Pt. 1 — Long Range Planning

In 2022, we established a Long-Range Planning Team (LRPT). Why did we do this? As your Senior Pastor, I felt we needed a team to analyze the existing facilities and the use of our campus, interview ministry departments and stakeholders, and make recommendations about updating and repurposing our facilities. There are different areas on our campus that are getting worn out and looking tired. We have great bones, but we need updating and repurposing to fit how we utilize the campus. (For example: Sanctuary bathrooms, parking lot, additional school playground, pew material, and HVAC systems.)

The LRPT is an advisory team, not a decision-making team. What does that mean? This team will bring recommendations to the Core Leadership Team and the entire congregation. The LRPT will do the extensive work of research and communication needed to create a master plan with an architectural firm.  The team has been looking for the best way to engage our ministry areas and congregants to receive your hopes and desires. After some reflection, we realized most architectural firms use a process to engage the congregation and gather information. So, last summer, we started meeting with potential architects to engage in a new Master Plan for our existing campus. This plan would not be to build more buildings but update, repurpose, and finish off our current campus in light of current needs. We also need help to navigate a growing school ministry and our everyday needs as a neighborhood church.

The LRPT took a break as JWUMC became JWMC. On May 2, the team invited our two architecture firms to again present their services. By the end of the evening, the LRPT unanimously selected Merriman, Holt, and Powell as the firm to recommend to the Core Leadership Team (CLT) to hire for JWMC. Your CLT approved the recommended selection at it’s May 8 meeting and CLT member and LRPT Chair Dick Francis will sign the contract. The firm begin to facilitate a process of engaging the congregation, digesting feedback and ideas, and guiding the LRPT through a master plan to present to the congregation. This process will take about 5 to 6 months once it starts. You will begin to hear more about your opportunities to engage in the process and share your ideas.

Here are the current tasks for the Long-Range Planning Team for 2023:

• Interview and recommend an architectural firm to hire: The firm will provide an analysis of the existing facilities and site as it relates to feasibility and reconfiguration of existing spaces and any potential future expansions, site amenities, plus prioritize needs with a timeline and estimated prices. This analysis will include receiving input from all membership, leadership, staff, and ministry areas of JWMC.

• Explore Solutions & Advise: After receiving the creative solutions from the architectural firm, 
discussion and recommend decisions to be made on prioritizing maintenance needs, upgrades, and/or repurposing of the spaces.

• Create a presentation with the architects to propose next steps: The team will present the LRP to the Core Leadership Team for input and discussion.

• Share the presentation: The LRPT will share the presentation with the congregation and get more input from members. The architects will continue to refine the plan before finalizing.

• Communicate with the Finance Team: Consider debt reduction or expansion of debt and the financial feasibility of funding.

• Communicate with the Trustee Team: Explain findings of analysis, creative solutions, and other important findings.

• Communicate with the JWMC congregation: With the help of the architects, the LRPT will make a presentation to the congregation of final recommendations in the plan.

The team and I believe these are exciting times in the life of John Wesley Church. We find ourselves in a new place as an independent Wesleyan Methodist church. Our future needs to be strategic, well thought out, and structured to meet the needs of all our current and future ministries. We will be establishing a link on our webpage to help members and guest keep up with the work of the LRPT and architects.

Please join us for the Church Conference on May 21. We will be recognizing the LRPT in order for you to know who to share thoughts or need with on the subject of long range planning.

In Christ,

Rev. Dr. Marty Dunbar