3D Dream Team Meeting

Caldwell Friends,

This past summer we began our 3D (discuss, discern and dream) process to discern God’s mission for us in the world, to discuss in small groups our individual and collective insights and to dream about what Caldwell Church will be and do in the coming years. Fourteen small groups of members and friends met to discuss various topics and to analyze our current situation and dream about where we might go next as a congregation. There were many insightful comments as well as good ideas in the 3D reports and we are still diving into the particular ideas. This was also a meaningful opportunity to get to know fellow Caldwellians better.

About two months ago a diverse group of 12 Caldwell members called the Dream Team, appointed by the session, began meeting to analyze the information provided from the small groups. We took as our first goal to review the reports and not only reflect on the particular ideas provided but to do our best to try and discern the common themes, attempt to detect the essence of what people shared, to peer deeply and see if there were any fears that were spoken or unspoken and to try and see if there was anything we thought perhaps was missing from the reports. The group has met 4 times – two times with the entire group and two times in small break out groups of three.

The information below is our analysis of the reports. Our next step will be to go back into the reports, recall conversations we’ve had with fellow Caldwell folks, and pull on the group’s collective wisdom and God’s guiding hand to provide a concrete list of immediate, mid-range (1-3 years) and long range (3-5 years) dreams. We will then bring these ideas back to the session and then the congregation in the form of town hall meetings where we can further refine the ideas or perhaps emerge with a consensus around an idea not previously imagined. With the input from the congregation as a whole a final list of recommendations will be taken to the session. No one – not John, Evie, the session, or the Dream Team really knows what is going to come out of these next steps. We are holding out both the possibility that there will be no actionable items and the opposite possibility that there will be amazing and bold ideas that will fill us both with intense fear and great joy at the same time. On behalf of the entire Dream Team I humbly ask for your prayers during this process.

Essence of material – what underlies the comments made

  • Needing to take the many, varied program ideas and distil/gel them into the ideas that best serve the mission of the church.
  • Needing to nurture, protect and support the things that are core to our mission and values
  • Needing to be intentional in choosing programs and using our core values as a lens in determining which programs to choose.
  • Acknowledging that while there were many good ideas from the 3D groups a lot of them were based on our current reality as a congregation. Also while most groups did have dreams included in their reports, that perhaps the format of the Caldwell 3D groups did not push the groups sufficiently.
  • A tension/edginess/messiness in standing as a social justice church but a deep desire to do so.
  • The group identified a few items that make Caldwell “Caldwell” and plan to use these as areas to focus ideas around. Please note the similarity to our mission statement.
    • Christ centered – with an emphasis on individual faith formation.
    • Being a hospitable, welcoming, inclusive, respectful, accepting, healing, & compassionate community
    • Diversity in many forms
    • Joyful, blended worship including the gospel choir
    • Building deep relationships that feed spiritual journeys
    • Mission and social justice orientated – particularly willing to serve alongside and stand with those who are or perceive themselves to be at the margins of our society. Willing to provide community leadership in these areas.
  • Needing to take seriously our call to nurture, teach and support children and youth.
  • The congregation’s willingness to take risks
  • Needing to have balance in many areas and in particular between outward and inward focus.

Common Themes – items seen in multiple reports

  • A desire for building deep relationships
  • Diversity as a strength/blessing to be nurtured
  • Caldwell as a safe place/nurturing/healing
  • Desire to create youth programs/offerings that are sustainable
  • Balanced use of campus space for the congregation’s needs and in ministry to others.
  • We are on a journey—all at different places in the journey
  • Providing a lot of choices for people – value of variety in options
  • Support for parents and families (especially families with young children)
  • Accessibility/Transportation as areas where we need focus
  • Hunger for more spiritual/faith formation
  • Opportunity to connect with the hospitals
  • The recurring question: Who are our neighbors?
  • A desire to balance how we keep familiar and loved elements of our worship service with being mindful of the length of service
  • Mostly positive support of “joys and concerns” during worship
  • Emphasis on justice but not becoming too overtly political/partisan
  • Having more of a public face/public awareness of who and what we are
  • Continuing to include our campus partners in what we are
  • Hospitality—a welcoming church
  • Value honest, respectful conversation
  • Significance of music, especially the gospel style
  • Possibility of developing other expressions of worship in addition to Sunday service
  • Supporting people in their journeys from visitors to members/participants
  • The need to be intentional in choosing programs
  • Maintaining the messiness of ministry—tension between social action and respect for all viewpoints
  • Appreciation of the congregation’s willingness to take risks

Gaps – what issues do members of the Dream Team sense but were not particularly mentioned in the reports

  • Anxiety about the course of music program
  • How do we “sunset” programs that have achieved their goals but are still hanging around
  • Being fluid and organic—having the ability to take things on and let them go
  • Remembering the gospel’s call to go to the margins and the need to define who are the marginalized in our community

Fears – items we saw expressed directly or saw as possibly underlying the reports

  • Getting less personal as we grow—plugging folks into a “role” versus “person centered” relationships.
  • Becoming less diverse ethnically and economically
  • Becoming an “audience church” both in worship and outside where programs are offered by staff and not grown organically and offered by Caldwell folks as they have in the past.
  • Fear of losing whatever it was that brought us together as a unique congregation
  • Fear of being an uptight, rule-bound church
  • Fear of “balkanization”—people mostly interacting with people who are like them
  • Fear in that there might be big, bold changes and the opposite fear of making only incremental changes when we should be making big, bold changes
  • Fear in adding a lot of new programs and the fear of not adding new programs that will appeal to a variety of constituencies, especially young families.
  • Fear of not having a sufficient breadth of activities/programs but at that same time fear that we’ll become fragmented as a church into micro-groups.

3D Process Overview: A Season to Discuss, Discern, and Dream (The Future in 3D)

One thought on “3D Dream Team Meeting

  1. […] If you did not see Beth Van Gorp’s update on the Dream Team’s summation of the congregation’s thoughts about our ministries and possible future endeavors, a copy is posted on our website here:http://www.caldwellpresby.org/3d-dream-team-meeting/ […]