For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15 NIV)
I admit that this title is a little bit of a trick question. The meaning of the word vitality is “the state of being strong and active; energy” (Oxford Dictionaries). I’m also referring to the Covenant denomination’s Congregational Vitality initiative, which charts a course for an individual church to move toward being a healthy, missional congregation.
Creekside is undertaking this journey. It began with the Veritas workshop that many of us attended in February 2016, more than two years ago now, if you can believe it! At the time, our senior pastor had left to pursue another calling, and we were evaluating our congregation’s strengths and needs so that we could find the right pastor to lead us forward. After a long journey, we called Mark Hjelmervik as our new pastor last year, and he was installed in October of 2017.
Now we move forward—but what will that look like? While no one at Veritas considered Creekside to be an unhealthy church, we recognized that God was calling us to more. Figuring out what that “more” looks like and preparing to get there is what the Vitality pathway is all about.
The Vitality Team was introduced (by name) this past Sunday. Becky Watson is our fearless leader, Heidi Anderson is the Leadership Team representative, and Tom Brown, Matt Hjelm, Raquel Carrasco, Beatriz Langner, Courtney Hjelmervik, Pastor Mark, and I round out the crew. You will hear more from us throughout the next year or so as we gather information and work with the rest of the congregation to clarify what Creekside’s mission should be.
Our team is not in charge of making the whole plan for the church. Once we’ve finished our journey, the congregation will meet to Dream Again, solidifying the vision and making it specific, and then planning what it will take to get us there.
The Vitality team asks you to save the date for the EPIC workshop: April 21st, from 9 am to 3 pm. All Creeksiders, whether long-time members or new attenders, are invited to attend. We know that we’ll have to change to fully live into God’s plan for us as a church, but even good change can be hard. The workshop helps everyone explore their own reactions to change and teaches us how we can all embrace the coming changes in a way that is civil, compassionate, and Christ-honoring.
In the meantime, feel free to talk to any of us on the team about the Vitality process. It’s not meant to be a secret, and we’d love to answer your questions. (And if we don’t know the answer, we’ll happily direct you to Pastor Mark!) While the Vitality team is a small group for efficiency’s sake, the journey belongs to us all.
Abigail can be reached by email here.