Part 1 of 2
Freshwater was founded in April 1999 with the vision to “share the life-changing love of Jesus Christ in a real, relevant, and relational manner.” We launched with a handful of people and God blessed our efforts. Today Freshwater is a vibrant, Spirit-filled, connected community of people. We are still committed to our vision and are now adding a new theme. Over the next five years we seek to “Raise the spiritual climate of our community.” And we have identified eight strategic goals to focus on.
We have a two-fold approach to achieving our goals:
Organic approach: By being transparent from the pulpit, in printed materials, and on social media in matters relating to the goals we are communicating that it’s OK to talk about these matters and ultimately work on them. The more we talk about them the safer people feel about addressing them.
Organizational approach: The organizational approach involves creating systems, structures, and process that moves us closer to achieving the goals. It also involves resourcing ministry programs that are part of the vision.
Here are the five-year goals with a brief explanation of how the dual approach to achieving them works.
1. Lower the divorce rate by 5% in five years.
On a national level:
61% of adults are married
14% of adults are widowed/divorced
27% of married couples have a child from someone other than who they are currently married to.
Organic approach: Roughly half of the households in our community are comprised of some sort of non-traditional family unit. Freshwater is a safe place whether you are married, single, single again, or have a blended family. We know that if we can help families, we can lower divorce and if we help lower the number of divorces then we are lowing the amount of pain people feel because divorce hurts. It hurts moms and dads, kids and friends. We see ourselves as a church that helps families no matter what their family structure looks like.
Organizational approach: We have launched a marriage mentoring ministry designed to walk alongside couples that are struggling by providing practical help. We are communicating this goal with other churches and counselors and encouraging them to launch their own marriage mentoring ministries and support programs.
2. Lower personal debt by 50% in five years.
$ 15,675.00 average credit card debt
$ 172,341 average mortgage debt
$ 27,865 average auto loan debt
$ 48,591 average student loan debt
The average person/family spends $6,658 every year on interest or 9% of their income. Household income has grown by 26% in the past 12 years, but the cost of living has gone up 29% in that time period.
(https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-card-data/average-credit-carddebt-household/, accessed 11/11/16)
Organic approach: Living with a ton of debt causes many emotional, physical, and spiritual problems. By talking about this issue we are helping people to assess their own financial situation and take necessary steps to improve it as needed.
Organizational Approach: We have a ministry called Love in Action. This ministry provides grants and interest free loans to people. They also offer financial counseling to people. We have financial mentors who we can refer people to who will work with individuals to create budgets, determine spending habits, and create a plan to gain financial ground rather than lose it. We also have several small group leaders that offer small groups based on proven debt reduction programs. These groups provide information and accountability.
3. Positively impact and assist over 300 people struggling with substance abuse and mental health challenges.
Organic approach: Substance abuse and mental health issues are often talked about behind closed doors. Not anymore. We desire to help remove the stigma often attached to mental health issues providing a safe environment to address them.
Organizational approach: We are launching a Celebrate Recovery Ministry designed to help people struggling with hurts, bad habits, and hang-ups. We also offer counseling services and have partnered with multiple therapists who provide excellent professional care.
4. See 1,000 people make the decision to follow Christ in the next five years.
Freshwater is committed to making disciples. This philosophy is integrated into every ministry that we have and program that we offer. Ultimately Jesus Christ is the answer for everyone. Our mission is to make disciples just like Jesus commissioned us to do (Matthew 28:19-20).
Organic approach: We equip people to share their faith with others. It is every believer’s responsibility to share their faith with others. We do this joyfully and intentionally.
Organizational approach: We intentionally share the gospel at strategic events and times throughout the year. We do this through sermons, on the web, and through publications. We conduct outreach events that connect the church and community. We are committed to ministering to people in the congregation and within the community pointing them to Christ.
5. See 80% of Freshwater people connected with others in a group.
Everyone needs a group of people whom they can be real with. That is why we believe that circles are better than rows. This is why we are committed to helping people connect with one another in significant relationships.
Organic approach: We talk about growth groups, and encourage people to participate in them. Group leaders are encouraged to invite others to their group.
Organizational approach: We have a system in place that helps our growth group ministry to be well organized and healthy. New leaders are actively recruited on a regular basis, training is provided to them, and we have a pastor on staff who oversees the ministry.
6. Plant five new churches in five years.
Statistically, church planting is the fastest, most effective way to reach people for Christ and impact a community. This is why we are committed to planting new life-giving churches.
Organic approach: We encourage other churches to plant churches and provide new churches with much needed resources to launch strong. Some of these resources are money, some equipment, and some knowledge.
Organizational approach: We actively recruit church planters and challenge them to plant churches. We have also launched the Pastoral Leadership Institute and partnered with Crown College in order to train and equip church leaders and pastors.
7. Celebrate with over 2,000 people at all of our worship services in five years.
By helping lower the divorce rate, lower personal debt, help people struggling with mental health issues and addictions, and by sharing the gospel, we trust God to grow the church numerically.
Organic approach: Freshwater attenders are encouraged to invite at least one other person a month and help them to get connected with Christ and others. This approach emphasizes personal evangelism and encourages participation from the existing congregation.
Organizational approach: We are working very hard to ensure that our worship services are distraction free so that people can focus on growing in Christ. We have maximized our worship times and are planning on adding additional service times as needed to make room for all attenders.
8. Build and move into a new facility within five years that meets our needs and leverages our existing facilities. As this vision comes to reality, the current facilities are not large enough to handle the people who come.
Organic approach: Cast the vision to reach people for Christ and challenge the church to actively participate in it.
Organizational approach: The St. Bonifacius campus will be turned over to the Freshwater Learning Center so they can enroll more children in our excellent program. The Waconia campus will be used primarily as a Student Ministries campus and as a community center. A new site location will be identified to build a functional facility and a plan for raising funds will be followed. We will challenge the entire church and strategic partners to participate in funding the campus because it will be an effective ministry center for Freshwater and others.
I believe that God has great things for Freshwater in the next five years. The vision we have is a God-sized vision and will take faith to accomplish. This is the call to action. Please pray that God uses Freshwater in an amazing way to raise the spiritual climate of our community.
Thank you for your prayers and support!