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What We’re Called to Do During the Next Five Years

Jesus has called us on a journey.  He leads the way.  He calls the shots.  We respond in faith and obedience to Him.  While we don’t have total clarity on every detail we can listen and watch and understand where some of our journey will lead.  This is where I believe the Lord is calling us to go together as a church during the next five years.  Some of it may seem scary but when you stop and think about what we’ve already seen Jesus do in us and through us, I don’t think any of this is improbable or naive.  Some will no doubt think we’re boasting or over-reaching.  Please understand that we at Zion do not believe we will single-handedly do any of this.  But we believe that Jesus will use us to get it started and bring people together.  Thanks for reading.  God bless you.  PJ

 

What We’re Called to Do During the Next Five Years (2016-2021)

This is what we believe God has in store for us in the next five years:

 

1.)  We believe we are called to the racial reconciliation of our city.   Ours is a unique church.  We are very diverse.  We are multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, diverse educationally, economically and socially.  Currently, we enjoy an excellent reputation in our community as a place that exemplifies the best of what followers of Jesus can be.  We also have many good relationships with pastors of African American churches.  I believe we have the relational currency to host a dialog about race in our city that can start small and grow into something even bigger. 

 

How will we do this?: 

a.)  By leveraging our current cross cultural relationships to participate.

b.)  By hosting dialogs and conversations.

c.)  By showing up to events hosted by African American churches in our city.

d.)  By joining the Ministerial Alliance (formerly the Black Ministerial Alliance).

e.)  By the strategic use of the Zion One Body Fund (an instrument by which we can bless other churches).

f.)   By continuing to worship together across cultural boundaries.

g.)  By future strategic staffing.  

 

2.)  We believe we are called to be a place for civil discourse in our city.  We can hardly talk to each other.  Our society is so bitterly divided between right and left, conservative and liberal, democrat and republican.  We need to be able to talk about issues as they relate to God’s Word.  Whether that is race, abortion, gay marriage, immigration or anything else.  The Church can be this kind of place because we believe in reconciliation and forgiveness.  Because we believe that love conquers all and that forgiveness is the answer.  We need to bring this to the rest of our society.

 

How will we do this?:

a.)  By leveraging what we hope will be our successful commitment to racial reconciliation (above).

b.)  By continuing to host interfaith dialogs and build on these.

c.)  By hosting Q Commons events (see  http://qcommons.com).

 

3.)  We believe we are called to the alleviation of poverty in our city.  Oh, it’s a magnificent claim but we believe it can be done.  Why?  Because we’ve seen our families come alongside immigrant and refugee families and change the course of their lives.  We’ve seen this church come alongside people groups, incorporate them and we’ve seen entire people groups elevated because of it.  Our Chin-Mizo people have a certain reputation among the Burmese population.  That reputation is that they succeed.  Why?  Because they have help and because they help each other.  Our Mizo members are buying houses at an amazing rate.  And not just here in Lower Beaver or Meredith Drive neighborhoods,  but also in Urbandale.  Hickory Lane in Urbandale has six new Mizo families living in grand houses.  Why?   Because together we can work toward the  elimination of poverty by the elevation of the family.    We absolutely believe that what we’ve learned in working with immigrants and refugees will work with the urban core, should we choose to engage.  So, please, let us engage together.

 

How will we do this?:

a.)  By continuing our efforts to encourage home ownership.  10:30 Swahili service is an excellence place to focus. 

b.)  By continuing our efforts to encourage higher levels of education through our relationships in the STARS program. 

c.)  By hitting the problem of fatherlessness head on. 

d.)  By organizing men’s ministry in at risk communities within our city.

e.) By celebrating the heck out of graduations.

f.)  By finding a way to connect our kids with scholarships already available.

g.)  By participating in The United Way’s Walk for Graduation event. 

 

4.)  We are called to be a sending church.  This means we need to equip our people to go out.  It also means we need to prepare to go to other churches and teach them what we’ve learned about trusting God.  It also may mean that in the next five years we will be ready to plant another church.

  • We have something to share with other churches. It’s time to share with others what God has done at Zion.  Time to encourage and equip others to step out in faith. Our teaching isn’t arrogant, it’s simply a testimony about what God has done. 
  • We believe that God wants to amplify what He’s been doing at Zion. We believe we are called to teach other churches how to advance the kingdom of God. We believe Zion is at the forefront of leading a New Reformation in our region.  We understand that many will misunderstand this.   What do we mean by it?

 

We do hard things at Zion.  Not once in a while, but routinely - really, if we’re honest, every week.  Don’t you want to be part of a church that does hard things?  Isn’t that why you’re here? 

 

We do hard things like reconciliation and forgiveness. 

Like helping the poor and the least of these.

Like helping those others have tossed over the side because they are unloving and disrespectful.

Like working across cultural and linguistic and generational and class lines.

 

We, together, at Zion, understand that it isn’t about whether or not you like the songs we sing or what kind of show we put on on Sunday mornings - it’s about the joy of knowing you’re living the Jesus Life Monday through Sunday and the love we have for our Master and for each other and for the people of the world that Jesus so longs to save.

 

Together, we can teach other churches how to sacrifice themselves for Jesus - how to offer themselves up as a fragrant offering.  The Church is the only institution known to man whose founder died so that others might live.  That is our calling.  To imitate Him, Jesus, and die to ourselves so that others might live.

 

History may never remember the name of Zion Church.  But what if we gave ourselves  up so that every church in this city might die to self, consider other’s worthy of greater respect, and so that Jesus might be elevated? 

 

How will this happen?:

a.)  We’ve had so much media attention in 2016, sooner or later the invitations will come. People will ask us to come and share our experiences.

b.)  People will come to us who want to learn.  It isn’t that we want to impose ourselves on anyone, what we’re saying is that people see the kingdom here and want to know how it happened.

c.)  Pastor John has been asked to be on a panel at the 2017 LCMC National Gathering in Minneapolis and do a break out session on Zion’s ministry. 

 

5.) We believe we are called to the eradication of loneliness in our neighborhoods. Mother Teresa called loneliness the poverty of the developed world.  I think there are many lonely people in our midst.  And the church, together, can visit them, talk to them, make them feel that they are valued and belong like no other institution on earth.  So I’m calling you, anyone who feels passionately about this, to come with us and visit the lonely.  Help them in their isolation.  Not for what they can give to us but for what we can give to them - the Good News of Jesus Christ.  We believe at Zion that you need to feel you belong before you can believe.  This has worked for us with the Muslims and the Buddhists and the animists and with the unbelievers.  We believe it will certainly work with the the lonely, the forgotten, the isolated.  But we need to go and seek them out. 

 

How will this happen?:

a.) Through the identification of lonely people and the effort of going to befriend them where they are.  How do you identify lonely people?  Begin by asking people who know them. 

 

6.)  We believe that one day we will have a combined board structure, that will incorporate the different services into one leadership structure.  We could be 5-10 years away from this, but we believe it is our future and the things we do today are moving us down the path toward what will be complete unity. 

 

How will this happen?:

a.)  New bylaws will give us the flexibility to better represent different language groups at Zion.  New bylaws will also encourage the merging of existing leadership structure to give better communication and accountability. 

 

7.) We believe we will have new bylaws.  We need bylaws that support the mission we’re on and that are flexible enough to address future changes without holding us back. 

 

How will this happen?:

a.)  Through lots of prayer and an examination of the ministry we do and how our structures and procedures should be adjusted to further the growth of the ministry.  It will be a process with plenty of time and space for congregational feedback. 

 

8.) There will be a new staff organizational structure and new employees.

We are growing and changing all the time and we need to reorganize ourselves in order to further the mission and ministry of Zion.  This also means bringing some new people on board.

 

How will this happen?:

a.)  See attached new organizational chart. 

b.) God will bring the right people and the right structure.  A call committee is being organized to look for the best candidates possible.

 

9.)  We believe we must actively pursue a way of doing ministry that doesn’t lead to ministry being dependent upon one person or personality.   It’s time to raise up and empower and equip and release leaders to continue the work of the ministry so that the loss of one person (like Pastor John or others) won’t cripple our ministry and keep us from moving forward. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  More connections need to be made between ministry leaders and staff at Zion. Relationships need to be made and ownership needs to be taken.

b.)  More people need to own the vision of Zion.

c.)  We need to teach our values for decision making to the entire congregation.

d.)  The ministry at Zion needs to be connected to Scriptural reference and to the gospel.

 

10.)  We believe we will launch Des Moines’ first  mobile ESL classroom.  We have a lovely trailer in the parking lot which we could renovate into a classroom.  It would be Des Moines’ first mobile ESL classroom and would provide access to those who can’t leave their apartment complexes. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  The trailer is already in our parking lot and could be ours for just a few thousand.

b.)  A little planning and removing of walls needs to be done.

c.)  We have good relationships with apartment management and could park the classroom in several different apartment complexes regularly for class.

d.)  We need a truck to pull it. 

e.)  We need a teacher to teach. 

 

11.)  We believe that in the next five years, STARS will become so popular among kids that we will be able to plant it in other churches around the city.

  • This is part of what it means to be a sending church.

 

How will this happen?

a.)  By finding the right partner churches.  Westminster is asking to join us now.  But some standard needs to be considered when encountering partners.  Are you willing to graciously receive the kids? 

 

12.)  We believe that we will ascertain if there is a need to build anything more on our current campus in the next five years.  If our current ministry continues to grow, we know we will need more space.

 

How will this happen?

a.)  In order to prepare for that we need to commission a campus plan.  The estimated cost will be between $6,000-$10,000. 

 

13.)  We believe that within the next five years we will have a sustainable funding plan in place for Zion’s operating budget.   This is a tall order but it’s necessary.  We need to continue to develop funding sources outside our own congregation and even outside our own community.  We need to do this without compromising our faith or values but we need to have a plan. 

 

How will this happen?

a).  First, by analyzing our current expenses and revenue sources.  There is much we’re learning as we see the numbers and understand from where they’re coming.

b.)  By maximizing our good will in the community to raise funds.

c.)  By understanding what we can ask the community to help us fund and what we need to fund ourselves. 

d.)  By developing a donor base for those outside of Zion and trying to develop it into a continuing revenue source.

e.) By exploring new ways of making it easy to give to Zion (like i-pads in the lobby with Square device). 

f.)  By putting more effort and thought into the seasons and means by which we ask the congregation for money.  In other words, by being smarter about stewardship. 

 

14.)  We believe that in the next five years we will have trained another level of pastoral and lay ministry leadership for Zion and a future church plant.  We have wonderful interns who are ready to lead and have wonderful skills.  We have amazing lay people who are anxious to take the next step.  We need to keep on raising up layers of leaders to lead our congregation into the future God has prepared for us.  People at Zion are eager to help and an amazing number of them are engaged in the ministry of the church (65% of able bodied adult members).  But few wish to go to board meetings.  Many think that it will damage their experience of Zion because they believe boards are political and politics in the church is bad.  We need to be looking for our next BSO president and BOA chair and raising up people who can handle the necessary “political” activity to keep us functioning. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  We need to develop a solid and repeatable internship program.

b.)  We need to develop a solid process for developing leaders.  This fits very well with our stated objective to develop a way of making disciples at Zion. 

c.)  Development of these leaders will also help us with a future multi-cultural church plant. 

d.)  Reintroduce the Biblical concept of eldership as a leadership model.  Preach and teach about it so that it isn’t intimidating. 

e.)  Discover the spiritual gifts of our congregation. 

 

15.)  We believe that within the next five years we will develop a new dashboard that will become the way we measure whether or not we are succeeding at Zion.

This is another hard task.  It will require a lot of reflection.  But we want to avoid the mistakes of the past where we came to rely too much on numbers of people and money.  Our first measure should be whether or not we are faithful to what God wants.  How do we measure whether or not we are making disciples even if it means that attendance is down or giving is down?  Over the last years we have discovered that being faithful to God doesn’t necessarily lead to more people or more money.  It leads to more ministry.  If the ministry is growing, we will always be short of people and financial resources.  What should be the indicators we track? 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  We need to develop a way of making sure that the entire Zion community hear’s the miraculous stories those who work here hear on a daily basis. 

 

16.)  In the next five years we will have a clear method and procedure for making disciples.  We know that we will need to try many things but for now we will begin with triads, groups of three meeting together and encouraging each other to grow in what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  The triads will be encouraged to multiply. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  Zion is partnering with INSTE Bible College in Ankeny to provide on site discipleship training via a certificate program.  The two year program is extremely thorough in teaching on discipleship, Christian living, apologetics, and Bible.  We’ll be ready to start this program in the Fall of 2017.  The program will offer education in Zion’s multi-cultural context (that means they’ll be people there from different cultures and races).  This will help to strengthen and grow our mutual faith.  The program also provides accountability for those who might otherwise drift away from a small group or Bible study. 

 

17.)  Over the next five years we will find a way to consolidate our way of thinking and assure that our ministry and methodology will continue beyond our generation.  This is why it’s important for us to agree upon and teach our congregation our mission, vision and values.  This is also why our pastoral leadership plan is so important and why our new bylaws will be significant.  If the way we do things changes every time we change board members or pastors, we will have no stability in our ministry.   The future of the ministry at Zion isn’t truly secure until the congregation itself completely understands what we do and why. 

 

How will this happen?
a.)  We need to spend some time every year teaching about our unique mission, vision and values.  These are things that God has given specifically to Zion and need to become a part of our DNA. 

 

18.)  We believe in the next five years we will begin the habit of having an annual youth and an annual adult conference involving all the people of Zion.   These are cross cultural events and the first is being planned. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  By forming teams of Congolese, Mizo, English service attenders and others to plan and execute the events. 

 

19.)  We believe that over the next five years we will worship together at least as much as we worship separately.    We already worship now on the second Sunday together as well as other major events and holidays.  People seem to embrace this and so we move forward into the future together as one people becoming one church.

 

How will this happen?

a.)  We believe there will be a desire to worship together twice monthly from the youth of the Zion community. 

 

20.)  In the next five years we will find a way to meet the need we see in our ministry for transitional housing.  There are so many who have no secure housing.  They live month by month because of other problems in their lives.  If we cold make their housing secure it would give us the opportunity to help them with the cause of the insecurity in their lives.  This is the best way to keep people off the streets, help them transition from the streets for good, and move from financial insecurity to financial security.

 

How will this happen?

a).  Miraculously and without warning.  God will provide us a place. 

 

21.)  We believe that in the next five years we will have a global missions team that will work together to further our enormous work abroad.  Things would be so much easier if we worked together to raise funds and draw on current resources in order to finance our work abroad.  We realize that most of our work abroad is a result of our work with people locally in the Zion community.  Perhaps all our oversees workers could be brought together to do one major fund raiser a year that would sustain our work abroad.  Such an arrangement would not curtail fundraising outside the congregation but would simplify our fundraising work within the congregation and bring unity among the diversity of missionaries we support.  Such a plan would also elevate some of the burdens of planning and fundraising currently done by staff at Zion. 

 

How will this happen?

a.)  It begins with coming together and getting all parties to buy-in. 

 

I believe we can do these things.  We nay not be people with extraordinary abilities but we are people with extraordinary opportunities.  and who choose to engage those opportunities in Jesus‘ Name with what abilities we have trusting that the Lord will provide all that is needed for us to succeed in His Name. 

 

Posted by John Kline with

Ramblings about God, the Church and Everything.

  • after Jesus’ own heart, 
  • with relevant, Bible based teaching,
  • with passionate and authentic worship,
  • of prayer,
  • with a heart for our city and the world,
  • where the love of our Lord is evident in the way we live and minister together. 

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