by Paula Knudsen Burke
Ever hear of Church Board Blob Tag?
Well… nobody else had, either, but on January 11, twenty-nine members of the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren were game to try an ice-breaker activity during our annual Church Board Retreat. We played, prayed and planned during one busy half-day.
We reflected on some highlights of 2019:
We finished with the strongest giving year in the history of Etown CoB!
More than 500 people gathered to worship on Christmas Eve.
A first “date night” provided families with young children the opportunity to leave the kids behind in a safe space while enjoying some adult time.
And looked forward to what we’re planning in 2020:
The design and development phase of the building project is underway with various user groups meetings being scheduled with the architect.
Rolling out small groups that will start in February.
Christian Education is planning a new adult series for March.
Witness and Nurture are planning an event that will involve the popular Christian speaker John Pavlovitz.
More opportunities for building interpersonal connectedness, spiritual and Biblical growth.
The board used the results of the fall congregational survey as it considered priorities and planning for 2020. A big thank-you to John David Bowman, who in consultation with Don Kraybill, designed the survey. And a shout-out to the church office staffers for helping to administer the survey. Our last major internal survey was in 2008, so the results from this survey gave us a lot to consider as a board on questions such as clarity of and commitment to our mission. We’ll continue to review the survey results throughout 2020.
Another big-thank you to the outgoing board members, including Chair Nancy Hivner. Our congregation is blessed with many gifts! Thank you for everything you do to make the ministry of our congregation meaningful.
In closing our time together, Moderator Joe Detrick led us in a short devotion on the feeding of the 5,000 as recorded in Matthew 14:13–21. When the disciples wanted to send the crowd home for supper, Jesus said, “No, you feed them.” The disciples found a young lad who was willing to share his meager lunch of loaves and fish. Jesus blessed the food which feed the huge crowd with 12 baskets left over. That which was little became much that satisfied many! In the same way God is able to take our gifts, talents, and ideas and expand them beyond measure. God can take the small seed of ideas generated by the congregational survey and with the creative efforts of many talented people, continued input from the congregation, sacrifice, and prayerful discernment, God can create far more than we ever believed possible. May we continue to be blessed with God’s extravagant mercy as we practice peace, service, and openness to all! Amen.