The following is the final draft of our revised mission statement, the “Vision Frame,” for consideration as a part of Shepherd at 50. Page 1 includes the proposed modifications to our mission and values. Pages 2 and 3 provides background to the process involved.
These elements were drafted by our Shepherd at 50 Mission and Vision Subcommittee:
Pastor Chris Kennedy, Senior Pastor
Alice Klement, Director of Equipping Ministries
Facilitator: Nick Arnold, Director of Student Ministry
One project, two components: From its inception, Shepherd at 50 has had two areas of focus: a building project at 6914 Wurzbach and a church plant in growing west/northwest San Antonio. Please keep in mind:
Both components, along with a new mission and vision statements, will be voted on as one comprehensive package. The vote is scheduled to take place at a specially called congregational meeting in February.
If approved, there will be one fund drive. Ten percent, or a tithe, of the capital drive would be dedicated to the church plant. The larger portion – 90 percent – would be for the building project at 6914 Wurzbach.
The funds for church planting are start-up costs for a pastor and other expenses. We are NOT seeking to conduct two building projects simultaneously (one at Wurzbach and one at the church plant). The church plant will gather people first and form its own congregation. The new congregation eventually will build its own facilities, if it chooses to build.
Master plan due Nov. 21: The architecture firm contracted for the campus master plan, LPA, is processing all of the feedback received in the two town hall meetings and from staff surveys. LPA will deliver the master plan to Shepherd at 50 leadership Nov. 21. The master plan will be made available to the congregation in December.
Infant program waiting list: The biggest growth area for Shepherd school and child care is infants. Right now, 17 infants are on the waiting list, many of them not yet born. A building project would allow us to reconfigure our campus space, ideally opening up more space to expand our infant program and touch more lives with the Gospel.
The harvest is plentiful: Our target area for a church plant, the far west/northwest side of town, is bursting at the seams with new residents. No doubt, this area is in need of churches to reach all of these people! One family tried to drive from Alamo Ranch to worship at Shepherd for the 6 p.m. Saturday service. They left home at 5:15 and didn’t reach 1604 until 5:45. After sitting in construction and traffic until 6:30 – on a Saturday evening! – the family decided to turn around and go home. This family lives in an increasingly packed area, and demographic statistics show that the vast majority moving in are unchurched! Let me be clear: The goal of a church plant in this part of town is not to provide a more convenient location for those already attending church but to have a local ministry for the influx of new residents who don’t know Jesus.
Church plant gaining momentum: New developments …
Church planting town hall meeting is 12:30-2:00 Sunday, Oct. 23. A boxed lunch and child care will be provided. The meeting is open to all – church members, school and child care families, and the community. Pastor Pete Mueller, leader of a Lutheran church planting network in Austin, will share his expertise with us.
On Sept. 26, Pastor David Barber, director of Open Arms Institute, met with the church planting sub-committee. Pastor Barber helps churches start new churches by opening child care centers. A child care center is one strategy the church planting team is considering.
Three members of the church planting sub-committee – Pastor Aaron and Mike and Pam Dau – attended a Lutheran church planting conference in Austin on Sept. 27-28.
Pastor Aaron is doing a “church planting publicity tour,” meeting with small groups in the church to cast the vision, answer questions, and receive feedback.
Khristi Moritz is leading the church planting prayer team. Prayer support is critical!
The Shepherd at 50 committee has been working diligently over the summer to continue to develop a detailed plan to expand our ministry into the future. The latest milestones in the process:
Town hall meeting: The Aug. 13 meeting was a great success! 140 people attended. Round tables were filled with church members and school families. Those gathered provided input for our architect project manager on perceived facility needs at Shepherd. The input is currently being analyzed and will be shared at a follow-up town hall meeting Sept. 11, 12:30 in the gym. A boxed sandwich lunch will be provided.
Master plan fund drive: The congregation approved $40,000 from savings to pay for the campus master plan. The church is requesting donations to replenish the funds. Please consider making a contribution to offset this first important step in a building project or renovation. Master plan fund envelopes are in the lobby to the right of the welcome center. You also may write a check with “master plan” in the memo line or donate online.
Open Arms consultant: The church planting sub-committee has arranged for a consultant from Open Arms Institute to visit with committee members on Sept. 26. Open Arms is an LCMS organization that helps start child care centers as a base for planting a church. Find out more about Open Arms
Church planter: The church planting sub-committee is looking at options for calling a full-time church planter. The church planter would work at Shepherd for about a year before working exclusively on the church plant. Options are to call an existing pastor from the field or to call a seminary candidate. The deadline for submitting paperwork to the seminary is March 1.
Technology: The school enhancement sub-committee discussed the importance of up-to-date technology in education. Technology wish lists are being submitted to the architect. A building project would need to include infrastructure to accommodate current and future technology needs.
Mission statement: The vision and mission sub-committee is designing a new set of directives for Shepherd. The mission statement is: “Leading people into a life-changing relationship with Jesus.” A programming strategy and individual growth measures have been developed, too. A revision of congregational values is the final piece the sub-committee is wordsmithing.
Further updates: This Web page is a great source for ongoing updates. An in-person update will be given at the congregational meeting, 9:30 Sept. 25 in the gym. The campus master plan is scheduled to be prepared in November and will be discussed in detail at the Nov. 20 congregational meeting.
Questions? Comments? If you have any input about Shepherd at 50, please speak to any committee member, oversight planning chairman Dr. TJ Redmann, or Pastor Chris Kennedy. A comment box is available at the bottom of the Shepherd at 50 page as well.
God has done and continues to do amazing things through the people at Shepherd of the Hills. Our legacy began when the Texas District of the LCMS planted the Northwest Mission Church. Later renamed to Shepherd of the Hills, reaching this expanding region of San Antonio has always been a part of our DNA. For the past fifty years, many people have come to know the love and grace that God gives us through Jesus. We’ve seen lives changed, people rescued, and God growing us through his Word and Sacraments.
We are approaching a crossroads as we near our fifty year anniversary in 2019. This is when many institutions begin to grow inward and focus on how to maintain their own existence. For churches, this can involve abandoning the mission to reach the lost and focus on making people happy. This, however, has never been a reality at Shepherd of the Hills. We want our fiftieth anniversary to be about God’s intended future for our congregation and our role in reaching our community.
The Shepherd at 50 is a single project to, with the help of the Holy Spirit, launch our congregation beyond our fiftieth birthday and into the future. It includes three main components: 1) upgrade facilities at our Wurzbach campus, 2) plant a new church in the Far West region of town, and 3) develop a long-term vision and discipleship strategy.
Component #1: Upgrade facilities at our Wurzbach campus
The Campus Facilities and Enhance School subcommittees are working on plans for a new building that would include needed facilities for the school such as a larger gym with a stage, more classrooms, a band hall, as well as multi-purpose usage for church events such as large group Bible studies, an alternative worship service, fellowship events, and receptions.
Component #2: Plant a new church in the Far West region of town
The Mission Church Subcommittee is working on plans for a church plant in the growing outer areas of west/northwest San Antonio. These regions to the west and northwest of Loop 1604 far outpace San Antonio’s population growth and are some the fastest growing areas in the country. The purpose of planting a new congregation would be for as many people to hear and come to know the Gospel as possible.
The Shepherd at 50 vision would involve a capital campaign to raise money for the building, with a tithe (one tenth) of the funds being set aside for start-up costs for the daughter or satellite church.
Component #3: Develop a long-term vision and discipleship strategy
A third component was added as our team desired to look not just to Shepherd at 50, but also Shepherd at 60, 70, and beyond.
The Mission & Vision Subcommittee has been tasked with revisiting and revising our current vision and mission statements (“To be a place of refuge in a stormy world.”) to better reflect our unique call to make disciples in the Northwest region of San Antonio. This subcommittee, made up of staff and congregation members (including both representation from the Board of Directors and Board of Elders and Deaconesses), have been meeting on a monthly basis to pray, discuss and discern what makes Shepherd unique and how we can best communicate that to members and guests.
The intent is not to remove the “place of refuge” language we’ve come to know and love, but to adopt a clearer statement as our mission to guide our staff and lay leaders. While “refuge” is a compelling idea, it could mean one hundred things to one hundred different people. We want vision and mission statements that are clear because a building project and a church plant (and whatever else God leads us to do in the future) are no small projects. Seeking God’s vision for our congregation is our #1 priority as it provides a foundation for everything else we do.