Taking the Next Leap

Four Changes in the Works for WECC
by Krystal Stoll
Change is inevitable.  In fact, by definition things that grow change, and science tells us that growth is an indicator of life.  Change, for an organization like ours, means an opportunity to seek out more effective ways of reaching people, of sharing our message about the Christ we love and serve.  
We have experienced a whole lot of change as a church in the last several months.  In fact, as a communicator, I’ve typed the word “change” so many times since last summer I’ve lost count.  And in addition to our change as a church, our culture is changing, shifting, faster than most of us can keep up with.  Brady Shearer, creator of Pro Church Tools, said that “Our culture is currently undergoing the largest communications shift in the last 500 years.”  That change has affected every single industry in some way, and the church is not immune to it.  We need to grow, to adapt, to continue to reach people with the message of God in a changing world.  People no longer communicate in the same way they did just 10 years ago, and to reach them we need to communicate the way they do. 
But change is hard, right?  It can be scary. It can be risky.  Growth can be scary and risky.  We clap for joy when a toddler takes her first steps and wince as she falls.  Then, later, we lie awake at night, worried, when she learns to drive.  Her growth is risky, but necessary.   As a church, taking risks is important.  Pastor Carey Nieuwhof has visited several churches that do really well at attracting and discipling the upcoming generation.  He took notes on what they all have in common, and he said this: “All of the churches I know that are doing a great job with young adults take risks. Big risks.”
As a congregation, I guarantee you we’ve weathered quite a few risks.  You don’t get to be around for 125 years without experiencing transition.  In order to see another 125 years, we’ll need to undergo some more.  Here are the four changes coming up for us:
1.  This weekend we will welcome a pastoral candidate and hear him speak to us for the first time.  We’ll have the opportunity to vote as a church body about whether to call him or not. We are excited, absolutely, but a bit hesitant, too.  Will he like us?  Will we like him?  What will his vision for the church be?  Where would he lead us?  What’s his name, anyway?  Does he wear a tie?!?!  Only the important concerns, you see.  Be sure to be in church and Sunday School this Sunday (starting at 9:30am) to get some of these questions answered.
2.  After four years as the WECC secretary, I am stepping down in order to spend more time at home with my family.  The Leadership Team has hired Linnea Fellows to take my place.  She will take over most of the things I’ve been doing and will have full dominion over the church office.  We’re still working out the kinks of what she’s comfortable with and what will need to be reassigned, but for right now, here’s what you need to know: 
  • I will continue to manage our social media accounts and the website.  And until Linnea gets her feet under her completing the tasks that affect Sunday service, she’s not prepared to take on the e-news.  Which means there probably won’t be a Weekly Wrap-Up next week or the following week, as I will be out of town.  We’ll keep you posted. 
  • You can email Linnea at l.fellows@wincov.org.  The following email addresses will also go to her:  wincov@gmail.com, info@wincov.org.  We would like to phase out that gmail address, so please update your address books.
  • I’m not certain what my role will be going forward.  I’m hoping to still serve in a communications capacity, but what that looks like is yet to be defined.  For the present moment, you can still send information for the church social media accounts to me at k.stoll@wincov.org.
3. The LT has agreed to the launch of a new program for our church on a trial basis.  It will be a central, online hub for everything we do as a congregation so that you never again have to wonder who to call to sign up for something or how to take a next step.  This new site will serve the needs of our congregation, while our main, existing site will be simplified to appeal to those looking at our church for the first time.  I am super excited about everything this central hub has to offer, and I hope you will be too!  Look for more on this to come.  Tentative launch date: June 1st. 
4. New ministries: The Mission and Outreach team is forming a new Connections ministry, designed to examine the steps that people take from first-time visitor (or even before that) to becoming an active participant in our congregation.  Their goal is to follow up with guests and help them to get plugged into life here at WECC.  If you are interested in helping make that happen, feel free to talk to me, Eric Sandberg, Julia Dahlke or Bix Baker–we would love to bring you in.  Also, a new Mom’s ministry is launching June 1st!  This will be a fellowship time open to moms in all stages, and is designed to be an outreach ministry.  Talk to Tiffany Messerli or myself for more details.
These are some big leaps for us!  They involve a little bit of risk, a little bit of work (maybe a bit more for some of us than others) and a lot of support from you as the body of our church.  Please pray as we work out all the details, and if you see something going on you don’t recognize or understand, stop and ask.  If nothing else, we want to know when we’re failing to make something understood. 
We are looking forward to the growth that this change will bring.  Pastor Paul Johnson taught us on July 31st that in a world filled with changes, Christ calls us to relationship with Him, to lead where He follows. It is this rock that will allow us to remain stable in the midst of turbulent times.  As we grow closer to Him, we’ll grow as a church, too, and that is an exciting thing!