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Century 3

making a difference for christ

2020 Visioning Summary

In the year 2026, Manchester United Methodist Church will begin “Century 3” as a congregation. After 200 years of faithful ministry, Manchester UMC is poised to launch into our third century with renewed energy and purpose.

To embrace this historic moment, in October of 2020 Manchester United Methodist Church undertook a church-wide visioning process themed “Turning the World Upside Down”. This phrase from Acts 17 describes followers of Jesus as “these people who have been turning the world upside down” in the community of Thessalonica with a spiritual energy that created deep bonds within the church.

During the series we broke into small groups composed of those who were connected with the congregation and asked questions like: “Can the church ‘turn the world upside down’ again?” “What would it look like to ‘turn the world upside down’ here and now?” and “What can Manchester UMC learn about energy, community, and vision from the story of Paul and the Thessalonians?”

Four Areas of Ministry Focus

After reviewing the raw data from the congregation’s responses to the visioning questions, the appointed clergy of Manchester UMC offer the following summary based on the common themes that we saw emerge from the answers offered. The hope is that this will move the congregation toward a vision for the next four years of our work together.

Recently, the Leadership Board approved the strategic goals for each area of ministry. That detailed document can be found HERE. The goals are also listed in each area as well.

Over the next season, Manchester UMC should focus energy and resources in these four areas of ministry: 

Sharing the Good News with the community, and inviting people into relationships.

Many of the responses we read affirmed that the congregation is diverse in political perspectives, despite the demographic make-up of the congregation being less diverse than the surrounding community. In order to truly be an “inclusive community of people” and embrace the welcome statement that so many are drawn to, all people, and in particular those who have been excluded from or marginalized by other communities, need to find authentic affirmation and welcome when participating in the ministries of Manchester UMC.

The Engagement Team members:

Engagement Builders Strategist Members:

  • Rev. Andy Blacksher – Staff Leader
  • Doug Christopher
  • Tiffany Conway
  • Chris Kennedy
  • Isabelle Massey
  • Denise McCartney

Engagement Builders Strategists Team Meeting Minutes:

Strategic Goals:

Develop strategies that foster a culture where more people are invited, welcomed, and engaged with Manchester UMC.

  1. Identify the needs and preferences of the groups of people Manchester UMC hopes to reach by Century 3 and share those learnings with the congregation by December 2022.
  2. Offer a best-in-class digital presence that meets the evolving needs of the diverse audiences served by Manchester UMC by December 2023.
  3. Implement strategies to equip the people of Manchester UMC to talk about, invite and welcome other into the church community by December 2024
Giving as an integral part of discipleship, as an act of gratitude and praise.

Participants of this study observed that the congregation is quite generous when specific fundraisers are announced, but regular, undesignated tithing has not been prioritized and can be an opportunity for growth at Manchester UMC.

There is a need to deepen the congregation’s understanding of “healthy” financial discipleship, as many members see their offerings as a charitable donation rather than an act that emerges out of the baptismal vows. In order to create a cultural shift in the way its members view generosity, the congregation needs to view giving as a joyful and on-going way to participate in all ministries of the church instead of just an emphasis during one season of the year.

Generosity Strategist Team Members:

  • Rev. Andy Bryan & Phil Estes – Staff Leaders
  • Rev. David Bennett – Lay Leader
  • Rev. Dave Bennett
  • Chessey Brenton
  • Emily Garetson
  • Jill Krogen
  • Tom Lawrence
  • Susanne Mertens
  • Kim West
  • Bryan White

Below are the meeting minutes from the Generosity Strategists:

Strategic Goals:

  1. Grow undesignated giving annually by 3% (over time tie % growth to cost of living and/or the “investment” needed to “do ministry”.
  2. Generosity (financial giving) will be understood as Discipleship, not fundraising, by 10% more of the people of the church annually. (Do an annual survey as an interactive part of the annual report. Establish baseline 2022).
  3. Promote intentional giving as a percentage of income on at least a quarterly basis; best year-round.
  4. In cooperation with the Leadership Board, reduce/consolidate fundraisers to 5/year with a goal of 25 fewer by 2026 (TBD).
  5. Reduce/consolidate all-church fundraisers frequency to three times per year by 2026. (Current seasonal mission strategy includes an Easter focus and a Christmas focus with funds distribution on a Grant Process Model.)
Transforming the world for God’s sake.

Manchester UMC is active in the community by the many opportunities available to serve through the congregation. Because of this broad focus on service, it may impact certain ministries more than others and spread their resources thin.

It is important to emphasize the idea of serving in the name of Christ rather than for one’s own interests.  Manchester’s emphasis on social justice ministry was noted in multiple conversations where views differed on how involved the church should be in related issues.  By providing a more hyper-focused description of this ministry, Manchester UMC can be more intentional with service opportunities.

Missions / Social Justice Strategist Team Members:

  • Liz Shuburte – Staff Leader
  • Ali Fields – Staff Leader
  • Heather Kellenberger – Lay Leader
  • John Heskett
  • Maurice Parisien
  • Cindy Steiner
  • Becky Strickland
  • Wes Vega
  • Dave Warmbrodt

Missions / Social Justice Strategists Meeting Minutes:

Strategic Goals:

  1. Onboard paid social justice employee by September 2022
  2. Familiarize Manchester UMC’s community and increase awareness of ministries and resources available through increased and engaging communication. By 2023 30% of church population will be aware of the different missions and social justice ministries.
  3. Implementation of a governance and accountability system within the social justice ministries by 2026.
    1. Quarterly meetings with minutes and attendance
    2. Identification of social justice initiatives and subsequent prioritization
    3. Integrate the social justice impact into applicable mission ministries
  4. Engage outside expert resources in the realm of social justice to inform and counsel on how best to organize to serve and make a difference in the church community.
Embracing the role as a lead congregation in the area, conference, and denomination.

In our community, in the Gateway Central District, the Missouri Annual Conference, and across the denomination, Manchester UMC has consistently led the way. With a formidable staff, ample resources, a rich tradition, and a spirit of innovation and creativity, this congregation has much to offer in the district, the annual conference, and across the entire denomination. As denominational controversy about marriage and ordination of people in the LGBT+ community looms, Manchester UMC should seize this opportunity, claiming our identity as a “flagship” congregation in the United Methodist Church. Leadership opportunities that provide coaching and training to other congregations while collaborating with ministries will set the tone for the future.

Connectionalism Strategist Team Members:

  • Rev. Andy Bryan – Staff Leader
  • Mary Beth Harper – Lay Leader
  • Linda Horodenski
  • Ethan Massey
  • Roxanne Miller
  • Barb Stevens
  • Becky Strickland
  • Dick Vreeland

Connectionalism Strategists Meeting Minutes:

Strategic Goals:

  1. By 2026, the mission, vision, and values of Manchester UMC will be clarified and aligned, so that each ministry will authentically reflect the identity of the congregation and each member will be equipped to share Manchester UMC’s story around the community and across the connection.
    1. The Leadership Board will convene a Vision Task Force that will include staff, board members, and laity. This task force will
      1. Assess the current Mission, Vision, and Welcome statements to discern their sufficiency in clearly expressing the mission, vision, values, and identity of Manchester UMC.
      2. Reframe and/or recreate these statements as needed, so that they accurately and effectively communicate the congregation’s story.
      3. Complete their work by January 2023.
    2. As the Task force completes their work, the Connectionalism Strategy Team will work with staff to develop a plan for communicating the reframed or recreated statements throughout the congregation, the community, and across the connection.
  2. By 2026, it is likely that the United Methodist Church will experience a formal division over the issue of full inclusion of LGBTQ+ people. In this uncertain time, Manchester UMC will embrace the responsibility of servant leadership, and affirm its commitment to a hopeful, vibrant, fully inclusive, and thoroughly Methodist ethos within the denomination. In doing so, Manchester UMC will
    1. Provide learning opportunities, led by the faith formation staff, so the congregation deepens our understanding of our Wesleyan heritage and theology, the work of the general agencies of the United Methodist Church, the significance of the apportionment, and other United Methodist beliefs and practices.
    2. Strengthen relationships with United Methodist congregations in our area by regularly convening social, educational, artistic, and other connectional gatherings.
    3. Remain faithful to the mission, vision, and values of the congregation as the denomination reforms, to ensure that all are not only welcome but celebrated as members of the Body of Christ.

Opportunities to be involved

Four teams have been formed to work on each area of ministry. These four teams will meet over the next several months to discern specific ways that Manchester might be able to flourish in each particular area. The goal is for each team to establish strategic goals by the end of this calendar year, and begin implementing the strategies in January of 2022.

Team Leaders:

  • Engagement Builders – Rev. Jim Peich and Tina Sayers
  • Generosity – Rev. Phil Estes and Rev. David Bennett
  • Mission/Social Justice – Liz Shuburte and Heather Kellenberger
  • Connectionalism – Rev. Andy Bryan and Mary Beth Harper

It is not too late to be involved! Each team may need to reach out to others in the congregation to be a part of specific aspects of this important work. It might mean helping plan an event or sharing knowledge of a specific topic, or any number of things that haven’t been thought of yet. We are calling this group “Advocates.”

Manchester UMC’s Advocates will support each area of focus by periodically being called on to share ideas, experiences, or advice in Evangelism/Engagement, Generosity, Service/Social Justice, or Connectionalism. Advocates will have the opportunity to participate in events and programs related to their focus area, and can commit as much time as desired.

If you would like to be considered an “Advocate,” please email Andy Bryan.



If you have any questions about Century 3, please email Pastor Andy Bryan.



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