Skip to main content

What Should We Do Next?

Lately, people have been asking me, “What are Salem’s plans for the future?” Although I cannot provide a complete answer to this question right now, I can assure you that Salem’s leadership team is moving forward with a strategic planning process advocated by Mike Ward, an experienced Lutheran pastor, author, and recognized leader in stewardship ministry.

Before rushing to answer the question, “What should we do now?” Ward advises congregations to work through a three-tiered process that identifies: who we are (our core values and identity), why we are here (our mission and purpose), and where God is calling us to go (our goals and vision).

Moving forward, we will begin our strategic planning and visioning process by identifying Salem’s core values. Please join with me at the outset of this important work by praying for the people of Salem, our shared ministries, and the impact our sponsored ministries are making in people’s lives. I also ask you, my mission partners, to observe with the eyes of faith how God is alive and active in our midst. Pay special attention to the gifts that the Holy Spirit has entrusted to our care and listen for the ways that God is calling and equipping us to be the church together.

Strategic planning and visioning require broad community participation and input. The process also requires the humility to admit that “my own observations” may not align with the input received from others. It also requires the honesty to acknowledge the difference between aspirational values (what we hope to be) and the lived reality of Salem’s core values as they are now. Ongoing conversations, widespread community engagement, prayer, and a willingness to listen for understanding are other important components of the strategic visioning and planning process.

As we pay attention to God’s ongoing activity in our lives and our shared ministries, may we always remember that Jesus leads the way, sometimes into unchartered territory or places we never expected to go. The gospels also challenge all who follow Jesus to expect to encounter God in the least likely of places and people — the Samaritans and outcasts, the poor and needy, people crying out for justice and healing, and in our siblings wounded by worldly institutions of power and influence.

So, my fellow mission partners, “What should we do next?”

In Christ’s Peace,
Pastor Jon

Tags: Weekly Word