Ministry Information Form
Here are excerpts from our 2016 Ministry Information Form, which we used to describe our church during the search for our new pastor. Some things have changed since then -- but the character of our church is the same.
1. What is the congregation’s or organization’s vision for ministry? Additionally describe how this vision is lived out.
Our mission statement came about as Session reflected on our church's calling a few years ago. We felt that the Spirit was moving us to a new, unifying view, in which the role of the church is to support the spiritual formation of each member of our congregation as we seek to become disciples of Christ.
Currently, we consider that the Mission of Westminster is to nurture, form, and equip those whom God calls as disciples. We do that through: Belonging in community together and in communion with God; sharing together in God's story and the stories of our lives; and practicing our faith in joyful worship and service. We come to worship in the hope to be changed into the people God wants us to be, and we encourage each other in this process of change.
One thing that members really value about Westminster is our respect for each other. This congregation has the ability to accept people as they are, while challenging them to be more. When we let ourselves be changed in response to God's story, we find ourselves broken open to the hurts of this world. We are turned outward to the community, with a deep desire to serve the hungry, the lost, the lonely, the suffering. As a church, we work together to serve as Christ directed.
2. How do you feel called to reach out to address the emerging needs of your community or constituency?
"Church" doesn't end with the Sunday postlude, we are active within our local community. Our church coordinates the Pass It On Ministry, which matches people who have needs with people who have the resources to meet those needs. Pass It On also solicits grants and donations to purchase beds for people in Greene County who would otherwise be sleeping on the floor. Over the last 6 years, Pass It On has helped over 1700 families. We have also formed a church-school partnership with our neighboring elementary school, Tecumseh. We have provided school supplies, tutors and assisted in a variety of school programs. During the holidays, we assist school families that may need food, presents, or other personal items. We recently opened our doors to the Xenia Community Children's Choir for practices and concerts.
Additionally, we provide financial and volunteer support to other Greene County organizations that help the least fortunate. We support the local food pantry, the Caring Place meals at the First Evangelical Lutheran church, the homeless shelter at Christ Episcopal Church, the Women's Recovery Center, the Interfaith Hospitality Network, and The Living Well clinic. Westminster also welcomes local AA groups, hosting 5 meetings a week in our building. A highlight of our efforts each year is our Valentine's Day visit to the Elmcroft Assisted Living Center: we enjoy serving and getting to know the residents. All these efforts in turn strengthen our relationship in the community.
3. How will this position help you to reach your vision and mission goals?
We need a strong leader now, as we try to live into our growing sense of what we are called to do. We have been through difficult times: We engaged significant energy and emotion in considering a possible merger with a neighboring church, ultimately realizing we were unable to combine the goals and cultures of the two communities. It was shortly after this setback that our pastor of ten years took another call elsewhere in the Miami Valley. These changes were accompanied by a decline in attendance which made our financial situation more difficult. So while we have a new vision and a sense of hope about that vision, we also have a lot of anxiety about our future. We hope for a pastor who will be unafraid to call for change where it is needed; who will bring energy and enthusiasm that will encourage visitors and wavering members to commit to this community; and who will encourage the members of this church to serve and lead with confidence, according to their gifts.
4. Provide a description of the characteristics needed by the person who is open to being called to this congregation.
The person we call will have a strong sense of his/her own spiritual journey, an enthusiasm to share what is possible in God, and confidence to lead. We hope to call a minister who is excited about the spiritual renewal happening at Westminster. We have a vision of what we are called to be, but we need leadership and encouragement to live boldly into this vision, instead of looking back at who we used to be.
The person we call will be an effective preacher, knowledgeable in scripture, and thoughtful about the challenges of living a Christ-centered life: Our worship time provides an opportunity to give praise to God, as well as, an opportunity to be challenged and reoriented in our faith, so that we may go out and serve in our community. We value preaching that is scripturally-based and attuned to the ways we need to grow in faith in our daily lives.
The person we call will be patient and encouraging in pastoral care: Our church family has a strong tradition of helping each other, but we need a pastor who will come alongside and encourage us in illness and adversity, particularly as we have many older members.
The person we call will be socially skilled and able to capture the Westminster feeling of building relationships, expanding our outreach and being a part of our journey with God in words and deeds.