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Prior Blogs by Pastor Leigh Ann

Gap Team Meeting Notes-February 2018 Moving Forward in the Spirit

Gap Team Meeting Notes-February 2018 ~ Moving Forward in the Spirit

Retreat Feedback
– Energized and excited people
– Some asked when are we going to actually do something?! Took opportunity to teach
– People who want to build excited to move forward
– Some heard from others that process was too quick-remind them vote won’t happen
until ministry plan is ready
– We are exactly in right spot-some said too quick, some say too low
– UMW visited Christ Church Ministry Center to learn about how to be a ministry center
Fast Forward to the Future
(Consultant Mary invited us to imagine our best version of UMC Vista 10 years in the future)
– Campus so busy that we had to meet at Oggi’s for our meeting because even with
new addition it is too busy for us to meet
– Vista Ministry Center has community garden, feeding programs, clothes closet and is
expanding with preschool, transitional housing
– Expanded music ministry with expanded spaces for music and practices and
equipments, expanded education preschool-senior adults, homeless services,
expanded kitchen, expanded membership of all ages, beacon of Christ’s inclusive
love for all -beacon in the North County
– Partnering with organizations to support their work so that we are not duplicating
services, our big building utilized by community groups, we need to provide a kitchen
and other facility pieces to serve their needs, facility manager and a community
collaboration person who connects with these community groups strategically to
handle requests
– Family Ministry Center with preschool and services to young families, faith-based
classes with staffing involved and to help us coordinate these partnerships, someone
to head discipleship to make sure we grow the church as we do these big things
– The kids we have now will be older teens and college age, we should have a college
ministry, LGBTQ youth served now reaching out to others, coffee shops on site open
at 6am for commuters
– Two story addition because we needed extra classrooms because we have become a
canter for peace studies in Southern California with guest speakers, covering all
topics regarding tolerance and understanding-church respected internationally for this
mission, our young people teaching the classes
– Leading an ecumenical group, regional alliance of agencies serving the
disadvantaged in North County through collaboration, we lead the effort to bring other
churches in North County into a similar relationship
– Community efforts we can pair up with to help them meet their goal, we can fill
leadership gaps, a combination internal and external partnership, by becoming the
hub we reduce duplication of services in community, wasted resources
– Creating a spirit that invites these groups to come to us to be the hub – a place for
people who want to help, but don’t know what to do to help yet
– That we will be an avenue for community solutions-our discipleship, our faith lead us
to this place-strong identity for this work
– That this group will use these visions to develop the bare bones of the building, the
skeleton to accommodate this vision
– Bless all those going out into service in the community each week at the end of each
worship service-we want too many people up front to be able to bless them, we want
this challenge
– We want to maintain our identity as the United Methodist Church of Vista, let’s not
lose who we are in the midst of getting bigger-keeping our purpose and vision at the
center, stay focused on our call and what we do
– Design our celebrations around our common purpose and vision, large complex
organizations that thrive keep their purpose as their focus
– Our new building should offer space for us to have Bible Study and fellowship
– All recommendations should include staffing plan to keep it moving & coordinated
– How do we maximize our space and our visibility in our vision, all these visions and
dreams are possible in this space and our future spaces

Unifying Dreams and Visions

(Consultant Mary asked us to look over the visions & dreams collated over this last year and look for themes that are emerging.)
– At next meeting we will take these pieces and prioritize items in Year 1, Year 3,
even Years 5-10, and/or decide what pieces aren’t God’s highest call for us
– Where do you see unifying dreams and visions on these lists?
– Ministry Center ideas
– Involved membership, integrations with Ministry Center
– Free accessible centers with wifi where people don’t have to pay to use it or
purchase anything, a welcoming and supportive and safe church space
– We have to know what makes us special and name it and make sure it fits our
– Ministries we are offer are for our community and members, our rooms would
have multiple resources and purposes and adaptable flexibility
– Helping people who want to serve others along their journey
– Outreach to the homeless and outreach to children, we appear to want to do, we
have to determine how to do both and do it safely and do it well, we already have
Boy Scouts and homeless on Thursdays and incidents have occurred that have
required the deputies coming-how are we going to minister to all safely
– Leveraging our human resources with other organizations that need our help
– How do we feed and house and educate and employ homeless persons, a full
program that fills the haps and truly transforms their lives
– Discerning how to have both ministries safely and utilizing the community
– What roads lead us back and forth between service and community as people of
the UMC of Vista, keeping our name on everything we do and offer
– How can we help single dads with kids who have no role models for fatherhood
– Don’t underestimate the power of relationships, offering a non-judgmental
presence in the community is a powerful thing
– We need to build in flexibility for what is to come, what does this look like in the
future as housing costs continue to increase, adaptability to serve future
generations, we need to be mindful of flexibility in all we do
– Skeleton of adaptability for facility and ministry moving forward
– We need to be careful about building a kitchen that is flexible and reasonable
and not overly commercial, adaptability in a changing world
– Communication and the welcoming aspect of church, more social media and
advertising and video outreach
– Better and reliable spaces for staff to work and have confidential spaces for
Review of Current Goals and Progress
– Expand Missional Outreach to Young Families
– Shifting our cable process to include congregation and trying to invite all families
into participation including Two Fishes
– How do we communicate to the congregation how much we are getting done?
– Expand And Two Fishes with an additional health component-not done
– Contemporary Music Musician-Adam stepping in at first service to assess whether or
not it is a fit and to add some diversity in leadership
– Expanding concert arts offering to community-not done
– Commitment to transparency and communication
– we need to expand our informal communication, a positive buzz and energy
– Continue to assess kitchen need-not done
– Plan for community education
– Faith education classes expanding
– Interfaith housing network-not currently hosting because we lack the facilities
– Mission and outreach focus continues

– Pray about this information, God’s dreams & visions for UMC Vista connect with ours
– Joy down pieces you think are missing
– Work towards clarity on 1-3 and 5-10 year dreams so we can get the ministry plan in
place to inform our building planning
– Stay engaged with this information, think about it actively and talk with your friends
and your informal network
In-Home Small Group Gatherings
– Hopes and Dreams
– That everyone will come and share their questions and ideas
– Everybody will invest thoughts in them
– That we will get participation from larger congregation
– That kids will have an opportunity to brainstorm and dream
– That we bridge the gap between communicating the process that doesn’t inhibit
input from participants
– Engage younger families with older people, mix groups
– Sunday morning opportunity for people who can’t make weekdays
– Offer opportunities to hear each other in these gatherings so congregation hears
from itself so they know we are implementing their actual vision
– Make sure all sites are accessible, at least one at church for those concerned
about going to a home or accessibility
– Pair up hosts and limit each gathering to one hour from when you start; child care
matters (which house is best for children’s activities); wait until all who have
registered are there; keep hospitality simple; limit social time before gathering,
save any big food until the end


(Suggested Agenda at Each Gathering Consultant Mary will work with Pastor Leigh Ann & Council Chair Beth to clarify Talking Points and outline a basic “script” for reach in-home gathering.)
– Opening Prayer
– Introductions/Brief Get Acquainted
– Listening Session
– Going Over Talking Points and Answering Questions
Talking Points Conversation
– Big picture vision first before we get to little picture
– Let people know what we have accomplished so far and what we are working on
– Ministry Plan is primary – will lead to building, staffing, and funding plans
– We are looking into the future-the future of where we are called as a church
– Task Force (Building Inspiration Team – now the GAP Team) originally formed to look
into the building, but have gone deeper into bigger visions and purpose
– This is your church and we want to know from you where you want us to go
– This is your church and we want to hear from you; your ideas and perspectives matter
– We’ve done a lot of work and are now testing it out
– We’re close to a conclusion on the facility, we have personal conclusions, but we are
not ready to commit the church until we hear from everyone and we will carry your
information on to our full Gap Team
– Be honest about what you each think about the scenario if asked, but make it clear
we are building to a bigger communal vision and that we are working it together
– How to address funding questions/concerns
• There are multiple options to fund building – Cable Fund, capital campaign, loan;
there are many ways, but we aren’t in that conversation yet. If we get to that point,
we will address it with transparency, fiscal responsibility, & careful consideration.
• If you don’t know: “I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’ll take it down and
find someone who has the answer”


Church STOP


Lent is the season of repentance and preparation for Easter.  We confess our life fails and reboot our heart because Jesus offered his life for us, because he loved and loves us.  Lent is a season of cleaning out for a new start.  We do this work during Lent in order to grow closer to God. 

I wonder if the Church, as a Church community should also be honest about our fails and clear our heart-space to get a clean start in Easter.  I assume here that you know the church messes up from time to time and needs forgiveness just as much (maybe more) than individuals (you and me).  If this is news to you, I’m not sure where you’ve been or if you missed that history class in school.  Over the millennia, the Christian church has messed up a lot and certainly needs to repent for the ways in which we’ve done harm.  Without getting into a historic diatribe about Christian failure, I wonder if there are specific ways we, at UMC Vista, could do a little Lenten work to heal some of these relationships right now. 

Here are 5 things that Rev. Ben Gosden, an associate pastor at Mulberry St. UMC in Georgia, says that the church could quit doing for Lent and start healing relationships and growing closer to God as a community of faith.  1) Stop working people to death.  Is it time to quit expecting church members to attend 3 to 5 committees a month and free up time for families to study and pray together?  If we reduced the church work load, perhaps we could offer rest time or service time for getting outside the walls of church to do the work of God in the world.  2) Stop viewing visitors, especially young families, as investments for the future of our church.  We do it all the time.  Folks come and we view them as a potential worker-bee for our future.  Maybe we could stop viewing visitors as people who could give the church something, and start connecting them with new faith friends and grow joyful relationships. 

3) Stop thinking young clergy are the key to bringing in younger members.  Young clergy have energy, but they shouldn’t been expected to carry the burden of being a magnet for young people.  It’s the job of the whole congregation to engage and welcome families.  And if a more mature pastor is your leader, maybe stop giving them the guilt of not being a young adult anymore.  4) Stop being so inwardly focused.  Yes, yes, we watch over one another with love and affection.  We are the incubator of faith but Jesus was all about getting out and getting around to the ones in need.  So, the carpet needs to not be a trip hazard, AND we need to get out and about to share faith and offer Jesus-like compassion.  5) Stop being petty.  We don’t mean to be but churches can be mean and petty and just cruel to one another.  Because the symbols of our faith and our investment in our activities mean so much to us, sometimes churchy folks are a little less than receptive to change or new ways of being.  Maybe the church shouldn’t be treated like Fort Knox but more like the test ground for regenerative joy! 

I didn’t make these 5 things up and I’m not saying they are all on point.  But perhaps this is a starting list for thinking about what the church should stop doing during Lent.  Perhaps we shouldn’t just tell each other and people outside our walls to ‘give something up’ for Lentmaybe we should consider, as a Faith Community, what we should ‘give up’ for Lent.  For more on this check out Ministry Matters online and the article 5 Things The Church Should Stop For Lent.  What would you add to the list, as we seek a new relationship with God and all of Creation? 

God Bless you today and everyday! 

Pastor Leigh Ann