Revitalization Task Force’s Final Report

Revitalization Task Force’s Final Report

The Revitalization Task Force (RTF)—the group that has shepherded the three-year Revitalization Initiative—has completed its final report. We invite the members of the congregation to read the attached report carefully and prayerfully.

The report is comprehensive (ok, that’s a euphemism for “LONG”!), but it’s worth the 15 to 20 minutes it will take to read it, so you can understand its conclusions and suggestions for Old First’s future.

The good news: Old First has enlarged the number of people who are involved in the life of our congregation, thanks to the congregation’s willingness to change. Even little changes have helped our congregation become more visible, attractive, welcoming, and meaningful to new people.

In reflecting on the past three years and looking to the future, the RTF makes several recommendations for building on our recent success. These include:

  • Communicating our message (institutionally and personally) is absolutely essential today: neither the venerable building in the city landscape nor the church’s reputation in the general public is any longer enough to do the trick.
  • Hopefulness and a positive outlook (about the church, its ministry and community) are powerful pre-conditions for welcoming new people.
  • To continue to enlarge the circle of our community, Old First would need to commit to an outward focus towards welcoming new people to our worshiping community (alongside our existing focuses of outreach, community building, and diversity).
  • New folks, though participating in greater numbers, appear to be less committed to formal membership, financial pledging and frequent worship attendance. The RTF would like the congregation to wrestle with the question of how to raise the value our community places on these important commitments to the church body.
  • Old First appeals to newcomers in part because of our “come-as-you-are” attitude. But that attitude may result in lower church participation by members of the community. Since we feel sure that participating in church life correlates with personal growth and spiritual reward, we would like to attract a higher level of participation among those in the community.
  • “Empty nesters” should be added to the existing list of populations we attempt to reach and serve better.

The Revitalization Task Force thanks the congregation for its trust in us as we undertook this Initiative together. We look forward to building on our success in the coming years.

If you have comments or questions about the report, please speak to any of the members of the Task Force:

Miguel Angel Alvarado, Rev. Michael Caine, Suzanne Cole, Beth Davis, Tim Herrmann, Woody Ulmer, Beth Walker, Jill Walsh, Marjorie Wilhite