"I was very encouraged by the SWOT session at the Congregational Meeting held on 28th April
I have seldom seen such enthusiastic contributions to such an exercise.
In a very short space of time it became clear that a large number of people who had probably kept their thoughts to themselves for a long time were able to identify very clearly the Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats in our congregation.
I suppose because of my experience in various congregations I was not surprised to see the main concerns centering around Finance and Buildings, but the other theme which emerged for me was that of communication both between ourselves and with those in the Greater Lisbon area whom we are here to serve.
I want to say something about each of these THEMES Hoping to spark discussion.
By the end of the SWOT session I was saying to myself all these comments are SHOUTING: "STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN " and it is interesting to see that at their first meeting the Kirk Session suggested investigating just that.
Within the group for which I was scribing there was clear division about the idea of "selling the manse" and all I would personally say about that is, consideration of such a move should be slow, considered and consultative. Much thought should be given to a suitable and convenient and workable place for the minister to live and work as he leads us to fulfil our congregational vision and becoming clear about what that vision is should also be slow, considered and consultative. Comments about the earning power of the manse should clearly be taken into account in all our deliberations
Often meetings achieve internal communication but it is also important that groups or committees find a way to "advertise" what they propose to do and report back about their achievements and equally their problems and failures.
Decisions have to be made about the external groups we want to reach and measures put in place to achieve goals eg: how do we communicate with other churches, prisoners, deprived people, visitors,embassies, hotels, groups in and from the UK, groups we may "twin" with.
Personally I am a very strong advocate of communicating via the Internet and was glad that this came out as an "OPPORTUNITY" in our discussions
I am more than happy to discuss any or all of these points I raise