Wesley Park United Methodist Church
January 21st, 2017
It has been a privilege to work with the Rev. Dean Prentiss, the staff, leaders and congregation of Wesley Park United Methodist Church Wyoming, MI. We appreciate the information that has been provided for us, and all who participated in interviews, workshops, Bible Studies, self-study materials, Mystery Guest Reports, Mission Insite demographic reports, and events related to the Vital Church Initiative (VCI). The consultation team has considered your rich and meaningful heritage and we believe these prescriptions will help you find the way forward. Our prayer is that God will use this report and this process to motivate the congregation to do great things for the Lord’s mission in this community and beyond. Upon acceptance, these prescriptions must be the priority of the pastor and congregation’s time and energy for the next 18-24 months.
Worship is the first portal for most people into the life of the church. In order for worship to be inspirational and meaningful through prayer, music, and Word of God, it must offer quality, clarity of purpose, form and flow that allows “all people” to experience the presence of God. To achieve this, intentional worship planning is crucial. Interviews with staff revealed this is not being done. In watching the worship videos it was not clear which was the contemporary and which was the traditional. Reverend Prentiss wore robes at both services and the style of music and liturgy seemed to be similar. Mystery Guests who attended the 11 am service commented, “The music style was traditional (piano based, live choral performance … even though the music was considered contemporary.”
The consultation team as well as the staff interviews identified that the use of the laity in worship is limited in both services. More diverse voices are needed in worship in order to fully reflect the mission statement of Wesley Park UMC. Additionally, the Mystery Guests rated the speaker and message high, however in our interviews and focus groups we heard a hunger for biblical and spiritual connection through the message on Sunday morning.
Outreach events are not fully leveraged. There is no information gathered that would allow for follow up, invitation, and capitalizing on relationships to intentionally integrate those reached into the life of the congregation. While the church has made some connection to the community through the use of their facility, you have not created a way to develop personal relationships with the unchurched.
Too often staff are not included in regular staff meetings to adjust to changing dynamics that arise and engage in open communication around those programs and each other. The staff is too often left on their own to function like silos unconnected to the whole. The church staff must function like a team to help with congregational mission/vision. We support the Staff Parish Team that has recently begun reviewing and evaluating job expectations toward the end of creating alignment goals and accountability markers for staff.
Rev. Gary Step Lead Consultant
Rev. David Selleck Coach
Rev. LuAnn Rourke Scribe
Rev. Maureen Baker Team
Rev. Colleen Treman Team
Andrea Johnson Team
Town Hall meetings:
February 8, 2017 7:00 p.m.
February 15, 2017 5:00 p.m.
February 19, 2017 2:00 p.m.
Charge Conference: February 26 11:00 a.m.