February Update

After a Delay, the StratOp Work Starts

As mentioned last month, we expected to hold our leadership meeting on December 19. Due to everyone’s extremely busy schedules right before the holidays, the meeting was postponed to January 17. We are as anxious as all of you to start St. Paul’s transformation, but we needed to have this meeting for the team leaders. Theirs is an enormous endeavor, and they need as much guidance, strategies, tools – and prayers – to reach their goals. Our goals.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the initial objectives and key tasks to be accomplished for each team, and then learn about the specific processes to achieve these goals.

The community outreach team, led by Steve Aumann, is charged with developing and implementing an outreach strategy to the community. Their objectives include increasing first-time visitors and building relationships/sharing Jesus with unchurched people. The first set of key tasks are to obtain a demographic study of the community within a three-mile radius around St. Paul’s; identify the values and needs of this community; and develop a long list of potential actions and ministries. Doug Eiben, another StratOp team member, will assist Steve.

The financial and facility plan team, led by Steve Rooker, will work on developing a sustainable financial plan for ministry. Their objective is to move the congregation beyond just anxiously surviving for another year; the goal is to enable actually thrive in missions and ministries. The first set of key tasks are to review our relationship with Concordia Lutheran School; develop a Biblical stewardship education plan; and create a facility maintenance plan. Mac Hill is the StratOp team member assisting this team.

The communications team, led by Robin Ward, will focus on developing and implementing a holistic communication plan. Their objective is to communicate the mission and love of God internally and externally. The first set of key tasks are to take advantage of and evaluate the opportunities in social, electronic and print media. Aaron Clark and Will Wrase are the assisting StratOp team members.

The member care and deployment team, temporarily led by Pastor Siefert, is developing a plan for member care and deployment. However, Pastor Siefert will be leaving before this process is complete, so a permanent lay leader needs to take this over to guide the team after his departure. Their objective is to nurture and increase the number of joyful, active, engaged volunteers. Their first set of key tasks are to determine the strengths and resources of the congregation; discover the gifts of individual members; and create ministry and job descriptions. Pat Schultz is the StratOp team assistant.

So, the big question for all of us is, how exactly do we do this?

We received the answer during the January 18 meeting with the Rev. Dr. Robert Kasper, our workshop facilitator. Using charts and tables as guides, each team will determine the strengths and weaknesses of their specific area. They will list the opportunities and threats that exist outside of St. Paul’s, related to their topic. The team will then come up with actions needed to address the opportunities using our identified strengths. Once the team works through this process, they will create an action plan, where they will add more detail to each task, such as determining the current status, setting a deadline, calculating the cost and assigning a team member to complete that job. During this phase, the objectives and tasks can be tweaked or revised as the teams dive deeper into their work.

The team reconvenes to provide a status of each member’s work and then to take the next steps, using the same process. Then around mid-April, all the teams will meet with Dr. Kasper so he can evaluate, provide feedback and offer encouragement.

This is the plan to accomplish the WIN (What’s Important Now) objectives; there are other goals on the list to work on.

If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the StratOp team. If you are asked to join one of the four teams, please prayerfully consider the request. In fact, please don’t wait to be asked.

January Update

Planning for Hope – St. Paul’s Begins the StratOp Process

We began with prayer.

Then we began a three-day journey that took us from 1992 to June 2019 – from where St. Paul’s stood 25 years ago to where we hope to be 18 months from now.

This journey of hope is traveling toward our destination by way of a strategic planning process called StratOp, a team-based system that moves from a big picture vision to practical action steps. (If you would like more information on this process, visit

The first stage of the StratOp process involves a three-day workshop that establishes a clear action plan with measurable results. This stage was accomplished on December 2 by the St. Paul’s StratOp team: Aaron Clark, Doug Eiben, McArthur Hill, Pat Schultz, Ron Smolka, Robin Ward, Will Wrase and Pastor Siefert. The Rev. Dr. Robert Kasper, from the Michigan District office, facilitated these sessions.

So what are some of the results of the three days?

  • The beginnings of a new mission statement: “We are loved by God. Therefore, we serve people so they can experience God’s love too.”
  • 4 teams to tackle the WIN items (WIN = What’s Important Now)
    • A community outreach team, led by Steve Aumann
    • A sustainable financial plan for ministry team, led by Steve Rooker
    • A member care and deployment team, led by Pastor Siefert (temporarily)
    • A holistic communications team, led by Robin Ward
  • Vision statements that tell us where we stand, where we are headed, and how we get there
    • Call the right pastor to lead us into God’s future for St. Paul’s
    • Become students of our community
    • Create a compelling plan to unify and focus our work
    • Our love for Jesus must find expression in service to our neighbor
  • A list of what must happen to turn our decline into growth:
    • We must make a plan for sustainability
    • We must make a plan for eventual growth
    • We must identify target audiences for our Gospel message
    • We must reframe what business we are in (the church business, or the spreading the Gospel business)
  • Tools to measure our progress, to keep us accountable and to keep us on track
  • Planned results that include increases in worship and school attendance, sustainable finances, eager volunteers and a sense of unity and belonging
  • 33 sheets of easel pad paper that captured all our work – this list is just a portion of what we produced

And hope.

St. Paul’s can grow according to the will of the Lord. Our work has only just begun.

What’s next?

  • Pray for the StratOp team, the WIN teams, and for the ministry of St. Paul’s.
  • The four WIN teams are finalizing their organization and defining their tasks. The team leaders are meeting with Dr. Kasper in mid-December on how to effectively run the teams.
  • All four teams have a deadline of February 28 to report on our progress with each other and with Dr. Kasper. He will then provide feedback and guidance to ensure we are on the right paths.
  • Look for updates on the StratOp process in the St. Paul’s monthly newsletters.

If you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact any member of the StratOp team. We’re all in this together, and we need your input, your support and your prayers.