that the activities lend themselves to a connection to the vision. Frankly, the question was, if they don’t should we continue to support? The other thing this clearly does, is bringing a common understanding of the intention of activities. It also supported greatly the ability to “boost” the activity to the broader congregation with clarity and facts behind each event. Alignment to the vision is clearly taking a step forward with both energy and clarity of purpose.

Artful and Planful Worship

The Worship Team has been busy! With the leadership of Cheri, the group has had some great efforts to look at what is possible. As mentioned previously, a balance is also being looked at with the reality that the new pastor will have ideas and vision that should and will be included in the future. One creative advancement has been the utilization of an internship approach with one of the local colleges. This will not only help a student with a project, but bring some “objective and innovative thinking” to the equation. This activity will commence soon, with the opportunity for some “quick wins” as well as an intentional look towards supporting the vision. The team has found the book/resource as an effective tool in helping them further consider what would work for LUMC. Again, with alignment to the vision.

Leadership Development and Deployment

As reported earlier, the team had decided to dedicate an entire Saturday morning to a “Leadership Development Experience”. I had the pleasure to facilitate “Living Your Strengths” experience on February 4. Personally, I don’t know how it could’ve gone better. There was close to 30 people, including folks of various age groups. In addition, three members from a local Lutheran Church joined. Now that’s outreach!

People were engaged, the conversations were lively, and many people commented on not just the worthwhile session but in addition to that the ways in which they could apply the learning to better serve. We plan to look at an additional session for those they were unable to make this one at an upcoming date to be determined.

Administration as Ministry

As mentioned previously, the approach here is to look at utilizing not only structure and models to take the administrative and governing situations of the church further, but also to think about who are the right people to be a part of it for greater traction and pay off. The new chair of the council, Peter Bell, also a member of the HCI vision team has put together an interesting way in which the Hotchkiss model can be adapted to LUMC . Peter presented this to the Council for their reflection. All in all, it was well received and I am confident that this will not only fit the prescription as outlined, but will indeed take the church to new levels of effectiveness, purpose, and seeing administration as a ministry.

General Comments:

Whew! That is both quality and quantity of effort by these wonderful people. Frankly, to try to wrap up here in general comments some sort of “rally cry” would fall short of all. I believe these people should be recognized and appreciated for in their efforts. Clearly a high-performing team, working very hard toward making their church everything it can be.


**The above report was submitted by HCI team as the report from Bill Lewis.


I'm writing and posting here as a volunteer of the church. My husband and children and I have been Methodists for over 100 years. We live, work, volunteer and raise our children in the La Crescent community. The people at La Crescent UMC do amazing things with their gifts and their talents. I'm very honored to be able to share them with the world. Thank you for reading along. Wonder what we'll get to read next!

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