Imagining the future

Over future years the Uniting Church is going to see some significant change. Figuring out how that change will take shape, however, is going to be a major task for the church of  today.

Rev David Kriel, mission planner for the Uniting Church in WA, will be facilitating a process, starting in early 2014, where the whole church is invited to help form future directions.  Using the method of ‘scenario planning’, four future scenarios will be mapped out, helping the church to plan a way forward in each scenario. The first stage, David said, is to individually interview around 40-50 leaders in the Uniting Church in WA and analyse the data. This will then be followed by two ‘listening’ workshops which are designed to get  feedback from members from all over the synod and presbytery.

The first workshop, will be held on Saturday 22 March, for a conversation about the internal aspects of the church: our strengths and weaknesses and who we are as an organisation.

The second will be focussed externally, on where we exist as an organisation within the community and what kind of world we are living in. This workshop will be held on Saturday  12 April. Each workshop is an open invitation to Uniting Church members who are encouraged to think deeply about the Uniting Church and its purpose.

“The idea is that we’re listening to each other. We’re not good at that I don’t think,” David said. “It’s important to keep people involved.”

From May to August, all the data from these conversations will be analysed and four possible future scenarios will be drawn up. The idea with the four futures being that the church  has covered all bases.

“We don’t know what the future is going to look like,” David said. “We are driven by our purpose and we need to look at different futures.

“The scenarios stimulate our thinking for the future. It will stimulate our thinking while we identify our strategic direction.”

At the next Annual Presbytery and Synod Meeting, to be held from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 September, the church will start to identify some strategic directions for each scenario  looking forward to 2025.

“What’s good about this process is it’s fun, it’s in-depth, anyone can be involved, anyone can make a contribution. And when we give you feedback, you can respond to that,”David  said.

“We live in a time of uncertainty and rapid change. We live in a complex world and we are a complex organisation. To manage that, you need clear strategic directions for the future.  Otherwise people become more and more frustrated and anxious in the church. That’s why we want this.”

To keep the Uniting Church in WA and Revive readers up-to-date, Revive will feature a regular spot on these developments in each edition of 2014. So for more info, stay tuned or  contact Rev David Kriel on 9260 9800 or 1300 736 692 (country) or email david.kriel@wa.uca.org.au.

Heather Dowling

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