Since the fall of 2017, Two Rivers Church has been involved in a program called “Step Up to the Next Level.” This has been a series of workshops, training, and self-studies. One October 12-14, 2018, there was a special Step Up weekend with interviews, focus groups, and a full-day workshop. The culmination of this period of study was the Step Up Report.
On October 14, the Step Up Coaches team made a proposal for the entire congregation. That proposal can be found below. The full presentation by District Superintednant Stephen Granadosin, Step Up Coach Peggy Hissey, and a short sermon by Pastor Robb McCoy can be found below as well.
Summary of the Proposal:
Strengths of Two Rivers Church
We have a dedicated of leaders and volunteers. The staff is working well together and the pastoral leadership is a good match.
“Two Rivers is a congregation whcih welcomes all people.” The named diversity of the report is a group of families who are of African descent, but the people of Two Rivers also value diversity of thought, economic status, and sexual orientation.
3. Community Mininstry
The church is active in serving the community and building ties to their neighbors. The Saturday Meal Site, Operation Safety Net, and Coat ministry serve thousands every year. Events such as Lenten Concert Series, Bless the Block, and Pet Fest help build ties to the community.
4. Newcomer Welcome
After several “secret shoppers” came to Two Rivers Church as first-time visitors, their responses to the hospitality shown to them was overwhelmingly positive. “This is significant and outside the norm.” Step Up Coaches estimated that over 90% of other churches would not get as good of grades in a similar ‘test.’
The congregation of Two Rivers, while having a thriving children and youth program, is still aging. 15-20 years ago an incident caused many families to leave, creating a ‘generation gap.’
2. Unclear Results
While there are many community-oriented events at the church, they do not always have the hoped-for response. There is a struggle in making real connections to new people, despite many efforts to do so.
3. Cultural Barriers
Language and cultural barriers are strong. Despite a desire to be one church, there is difficulty in growing authentic relationships across these cultural divides. While the church has been blessed to exerience some Central African culture though music, dance, and food, this is not done on a regular basis.
In alligning efforts, Two Rivers can increase results. This will require identiying some activities to pause or stop and realligning others to follow the Three-Step movement of Invitation, Connection, and Discipling. A small team will be formed to review all the mission and ministries of Two Rivers and take an honest account of their effectiveness.
2. Increase Multicultural Momentum
The gift of diverse cultures is a joy upon which Two Rivers Church can build. A Multicultural Ministries Team will be formed of at least six people, made up of people reflecting the diversity of those in worship. This team will come up with ways to build relationships across cultural divides.
3. Apprentice Emerging Leaders
New leaders who want to change the world will be paired with veterans who are already doing this work. Apprentice relationships will help build a new generation fo leaders, and cede power and authority to new people and fresh ideas.
This Report has been submitted to the church for review. For the next 30 days, the report will be made avialable to all. Three meetings will take place, each facilitated by a different lay leader of the congregation. These meetings will be a chance to ask questions, give opinions, and discuss the merits of the report. It is a chance for everyone to have their voice heard and concerns addressed. After these three town hall meetings, there will be an official Church Conference. All members of the church may vote to either accept or reject the report. A vote of 70% acceptance is required to accept the report.
If accepted, Peggy Hissey of the Office of Congregational Development will continue to resource Pastor Robb and the leaders of Two Rivers Church as implementation of the Next Steps proceeds. If the report is not accepted, that will end the Step Up program, and Two Rivers Church will continue to operate as usual.
The Town Hall Meetings:
Monday, October 15 at 11:00 a.m. in Epworth Hall
Thursday, November 1 at 7:00 p.m. in Asbury Parlor
Sunday, November 11 at 10:45 a.m. in Epworth Hall
The Church Conference vote will be:
Sunday, November 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Epworth Hall