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    Comments, Conversations and Considerations

    Notes From Six Study Groups

    (YAG denotes Young Adult Group, YG denotes Youth Group)

    June 3, 2019

    Invite others

    o More youth time in evenings, model other churches’ youth programs, different teaching


    o Casual dress code

    Collect offering/donations/tithes in a “box in the back” instead of formal offering

    Small groups adopt community service projects

    o Discouraged about past attempts at change

    o Website

    o Websites of “visited” churches have photos of people, information about VBS (May),

    social (coffee hour?)

    o OHFUMC’s site not updated/up to date

    Music—teach new songs to congregation

    o Project score on screen

    o Run-through first time

    Continually in flux, tired of “hoopla,” making excuses

    Concern about $$$ being spent/considered

    Don’t feel we understand what “real” change will attract/bring in younger generation

    Are Sunday services relevant to Youth?

    Create and stream podcasts of the service; have available to download

    What would Youth like in service, and how would they like to help? (Ask/interview them…)

    (YAG) Younger generation cares about older

    o Our Young Adult (YAG) group is natural, relatable

    o Need to be personally interested in church to actually get something out of it

    (YG) Worship is slow, boring, doesn’t grab our attention

    (YG) Preaching is long, not relatable

    (YG) We would enjoy more if it were more interactive and we understood it better

    (YG) Many youth would feel more comfortable if church more welcoming/inclusive to

    LGBTQ and others

    Place/include young people in leadership roles on Sunday (pray over pastor, scripture

    reading, usher, communion, children’s moment)

    Wednesday night youth/families don’t necessarily come to Sunday service, why?

    (YAG) Reaching young people

    o Good we want to “fix problem” of reaching young people

    o Has been a lot of talk for years without much action

    o Will this time be different?

    o Past staff had big impact on young people

    Connecting and building relationships

  • o Some people were more loyal to youth director(s) and pastor(s), left church after

    he/she did

    Pastoral transitions have been difficult also

    (YAG) Be real about what your purpose is (no “bait and switch”)

    How are the youth doing mission, helping others, social justice issues

    (YG) (This is from the youth, not the group in the above bullet) We could do more for

    missions etc.

    o Are we made aware of the ways that we are serving others?

    o Help us become aware of work that’s happening “in the background” so we know how

    we can help

    o We are a family, not always great at being a healing community

    o Need to be sure we are supporting congregants during hard times

    (YAG) question: How do you notice/interact with new people

    o Social norms for older folks may not be the same as for younger

    o Think about how we are interacting with people (of different ages/generations) as well

    (YG) Enjoyed Convo

    o Speaker well-received

    Got to points quickly

    no PowerPoint

    o Upbeat music

    Varied/many instruments in praise team

    Demographics…average age in Oak Harbor is 29 (includes Navy personnel/families)

    OHFUMC dealing with two issues at once—General Conference vote for Traditional

    plan/non-inclusiveness of homosexuals and current members possibly leaving because of

    that vote

    New/next generation must be considered now for future; many churches with same issue

    Add additional staff, i.e. Children’s Ministry Director

    Offer more engaging Sunday school curriculum

    (YAG) Sunday school needs to be safe, comfortable for everyone

    (YAG) Can’t just put “Jesus Loves You” stickers on programming, need more!

    Politics and hierarchy of our church

    Congregation/new members not clear on what our district/OHFUMC stand for (re: sexual


    Music…new is repetitive, monotonous; old is familiar but not to young people

    Is there a need for chancel choir? Bell choir?

    Quiet time before service

    Omit prayers for individuals from pastor’s prayer; forward to prayer team

    Move the nursery upstairs, offices downstairs

    Adopt three-deep mentoring

    Have chair and co-chair of all committees

    o Having difficulty getting chairpersons, team members

    o How to mentor people who aren’t present

    (YG) Have you been mentored?

  • o Partners in Mission

    o Youth Leaders

    (YG) Can you mentor younger people?

    o VBS

    o Sunday school (youth teaching younger)

    Services are too repetitive

    o Eliminate praying over pastor, life-change moment

    o Decrease number of songs from 3 to 1

    o Use organ for offertory music

    o Announcements--repetitive

    Contemporary service was researched, discussed, tried

    o Much work went into prep and practice

    o Advertising? Time offered?

    o What happened?

    Children’s moment—children get lesson downstairs, however adults have opportunity to see

    them in church

    Lord’s prayer when children are upstairs, i.e. at end of children’s moment, so they can

    hear/learn it

    Sunday school is breaking for summer, is it a good idea to break?

    Add Saturday night service identical to Sunday

    Reduce committees and week-night obligations to focus on weekend service(s) and weekday

    youth groups

    Focus more on sermons and small group studies on books of Bible

    Incorporate more “back to basics” studies

    o Red Book

    o Specific books of Bible

    Sanctuary décor boring, outdated

    Don’t put walkers in Narthex; first thing newcomers see as they walk in the door

    (YG) First impressions

    o All the people you first see are 50+

    o We could contribute, be trained as ushers, help out

    o Unappealing, outdated décor inside

    Landscaping not well-maintained, poor first impression

    Is there a need for chancel choir? Bell choir? Are they of interest to new generation?

    Book emphasizes worship service, is bigger issue getting people to attend?

    If younger generation can’t relate to the music, they won’t come/participate

    (YG) We know many older love hymns

    o Don’t take them away completely

    o Youth would love to see more contemporary, upbeat songs

    If music is too loud for “older generation,” they won’t come/participate

    (YAG) How can youth be a part of worship

    o Not just the way older folks want to see them

    o Needs to be personally important to youth/young adults

  • o communal aspect as one body is valued by younger generations

    Some praise music can be too strong, “jivey,” members not put into worshipful mood

    (YG) What are God’s priorities/purposes for church?

    o Praise God

    About half the church is “into” worship

    More older people are

    o Younger aren’t

    Learn about GOD

    More comfortable w/discussion in small groups

    Convo—go from worship to small group discussions

    o Grow in Faith

    Difficult to “catch up to” long-time Christians

    Need to appeal to young people whose faith is not as mature

    What brings people to mega church?

    o Younger people attend because of social issues

    o Separate services, great music, superb speakers

    o Not formal, more entertaining

    Why young people don’t need/want church

    o Judgmental, Jesus would be understanding

    o Read opinions/input “against” religion online

    Coffee fellowship essential

    o Coffee in church?

    o Burden on kitchen people

    o Plan a coffee area in the remodeled narthex

    Security for children?

    o Safety sheet for parents

    o What we do for safety

    Summer picnics

    o Lots of work

    o Apply time/effort elsewhere to core mission areas

    o Goal?


    o Unfinished work downstairs, unfavorable impression i.e. moms taking children to nursery

    o Reader board on front of church—replace with newer style

    o Tile in sanctuary instead of carpet

    o Coffee bar in narthex after expansion completed

    Enlarge narthex, move stained glass window

    Passion for faith, website, relationship are priorities—do better, research results

    Social Justice issues important

    o Participate in doing something

    o We give money, open building to organizations (Spin Café, Haven, Garden Club, Scouts,


    o What DOING is happening by us, the church?

    Hard to implement change “until the room has changed”

  • o New people to help change

    o Modest change isn’t enough, significant change required

    AV team and equipment needs more attention

    Technology-oriented world

    Do we need bulletins?

    Older folks feel they are being pushed out

    o Book says “say goodbye” to those who don’t like change

    o Hard to say goodbye to “family”

    o Most children coming to VBS already attend church/Sunday school--is it really outreach?

    Incoming Director of Music

    o Select carefully

    o Excellence in music portion of worship service

    o High quality music presentation

    o New vision

    o Style to attract youth/young adults

    Taking care of “our own”

    o Stephen Ministry is a lot of work

    o Should it continue/be revitalized

    o Is the same work being done in small groups?

    o What about those who are not in small group?

    Every church team/committee should have a younger generation (i.e. teen) member

    Website needs updated and kept up-to-date

    o Pictures

    o Appeal to younger generation

    (YAG) Practical actions to reach next generation

    o Embrace the question

    o Doing this study!

    o What would you do if you want your grandkids/kids to come to church with you?

    o Ask the young people what is appealing to them

    o Make it personal

    Need to target young adults/families (particularly Navy families)

    Need younger people “up front”

    Don’t do something just because it is “trendy.”

    o Base on research/philosophy/other than “hot” idea

    Is OHFUMC up to the challenge to change?

    o We keep doing things the same way with the same people and get the same results.

    o It’s time for a change of mind and direction

    o One group feels largely overcommitted, reluctant to take on more

    o Once progress is made/excitement generated, individuals would be more inclined to get

    on board

  • FOR A NEW GENERATION Book Study Insights and “Aha” moments

    June 3, 2019

    The best plan for the church is to honor the past while planning for the future.

    What drew me to the church was the loving interaction of people of my age.

    Relationships are some of the best features we have at FUMC.

    We need to learn more modern songs; many of us experienced them Sunday. We need to get used to


    Youth-inspired ministries, “better music” will attract more youth.

    Hymns are “comfort food” to me.

    We can/must “remix” the old hymns to new rhythms and tempos.

    Youth think in terms of Facebook, phones, music—need to think in their language, address them at their

    interest levels.

    We get so caught up in little things we forget the big picture. If we want the youth to be involved, we

    need to discover what they want to do/are interested in doing to help.

    The family study group was animated thinking of the possibilities of adapting FUMC for their generation.

    Youth loved the idea of being more involved.

    We need to commit to whatever we need to do for our children/youth, as did the Amplify church.

    The Youth Sunday at FUMC this year blessed so many of us!

    Reduce the distractions—too many favorite projects and routines that deplete energy levels, impact

    personal and worship time, and affect the impact of church. Nobody wants to give up their favorite

    things/”barking dogs.”

    Let’s be sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Be careful—don’t encourage those who may be resistant to change to leave the church.

    Our church has many outside groups using our building. Let’s remember to prioritize our purposes and

    programs when scheduling outside groups.

    One thing at church will never change—our core mission. (Animated consensus from the group!)

    Distractions—choir? May need to consider different ways to organize musical groups and musical


    Parents’ groups—animated and energized when talking about barking dogs and things that distract from

    worship. (What or were there specific comments? (ed.))

  • Newcomers often see what we don’t see/are used to seeing: Welcome sign from the 1950’s, walkers

    lined up in Narthex, etc.

    The heart of our church is to be servants to one another. Be sure we don’t lose that heart in attempting


    Setup in the front of the church is “awful!” Distracting…why is everything “off to one side?” Pulpit isn’t

    used, why is it there?

    Screen in the back for pastor and “up front” folks is needed.

    Band-Aids and new coats of paint won’t fix the problems we are facing.

    We need to elevate our goals, encourage young families/next generations. We do well attracting retired

    people…is that our goal?

    We have to be careful not to exclude “the average person,” i.e. auditioning for excellence in choir, praise

    band, etc.

    Are we planning to offer a “Las Vegas show?”

    What keeps us here is the people, our “family,” who love each other. We want to keep that heart.

    All of us need to concentrate on inviting other people to our church.

    Remember, it’s everyone’s responsibility to talk to more people who are new, who we don’t know, in

    order to extend our family.

    How can we add new volunteers? Let’s use our young people outside to greet people, “middle-aged” in

    narthex welcome booth.

    Bring back family-focused activities, i.e. picnics, cider press, hikes, etc.

    Incorporate three-deep mentoring with committees, mission groups, and age levels.


    June 3, 2019

    So What, Now What??

    Naming Our Fears and Hopes for FUMC

    Final, Live Comments, Conversations and Considerations

    Celebrate service, impact on others

    Who can we mentor in jobs we (all) do, so they can carry on?

    There are good ideas, we don’t want to spread ourselves too thin. Find the whale!

    Fear we are going to try so hard to compromise and be modern that we update too much. Have a

    more relatable band/keyboard.

    People talk about music; how do we know if it’s a fad? Don’t all remember the “old/new songs,”

    but do remember the old ones.

    I don’t/can’t do loud.

    More youth involved in decision-making. Ask the youth what we would like. Contemporary

    music does not have to be loud. Get them involved in more.

    Blend old school and new. You can make old new again. Back Street Boys are old now (so are

    Peter Paul and Mary). Make them new again!

    We are talking about $$$ remodeling the church. We need to consider how we really want to

    spend our money. Use it to encourage more younger people? We will have input on the

    architect’s design, let’s put our money to good use.

    Do we know what we need to change to get the younger people in? We need to find out how; just

    copying another church is not going to be our personality. Be careful about radical change. Don’t

    limit the “up front” age; you will lose a lot of people who want to serve and share; it’s part of our


    Should we invite some of the other churches to discuss with us their approach to their programs,

    get ideas, see what is working for them? A task force of OH churches…

    Our church is “tucked away,” not easy to get to. When we invite people, they need to find it. We

    need to make it easier to find.

    Get people to usher, especially younger people! Get them involved/mentor them. Think outside

    the box.

    Music – one of the toughest parts of the service. Everyone has different preferences.

    If we always do what we’ve always done, we will get what we have always gotten.

  • Forward and Introduction (pp. 15-29)

    Focus: “Building a church that reaches, and will continue to reach, the next generation” pg. 15

    “It may seem too hard or too risky to change your church’s

    MINISTRY MODEL to reach the next generation” pg. 15

    Who: “My definition of a new generation church is a church with attendees

    whose average age is at least as young as the average age of the

    community in which the church exists” pg. 18 (“Median” age of Oak Harbor

    is 29, which is 20% lower than the average of Washington State at 38, and

    the USA at 37).

    Message: “If you want to embrace the Christian faith, you will need to find

    another church. My church is designed primarily to be meaningful for

    me---not to reach you.” Pg. 19 (unappealing approaches)

    Perpetual Church Revitalization: “We need to think in terms of --- putting appropriate

    strategies into p[lace to ensure that a church will continue

    with and stay connected with the next generation.” Pg. 20

    Story of Amplify Church: Founded in late 70’s; near death by 2003; “We decided to put our

    hearts into becoming a new generation church, to do whatever it

    would take to become a church with attendees whose average age is

    at least as young as the average age of the community in which the

    church exists. THIS WAS NOT AN EASY DECISION.” Pg. 21

    Resolve: Change our approaches, not our core beliefs. Pg. 21

    Result: “About a third of the people who have been attending our church left

    during the first two years after we started our change journey.” Pg. 22

    Uniqueness: Each church must wrestle with what it needs to do. This book is meant to be


    Foundation for Change: “The single most important ingredient to renewal is the power that

    comes from INTERCESSORY PRAYER” pg. 24

    Your Role: “You can be a blocker of change or a catalyst for change” pg. 25

    Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church

    Council Leadership Study

    Monday, January 28th, 6:00 pm - God’s Hall

  • A Brief Summary Of

    FOR A NEW GENERATION A Practical Guide For Revitalizing Your Church

    By Lee Kricher

    Lee Kricher’s book is about Amplify Church, a nondenominational church founded in the late

    1970s in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh. As with most churches, it had experienced seasons of growth and

    decline. By 2003, the decline was so severe the survival of the church was in doubt.


    Mainline churches have many things in common. They have played meaningful roles in the lives

    of many of us. And each one is at risk of being one of the thousands of churches that are closing

    their doors because they have lost touch with the next generation.

    What is a new generation church? It is a church with attendees whose average age is at least as

    young as the average age of the community in which the church exists.

    Of course no Christian would purposefully hide the timeless truths of Christianity from the next

    generations. But our approach — the programs, ministries, and practices can be so unappealing

    to young adults and children that the message we are sending them is, “If you want to embrace

    the Christian faith, you will need to find another church. My church is designed primarily to be

    meaningful for me—not to reach you.”

    Five Strategies

    #1 - Adopt a New Mindset

    #2 - Identify the Essentials

    #3 - Reduce the Distractions

    #4 - Elevate your Standards

    #5 - Build a Mentoring Culture

    The best way to honor your church’s past is to plan for the future so that your church

    continues to have a positive impact on future generations.

    Please Note: This book is NOT about changing your church’s statement of faith or core beliefs

    to make them more attractive to next generation thinking.

    Chapter One


    No matter how hard we might wish, some things

    will never… go back to the way they were.

    Findings by the Barna Group in its book, Churchless, confirm that the United States has seen a significant decline in church attendance. The number of unchurched adults in the U. S. has

    increased by more than 30 percent in the past decade.

    2014 Estimations Unchurched adults = 114 million

    Unchurched children and teenagers = 42 million

    Total = 156 million U.S. residents not engaged with a Christian church

    Realities that cannot be ignored: change is happening much faster than previous generations,

    one third of people under 30 are identifying as “nones.”

    The way the next generation tells you that your church has lost touch

    with them is simple — they stop coming.


    We needed to start building our church around

    one key question: What will it take to reach our children?

    Suggestion: Form a “guiding coalition,” a group of people whose support and involvement are

    most crucial in making significant change happen and made up of key staff leaders and lay

    leaders led by the pastor.

    For church members change can be hard but committed members know their pastor cannot bring

    revitalization without their help. You can decide to become an agent for change rather than a

    change blocker. This may even require supporting changes you don’t agree with.

    The church is bigger than the wants, needs, and preferences of any single individual. The church

    exists for God’s sake and it must be committed to God’s mission of reaching people. God’s

    priorities and purposes for the church need to be front and center.

    Chapter Two


    We spend our time focusing on so many good things that we lose sight of the most important

    reason our church exists.

  • “Missing the whale” is not unique to churches. Organizations of any kind can easily lose sight of

    the most important reason for their existence. The proper first response to a changing world is

    not to ask, “How should we change?” but rather to ask, “What do we stand for and why do we

    exist?” This should never change.

    Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement - A mission statement describes why we exist while a

    vision statement points to a desired future state. A clear and compelling vision statement can be

    a powerful tool for directing and redirecting the way we spend our time, energy and resources.


    Church services, meetings, programs, and ministries demand time, resources, attention, and

    energy. Most accomplish good things … but when combined together they can have a

    devastating effect on your ability to achieve your vision.

    At Amplify Church we decided to focus on things that will have the greatest impact on our

    ability to fulfill our vision. Example: Sunday service, small groups, children’s and youth


    Sunday services - needed attention and were perceived to be boring or irrelevant. New goal was

    to make each service so that it could make a tangible difference in the life of each person in

    attendance. We had to plan and conduct our services so that people would want to come and feel

    excited about bringing others with them. Sunday mornings are often not free for adults and

    children so we decided to add another option. Saturday evening services became a popular


    Small groups - Features that worked best: (1) Located in church rather in people’s homes, (2)

    Developing a core curriculum plus options to bring unity, (3) Groups taking a break over the

    summer which results in renewed energy and enthusiasm in the fall, (4) New groups each year to

    foster new friendships and avoid people getting “stuck” in groups, (5) “Closed” groups to allow

    Bible study with other committed Christians rather than unchurched people, (6) Monthly

    “Connect or Serve Week” to demonstrate importance of doing more than study and prayer by

    having a meal together or volunteering together at an organization.

    Children’s and Youth Ministry - Created new environments designed specifically for these age

    groups — irresistible environments. This is where a new mindset became critical. We live in a

    Disney and Nickelodeon world (not Captain Kangaroo). Times have changed and so must the

    way we connect with our children and youth.

    Chapter Three


    Most churches have their share of barking dogs— things that distract members and visitors from

    the church’s mission.

  • We all know there are times in our lives when we need to eliminate good things - even things

    that we like - from our schedules so that we can focus our time and energy on the most important

    things. The same principle is true for churches.

    Because someone champions, nurtures, or defends them, some church programs and ministries

    continue to exist long after they should have ended. But we need to exercise wisdom and

    discernment regarding when our church programs and ministries have run their course.


    At Amplify Church we looked for anything that had a negative impact on our vision to lead as

    many people as possible into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. Our conviction was that

    every distraction we eliminated could open the door wider to people we were trying to reach,

    including the next generation.

    In his book Deep and Wide, Andy Stanley writes about the importance of being willing to let go of things no matter how meaningful they have been in the past. “Nothing is new or

    innovative forever.”

    FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER - • Aging, out-dated sign on front corner of building • Parking lot in bad shape • Unsightly radio tower on top of church • Church foyer painted out-dated color (Pepto-Bismol pink) • Bulletin boards lining the walls • Meeting rooms with outdated and/or donated used furniture • Rooms that look like grandmother’s parlor • Aging green pews and stained chairs

    INFORMALITY - We relaxed our dress code, urged congregation to call pastor by first name,

    removed reserved parking spaces for staff, pastor sits with congregation during Sunday service,

    moved prayer requests to small groups, eliminated other unique practices such as open

    microphone and individual displays of worship (dancing and waving banners as part of worship).

    NAME CHANGE - If changing the name of your church can help you better fulfill your vision,

    you would be wise to make the change.

    To sum up our approach, we simply put everything on the table — everything but our core

    beliefs and the vision God had given us for the future.

    Chapter Four


    The pursuit of excellence is all about “minding the gap” — between where you are as a church

    and where you have the potential to be.

    That is the gap you need to identify and close.

    You can’t fix serious problems with a new coat of paint. That is true for old cars and also true

    for a church in decline.

  • Jim Collins said in his book Good to Great that “good is the enemy of great.” It is understandable that churches with stretched resources tend to conduct services, ministries and

    programs in a way that would not be called excellent. But if the church is the hope of the world,

    we cannot be satisfied with mediocrity.


    Your church’s weekend services are perfectly designed to reach the people you are reaching. If

    you want to reach others, things need to change.

    At Amplify Church we were reaching people who were in their fifties and older who had

    attended our church for many years. We had to elevate the weekend experience to reach people

    who weren’t coming. We changed a number of things to appeal to younger adults: we formed a

    creative team who helped with planning the service and added volunteer roles, set up a “cafe” room to encourage personal connections, played upbeat music before and after services, changed

    service length, reduced the time devoted to announcements, used recent translations for scripture

    reading, added video screens in the sanctuary.

    MUSIC - Knowing the importance of music in all of our lives, each church must decide if its

    style of music will appeal primarily to those who are older or to those who are younger. In their

    book Comeback Churches, Ed Stetzer and Mike Dodson share that “most comeback churches are playing contemporary music. Not all American churches are contemporary but the ones in

    the study would seem to be and that should make us take notice.”

    Whatever musical style is chosen, elevating the excellence of your music should be a priority.

    Amplify Church also added audio, video and lighting components to complement the music and

    painted the sanctuary a darker color to make it more intimate.

    ISSUES - The commitment to become a new generation church is a very costly one in terms of

    internal and external conflicts that arise from change (some parishioners said “I don’t even

    recognize my own church!”). It also costs a lot of money.

    No matter what type of church you attend, you will find little comfort in preserving traditions if

    you are not reaching people.

    Chapter Five


    We are either living out the birth of a new vision or

    the death of an old one.

    We cannot control what will happen to the next generation when we are gone, but we can do

    everything possible to pave the way for them. Most of us do our best to set up our children and

    grandchildren for success in practical areas such as finances. We must also pave the way



  • “We all need to be committed to empowering future generations to do even greater exploits in

    God’s name than we have done and to believe that the Lord will give them vision for things we

    could never imagine. Put simply, your vision is not just for you, it is for those to come.” Brian Houston, “For This I Was Born”

    I believe we need to think in terms of perpetual church revitalization — putting appropriate

    strategies in place to ensure that a church will connect with and stay connected with the next

    generation. Every leader at Amplify Church commits to mentor at least two people who can

    effectively carry out each of their key roles.

    We expect every leader in every role to embrace our vision and model our core values.

    One of the many ways that young leaders in today’s culture positively influence the church is in

    their approach to diversity and multiculturalism. As a result our church has naturally become

    more diverse as we have put young adults into visible leadership roles.

    Building a new generation church was tedious and trying, especially in the first two years. Our

    church probably could have survived as it was, at least for several more years. All we had to do

    was let other churches worry about reaching the next generation. But we decided that it was

    worth the hard work. We decided it was worth the fight. How about you?

    Accepting the status quo is the greatest threat to your church’s core mission and, perhaps, to the

    very survival of your church.

    I hope that when my days on earth are over that it is said of me, “He paved the way for

    generations to come,” I hope that it is said of the people of our church, “They paved the way for

    generations to come.” My hope is that the same will be said of you.

  • Mission/Tag Line: Loving God, Serving Others, Changing the


    Vision: Becoming a loving and life-giving family,

    a healing community, and a Christ-centered


    Values: Radical Hospitality

    Passionate Worship

    Intentional Spiritual Growth

    Courageous Mission and Service and

    Extravagant Generosity

    Verse: Act Justly, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God

    (Micah 6:8, NIV)