Town Hall Meeting: Recap


Many thanks to you for the wonderful turnout at our Congregational Town Hall meeting on January 10. It was an exciting gathering in which we reported to you the work of the staff and strategic planning team over the last 10 months, as we have reflected on our congregational culture and sought God’s guidance and direction for the future. I wanted to take this opportunity now to recap the most important outcomes of the meeting.

After Kevin Ford of TAG Consulting reviewed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing our congregation, and after we communicated the newly articulated Core Values of Third (see last month’s newsletter), we presented to you a “focus statement.”  A focus statement is a medium term “charter” that provides focus for our work in the next few years. It clarifies what we will prioritize as we move into the future. Here is the focus statement we presented:

In the next few years, we will seek to orient Third Church around relationships for community, discipleship, and mission. 

Click the image below to download the presentation used at the meeting.

This does not clarify what we will do as much as how we will do it. We know we are called to the same mission as the church of every age: to follow Jesus and proclaim the gospel in word and deed among the nations. This focus statement is focused on how we will seek to go about doing this. With this statement, we are clarifying that the way we want to carry out the mission of the gospel at Third is primarily through relationships. We want to focus on developing people more than on developing programs; we want to connect people with one another more than connecting them with more activities. 

Obviously there are many unanswered questions that relate to this focus statement. But we believe that in the next few years, this statement must guide many of our practical decisions about how we do community, discipleship and mission as Third Church.  We are excited to explore the implications.

We also presented to you five strategic objectives that flow out of that focus statement. Each of the objectives address an area of challenge that currently faces our congregation. Here are the five:

In light of our focus statement and core values, we will clarify the vision of Third Church with one succinct statement.  We will explore implications for branding and communication.

We will re-organize staff and session structures to emphasize shepherding, equipping and governance for elders, and tactical work by staff and ministry teams. We will clarify objectives and lines of communication for staff and volunteers.

We will develop and implement a new church-wide relationship-based plan for assimilation, community building, discipleship, evangelism and mission.  

We will modernize and update our aging facility to glorify God and enhance worship, fellowship and education; and leverage emerging technologies across the systems.  We will plan for how to pay for these changes.

We will seek to minister to our increasingly diverse local community through leadership development, staff hires, outreach to internationals, creative worship, and church planting that focuses on multi-ethnic congregations.

As you can see, there is much work to be done! This is not the end of our strategic planning process but really just the beginning. So what comes next?

  • PRAY. Please pray for Third as we seek God’s guidance and wisdom for the future. We believe we have heard the Lord and responded to his guidance, but we must continue to stay close to Him in the months and years to come. Apart from Him we can do nothing! Please pray that we would continue to seek God’s guidance, and please especially pray for our elders as we begin to plan the way forward. We also encourage you to join us for our weekly prayer and communion gathering at 8am on Sunday mornings in Room 101. 
  • ASK. We welcome questions about the presentation and these objectives. Email your questions to and someone from the team will get back to you soon. Also feel free to reach out to anyone on the strategic planning team
  • LEARN. Our February Term this year focuses on our Core Values as a congregation. We will unpack the theology behind the values and the implications for the future of Third. Please join us at 10:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall on Feb 7, 14, 21, and 28!

May the Lord bear the fruit of his gospel among us for the glory of Jesus Christ!

Grace and peace of our Savior+