Ministry Action Plan
Ministry Action Plan Of Epworth United Methodist Church
Together we can build a bridge to a future of vitality and growth.
“You will be prosperous and successful. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Beginning in the fall of 2012 the newly formed Vision Team started its work to assess the ministry of Epworth UMC and to create a vision for the future of its ministry. Using Doug Ruffle’s book Roadmap to Renewal the team studied and discussed the many aspects of Epworth and its ministries. In the summer of 2013 the team circulated a survey to the congregation that explored their thoughts, feelings and desires. Using those results and other information the Vision Team has created the Ministry Action Plan (MAP) that is being presented here.
Purpose of MAP 2013
The purpose of the MAP is to provide our congregation and the church leadership with a summary of the goals of the church and a vision of the future. This will provide guidance and reference as the church grows and undertakes new directions and initiatives of service. This plan is a living document and will need to be updated and modified on a periodic basis. The plan is submitted to the congregation and leadership as a step in the ongoing process of meeting the needs of today and assuring the vision of tomorrow.
Our church is dedicated to welcoming all and developing relationships with one another and with Jesus Christ. Our church family provides support and caring for all its members. We are concerned for the community and making a difference in the lives of others in the name of Jesus Christ. The congregation of Epworth United Methodist Church comes from the tri-boro area as well as Burlington and Camden County. Our congregation of about 320 members is made up of a full spectrum of ages and family situations. We have 69 people over 70 years of age.
- Of the approximately 90 persons that make up the 50-69 age group, 33% are not active in the life of the church community.
- We have 57 people in the 30-49 age range and about 40% are inactive.
- Our 94 young adults range from 18-29 years old and about 66% are not active.
- Our 27 youth range from age 11-17 and we have 30 children in our church community ranging from infants to age 10.
MissionInsite is a group that gathers information from the US Census and other sources. It has studied the local demographics for the community that surrounds our church. Some highlights from that data are as follows: The population for the area studied is approximately 21,000.
- Average age is 42 years old. 31% are over 55 years old
- Average household income is $93,000 (often with dual incomes).
- One fifth are single parent households.
- 15% are “non-Anglo” ethnicity.
- 10-year population growth is estimated at about 10 percent.
- There are 14 houses of worship in the immediate area
- 51% consider themselves as “spiritual” yet only 22% find it important to attend religious services
Our Christian Roots
For over 160 years, the members of our church have built what we have today. While there has been inspired pastoral leadership, then as now, it has been the people of the church who have decided to build and support the church in service to the triboro community. We must continue to strive to not only minister to our church family but go beyond the walls to serve the community in which we live.
Our Vision for Epworth Church
Mission Statement of Epworth Church
Mission Statement of the United Methodist Church
Our Welcoming Statement
“There has never been a more important time for us to focus our ministry on making new disciples, growing vital congregations and engaging in God-sized life transforming mission. As we know, The United Methodist Church, our congregations, our conferences, and our denomination is challenged like never before. In the Greater New Jersey Conference, our challenges became clearer through a study of our historic trends and future projections.
We found that over the last 10 years
- Worship attendance declined by 20%
- Professions of faith declined by 34%
- Shared ministry collection rate declined 6%
- Baptisms declined from 3,321 to 1,882
Epworth is well positioned to meet the challenge laid before us. We have strong leadership that is dedicated to the ministry. We have established missions that reach beyond our doors and our own membership. Our financial situation is stable and we are meeting our financial obligations. We have a well maintained facility that allows us to meet virtually any missional or ministry need. Our congregation seems to be willing to embrace change that promotes growth. With God’s help, we are well equipped to reach out to make new disciples for Jesus Christ.
How do we proceed?
The ministry of Epworth UMC is a matter that we must commit to as a congregation and yet also as individuals. As Mordacai said to his niece, Esther, as they faced difficult times, “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14b Consider that God has gathered each of us from around the globe, literally, to be in this place at this moment. How will we respond? The greatest threats to us as a congregation are complacency, apathy and self-satisfaction.
Our Individual Ministry
Individually, we need to
- Support our ministries and help create new ones
- Nurture our children in the life of the church
- Practice extravagant generosity
- Invite others to join us in worship, mission and fellowship
- Pray for the future of our church
- Share our faith with others by our words and actions
Five Areas of Congregational Ministry
Our congregational life together can be broken down into several key areas. These include Christian Hospitality, Nurture, Worship, Discipleship and Outreach.
1-2 Year Goals
- To develop a communications team that will continue to improve our church and community outreach.
- To continue to work to be more visible in the community through attractive signage and media presence, working to reach beyond the walls.
- To continue to provide and further develop a variety of social and fellowship events for different age levels as well as multi-generational audiences.
- To develop a system for welcoming guests that goes beyond their initial visit to Epworth.
- To continue the efforts of the Hospitality Team in creating and maintaining a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
- To become more intentional about inviting others into our midst.
- To become a congregation that incorporates and equips guests into the body of Christ.
Ministry Coordinators: Debbie & Bryan Campion, Donna Unddercuffler
1-2 Year Goals Immediate Goals
- To re-establish a Congregational Care Team that can: Administer the sacrament of communion in homes and hospitals to those who are unable to attend services in the church.
- To oversee the scheduling of in-home visits with shut-ins and others needing visits. Visits are to be made at least every two months with phone calls made between visits. A record of visits shall be kept in the church office.
- To provide educational opportunities designed to train volunteers to become part of the team.
- To create opportunities for discussion on various topics such as nutrition, parenting, grief and other assorted health issues. The Parish Nurse should be considered a vital resource in this area.
Ministry Coordinators – Worship team
1-2 Year Goals
- To develop worship services that are creative, passionate, engaging and spiritual using multi-media, music, drama, variety of sermon topics, guest speakers, and seasonal worship aids. Congregational feed-back is to be solicited.
- To expand the music program to involve a variety of styles, children’s groups, soloists & ensembles.
- To work on increasing worship attendance by 5% each year. This is to done by: Implementing a welcoming system for our guests.
- Being intentional in inviting other to be with us.
- Utilizing the full extent of communications and various media.
- To track attendance of worshippers and follow up on those who are absent
- To continually evaluate the full Sunday worship experience including coffee hour and Sunday School schedules for effectiveness and acceptance.
- To explore the need for additional worship experiences, both during special times or seasons of the year and on an ongoing basis.
Ministry Coordinators: Janet Neff & Vicki O’Brien
1-2 Year Goals
- To involve at least 50% of the congregation in classes or small groups.
- To provide an in-depth, relevant range of Christian education experiences and studies for adults. We should be intentional in varying time, day, and length of studies.
- To provide a comprehensive, sustainable educational program for children that includes Sunday morning classes, worship, special events and mission projects, and participation in the life of the church.
- To establish youth ministry that incorporates confirmation, mission work, church service projects, Sunday School, youth fellowship, worship involvement and fund-raising—nurturing relationships among the youth and with their adult mentors, and growing personal relationships with God.
- To develop a diverse music program for all ages and especially for children with occasional in-church performance experiences.
- To lead events for all ages throughout the year on at least a quarterly basis.
- To invite members of our congregation and community to participate in classes and small groups.
1-2 Year Goals
- To involve more volunteers of all ages in mission/outreach work.
- To develop adult mission opportunities.
- To provide direct support to the Bread of Life Food Pantry and Mary’s Closet and other church related missions.
- To increase church participation in local missions.
- To utilize the full extent of our church facility.
- To work to be a “green” church.
- To invite members of our larger community as well as members of our congregation to participate in our outreach project
Some of these ministries listed below have been long standing while others are fairly recent. Each may have its own mission, function and leadership. The following chart illustrates where these supporting ministries relate to the five larger categories of ministry. We recognize that some groups may fit into multiple categories.
- Hospitality Team
- Goodtimers Reva Luce
- Young at Heart Anna Mae Magonigal
- Men’s Fellowship
- Prayer Shawls Jo Malessa
- UMW & Circles Reva Luce
- Memorials Joan Schwering
- Parish Nurse Reva Luce
- Bereavement Jean Cook, Eva Schultz
- Music Diane Soper
- Liturgists Bryan Campion
- Scripture Readers Janet Neff
- Acolytes Holly Garemore
- Altar Guild Terry Neas
- Sunday School Sandy Grimes (children)
Dale Neas (adult),
Jeff & Sandy Hancock (adult)
- Youth Group Bill Condit
- Adult Study groups Joy Malessa, Charlie Soper, Jean Cook
- Vacation Bible School Sandy Grimes, Bill Condit
- Bread of Life food pantry Dale Neas
- Mary’s Closet Donna Undercuffler
- Prayer shawls Jo Malessa
- Operation Christmas Child Debbi & Bryan Campion
- Mission Committee Arlene Marshall
- Mission Team Ron Hack
- Lay Leader Janet Neff
- Administrative Council Don Neff
- Finance Dave Roswold
- Vision Team Joe Garemore
- Staff Parish Donna Undercuffler
- Trustees Paul Quattrocchi
- Planned Giving Jean Cook
- Cemetery Joy Malessa
- History Joy Malessa
Creating New Ministries
Do you have an idea for a small group, a new ministry or activity, or a worship innovation? Creative change, growth, and evolution prevent stagnation, and at Epworth we value new ideas and welcome new ministries and ad hoc committees. If an individual or group has ideas for change, innovation, or evolution, let the Administrative Council and /or Vision Team hear about it. If we are to move ahead as a thriving congregation each of us must take an active role.
In addition to the Ministry goals, the Vision team has set the following 1-2 year goals
- 1-2 year goals Establish a consistent and sustainable communications process to provide information and publicity on ministry activities internally and externally
- Identify community needs and requirements through surveys and dialogue with community groups
- Develop a facilities Master Plan to better serve the needs of the community through ministry
- Continue to review and update the MAP as needed.
Role of Ministry Coordinator ~ Drive the Car! Load it up and get going!
- Bring the leaders or chairs of the groups that are part of your area together.
- Accountable for goals – what are we doing or can do to achieve the goals for our area
- Evaluate goals – What have we accomplished? What needs to be changed?
- Coordinator is a member of Ad Council
- Meet with Vision Team as needed
- Meet at least three times a year (March, August, November)