Strategic Planning Update from Corey

Dear Third Family,

Since January 2016 we have been progressing in a season of strategic planning. I’d like to communicate a couple of important and exciting updates! This 6 minute video gives an overview, but you may also scroll down to read a description of the updates.


Last month the session voted to approve a new vision statement for Third Church that will replace our old vision statement. This new statement reads:

Called Together for the Renewal of All Things through Jesus Christ.

I love this vision statement! It says so much in such a succinct way. First, we are calledby God. The church is a community called by God through the grace of Jesus Christ. Second, we are together. The Christian life is fundamentally a communal journey. Third, we are called together not just for ourselves and our own spiritual edification, but for the renewal of all things. The gospel renews not just individual lives, but whole communities, institutions and cities. And all of this is through Jesus Christ, the one who saves and redeems us by grace. 

Soon you will see this statement appear on Third’s media and publicity materials, so be looking for it!



In January, we communicated that we will be creating a “Parish Structure” for Third Church. Parishes are smaller expressions of the larger community of Third. There will be eleven Parishes initially, each comprised of 100-150 adult Covenant Partners plus children and regular attenders. At the outset, Parishes will primarily serve as a vehicle for connecting newcomers and for elders and deacons to provide spiritual and practical care. We will continue to gather for worship all together on Sunday mornings as usual.

Why are we doing this? As our church has grown, we have been seeking a way to integrate people more effectively into Christian community, while also deepening our commitment to share the good news of the gospel and seek the renewal of our whole metro region. This new Parish Structure will address both of these needs, by enabling greater connection between Third members, and by facilitating a distributed form of congregational mission in neighborhoods all over our metro region.

A couple of updates about the Parish Structure:

  • We have bumped the launch of the Parish Structure to January 2018 (previously September 2017), to give us more time to get all the pieces in place. 
  • Session has approved the hiring of a new Pastor of Discipleship and Parish Ministry. This person will have a key role in overseeing the Parishes, training leaders, and helping with preaching and teaching. Please pray for the search team as they begin their process of seeking a candidate.

Here are two ways you can respond:

First, pray! There is a lot of work to be done, and we need God’s empowering presence and leading more than anything else. Please pray for his blessing and leading in this new exciting chapter of our church’s life.

Second, we need your help with Parish Groups. Each Parish will have several Parish Groups, which are mid size communities of people seeking to follow Jesus together and love their neighbors in a specific place. Would you consider starting, leading or joining a Parish Group? We’ll be starting leader training soon in preparation for our January 2018 launch. Please email Beth Nichols if you are interested at

Thanks friends. It’s a joy to be called together for the renewal of all things through Jesus Christ!

Grace and peace of our Savior+

Corey Widmer