You Don't Have to Be Big to Think Big: Strategic Planning for Small Churches
We've said this before and believe it is worth repeating: You don’t have to BE big to think big. Just ask Belmont United Methodist Church. Belmont is not a “big" church, they don't have a big budget, and yet...Belmont is making a big impact transforming lives in south Richmond. One example - each Friday Belmont UMC opens its doors to host up to 400 people for a food pantry. Of course, it's about more than giving food. They are sharing hope with people who may not have a lot of it otherwise. They are building community. That’s big.
In January, I had the privilege of spending a day with Belmont's leadership council for a strategic planning retreat. Their passion for their community was truly inspiring. As they confronted the challenging economic, political, and geographic realities of their community, Belmont's commitment and passion to faithful action with their community never wavered. That’s big.
During the day, I asked their team a question: "If Belmont achieved its vision and you were in a hot air balloon looking down at your community, what would you see?" The leadership of Belmont dreamed together, and envisioned, "sidewalks filled with people in conversation", "children outside playing", and "everyone having enough of what they need.” They were describing a picture of a community made whole. That’s big.
The people of Belmont church were envisioning how they can be a part of bringing hope, healing, and stability to a community that struggles with poverty, crime, and fear. Each Friday morning as people gather for the food pantry there is no "us" and "them," it’s a community gathering to experience the fruit of big ideas lived out in focused mission. That’s big.
Belmont UMC's determination to think and act big is helping change lives in the community. It was my pleasure to walk them through this collaborative process and I can't wait to watch them nail their plan.