Charting a Course

Thank you for your responses to the questions from Ministry Architects! We had more than 150 people respond, from all walks of life. In addition, we have listening groups meeting in person this weekend, representing a cross-section of our congregation: members and volunteers, parents and youth, elected leaders, staff, and more. This is just the beginning of our work with Ministry Architects.

But why are we doing this? You’ve read two blog posts about it already, but I wanted to offer one last perspective about this strategic planning process.

Before I arrived here officially, Pastor Sharon (our previous lead pastor) and I discussed the fact that it was time to do strategic planning again. Our mission and vision statement, our priorities are all quite old and it is time to revisit them. In listening over the last year to who the church is, I agreed wholeheartedly that it’s time to revisit. There’s no energy around the same four things that we have been claiming to focus on for years now. And, discipleship is not even mentioned in our four priorities – in a church that has had a great discipleship focus for years! It’s a new time and we need to embrace the chance to focus differently.

With that in mind, there were a few choices: for me lead the process or to outsource the process. Quite honestly, I know that I am not a strategic planning person. I am good with following through with something, not with dreaming it up. I don’t like the choice of ME leading a planning process. Covenant Council agreed that it was time to revisit, and agreed to explore options available if we outsource. A task force of six people looked at smaller processes and bigger processes (five in all), and landed on a relationship with Ministry Architects that will span 19 months. What we loved is that they aren’t going to say, “Here’s the changes you need to make, go do it.” Instead, they will lead us through the changes. They chair a change committee and help to shift the habits we have to be more effective at the ministry we are called to lead. The team recommended this relationship to Covenant Council, which approved the recommendation at its meeting in August. We then approved the funding for it, and everything began. It seems quick because it is, yet we have worked on it since our meeting in May.

I don’t expect Ministry Architects to tell us we are doing everything wrong. We aren’t! We are a strong and dynamic church that does great work in the world. We minister to many, many people who love the church and who we are. We expect that to stay the same. But we do expect to have a clear picture of where we are going now. What do we need to let go of, and what do we need to add? Who is missing, and what’s the strategy to engage them? How can we position ourselves for another season of strong and vital ministry?

After this weekend’s listening sessions, we will hold a congregational meeting at 6 p.m. THIS Sunday in the Sanctuary. Bryant and Annette from Ministry Architects will present what they heard from us and where they discern we should focus. They will lay out a timeline for shifts and changes that will guide us in the next 18 months. This meeting is open to everyone. Please make plans to join us.

And, as I have said before, please pray for this process. Pray for Bryant and Annette. Pray for those who are attending a listening group. Pray for the elected leaders in our congregation. Pray as we listen for the Spirit who is leading us. Pray for St. Mark’s.

See you soon.
Pastor Lynn



  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.