From Brent Welch and the Vestry
The Vestry met earlier this year and discussed our goals for the next year. During our meeting, we discussed the book Growing an Engaged Church by Albert Winseman. We focused on a theme that explains why people like to belong to a wonderful place like St Marks. Winseman and Gallup surveys offer a “Get-Give-Belong-Grow” summary that reminds us that engagement, that is, a deeper connection with others, is a crucial part of a deeper connection to God and one’s faith. Hence people find friendship, spiritual support, fellowship, and a welcome respite from the daily grind in a healthy faith community. As a result they are willing to give of their talents, time and treasure.This engagement and sense of belonging leads to deeper spiritual growth. St. Mark’s, at its best, is such a community and as your Vestry we believe it can be a better and stronger faith community by increasing opportunities for engagement.
The focus on Get-Give-Belong-Grow highlights the following crucial questions (used in surveys) for members of the community:
“What do I Get?”
Do I know what is expected of me?
Are my spiritual needs being met?
“What do I Give?”
Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best?
Have I received recognition or praise for what I do?
Do the community leaders care about me as a person?
Is someone checking in/encouraging my spiritual growth?
“Do I Belong?”
Do my opinions count?
Does the mission and purpose of the community make me feel my participation is important?
Are other members of the community committed to spiritual growth?
Aside from my family do I have a friend in the community?
“How can I Grow?”
Has someone checked in (during the last 6 months) on my spiritual growth?
Do I have opportunities to learn and grow?
We think this is a great theme for St. Mark’s because too often “membership” seems to get distilled down to just the Give, and we forget why people seek to Belong. By putting Get first, we acknowledge how important it is that St Marks continue to provide, with hopeful expectation, opportunities for faithful spiritual growth for its members. Our wonderful campus with its new landscape and meeting spaces, the deep and talented pastors, our sacred worship, the music, the good work of commissions and ministry teams and the many programs, are all wonderful gifts that we share with our members With this perspective, Give almost goes without saying. Members are more than willing to give to our community. Spiritual Growth and giving go together. It is so easy in this rich world we live in to forget the spiritual aspects of humanity. Without it we are doomed to an unsatisfying life, no matter our riches. Finally, when we create a community like St Marks, it is easy for people to want to Belong to it. Our growing membership is a testimony to the way that our community benefits from the many great things we provide.
The Get-Give-Belong-Grow theme can be applied to all of our different ministries, missions and groups. How does it apply to your ministry?
As we do our planning for the next year, let’s be intentional in deepening both our faith and our community with this focus as a unifying theme. Let’s grow in faith together and make a difference in our homes, our workplaces and in the wider world.