Long Range Plan

September 18, 2016

The Long Range Team (see notes from July 31, 2016 below) met for their first time. This gathering was a time to set up some ground rules and get us started on this adventure. The team anticipates meeting, on average, every other week until their task is completed.

Please pray for this team as it has listened to the heartbeat of Westside (via the health surveys and Vision Night) and as they prayerfully listen to the heart of God. Further, be in prayer that their final presentation will be welcomed by the congregation as we prepare to take steps toward even greater intentionality in being the church God desires for us to be.


September 11, 2016

This long-awaited night proved to be incredibly rewarding! Around 150-200 Westside members showed up and gathered around tables in groups of 6-8. For the first hour, they interacted with data ("cliff notes") that had been gleaned from the church health surveys. The second hour allowed each table to send a spokesperson to the podium to share their insights, suggestions, and anything else they desired to say.

After this meeting, notes were collected from each table that was then presented to the Long Range Team.


July 31, 2016

At our regularly scheduled monthly business meeting, the Nominating Committee presented the following names to staff the new Long Range Team. These names were approved by a congregational vote:

Matt Ellis (Pastor)
Paul Rister (Chair of Deacons)
Linda Avery (Chair Personnel)
Carey Alexander (S.S. Superintendent)
Debbie Adams (Chair Budget)
Brandon Oliver (Chair Trustees)
Matt Tinsley (Chair Property & Space)
Ad Hoc Members - Ministerial Staff


July 24, 2016

On Sunday afternoon, a little less than 90 Westside members showed up to take a church health survey (some were unable to get to the church property so they will take it no later than a week after it was initially administered).

Todd Gray, the western regional consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention, administered each survey. At 1:45 PM, he gave instructions to those taking the written survey and prayed with them before getting them started. At 2:15 PM and then at 3:30 PM, Todd administered the oral church surveys with groups of about 12-15. He asked strategic, targeted questions and then listened and wrote down the responses from Westside members.

The information from Todd's oral survey has been compiled. The information from the written surveys should be back within 2-3 weeks.

Now what? What will this information be used for?

The Deacons and Pastor will sift through the information we gain about Westside and create a presentation worksheet. That information will be availabe to the church on September 11 when we have our church-wide Vision Night. Every Westside member is encouraged to attend. Everyone in attendance will be encouraged to interact with the information and answer questions among those sitting at their table. The second half of the meeting with provide opportunities for public reflections as someone steps to the microphone to facilitate the meeting.

All of this information will be provided to the Long Range Team and it will be incredibly valuable. Why? Because before we can assess where God is leading us and where we have some wonderful opportunities to grow, we need to first assess where we are and what problems need to be addressed. These surveys and the church-wide Vision Night will essentially let us listen to the heartbeat of Westside. The Long Range Plan will essentially, prayerfully be God's prescription.


July 6, 2016

At their regularly scheduled Deacons meeting, our Deacons and Pastor met to take care of a couple of matters that pertain to our Long Range process.

First, last month, Pastor Matt presented to the Deacons the names of men and women that he believed would serve well on the Long Range Team. After a month of prayer, the Deacon's approved the names. Now, those individuals will be contacted to confirm their desire to serve on the Long Range Team. If they are willing to serve, their names will be presented to the Nominating Committee. That committee will present those names to the church at a forthcoming regularly scheduled business meeting for a vote.

Second, the Deacons and Pastor met to select those would will take church health surveys. Sixty were selected to take the written survey and 30 were selected to take the written survey.


Why were only 90 people selected when there are 300 - 400 who attend Westside on an average Sunday?

The 60 person survey is being done by a professional, outside group called the Lawless Group. The Lawless Group (led by Chuck Lawless) has told us that a church our size needs only about 60 people, randomly chosen, to take the survey. Involving more than 60 will provide the same results ... but at a greater cost. This written survey will be facilitated by Todd Gray, a representative from the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

The group of 30 will be divided into 2 groups and will be interviewed by Todd Gray. This group, randomly selected, will provide great insight into the health of our church without having to poll everyone.

How were the 90 people selected?

The names of all active Westside members were separated into 3 age groups. Those age groupings were 18-39, 40-64, and 65 and up. Each name in those three groups was placed on a separate sheet of paper and placed into a box. Names were blindly pulled out of the box and presented to the Deacons. The only criterion for selection was attendance. If someone attends Sunday School and/or our Worship Service, their name was selected. If they no longer attend Westside, their name was not included. 

Those who were selected will receive a call from a Deacon informing them of their selection and whether they were randomly selected for the written or oral surveys. They will be asked to assist our church family by providing their opinions on the church health survey. These surveys will take place on Sunday afternoon, July 24th.

What will be done with the information gathered from these surveys?

We are told by the Lawless Group that the 60 person written survey will generate about 40 pages of information. The two 15 person oral surveys will generate a lot of helpful information that Todd Gray will compile and provide to us after his interviews.

We want to provide this information to Westside at our Sunday evening church-wide gathering on September 11. The whole church is invited to this gathering and the purpose will be for our church family to see the results of these surveys and then interact with  them. Essentially, everyone will be provided an opportunity to voice their opinions and reflections at this church-wide meeting.

Obviously, it would not be productive to provide 40+ pages of information to the church that evening (although, we desire to make the full report available to church members upon request after our September meeting.). So, the Pastor and Deacons will meet to decide which information would be the most helpful for Westside to interact with on Sept. 11. It is generally believed that the more serious and "negative" information should definitely be included so that Westside can see what problems need to be addressed.

Further, the survey results and the church-wide conversation will be invaluable information for the Long Range Team and the Pastor as they formally begin prayerfully creating a Long Range Plan after the church-wide September meeting.


June 5, 2016

At the request of Pastor Matt, Paul Rister (Chairman of Deacons) informed the church in our morning worship that there would be 2 opportunities for members of Westside to take a church health survey. Sixty members will take a written survey and two groups of 15 members will participate in a verbal health survey with Todd Gray, a representative from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. A final opportunity will be given to every member on September 11, 2016 on our "Church Vision Night" as we conclude our reflections on our church's health, opportunities to serve, and prayfully dreaming about possibilities for expanded ministries and opportunities.


May 22, 2016

The Deacons presented a motion at our regular monthly business meeting to form a Long Range Team. Specific names of individuals who will be nominated to be on this team will be presented at a later business meeting.

Also at the same business meeting, the Deacons presented a motion to provide a health survey to members of Westside. It is anticipated that 60 Westside members will take a health survey from the Lawless Group (http://www.thelawlessgroup.com). Another group(s) comprised of about 15 more people will be surveyed by a representive from the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Both of these surveys will take place on Sunday, July 24th.


May 5, 2016

Dear Church Family,

One of the many stories that we are currently celebrating at Westside is the incredible speed at which our debt is being retired. Paying off "old debt" as quickly as we have been doing doesn't happen often in churches. I have to believe that God is enabling us to do this and I can't wait to have the "Note Burning" next year as we praise Him and thank Him for what He did.

I have been excited to observe that there is a growing desire to discover what we will do after we retire our debt. What is the next challenge? What is the target at which we are aiming our sites? What are some God-sized goals that we are to claim and obtain for His glory and our good?

So, at the regular monthly business meeting on May 22, the Deacons will present a motion to form a Long Range Team. In either the June or July business meeting, the Nominating Committee will present the names that the Deacons and I believe would serve the church and the Lord well on the team and ask for the church's vote of affirmation.

I will begin meeting with Long Range Team immediately for the sole purpose of praying together. There is much work left to be done before we get to work. We need to know where we are as a church. We need to listen intently to the heartbeat of Westside. In order to do this, we anticipate asking 60 WBC members to take a health survey that will take about 30-60 minutes to complete. We also anticipate asking about 30-45 WBC members to participate in a group discussion with a KBC representative who will use their responses to assess Westside's health. Further, we will also have a church-wide "Vision Night" in September where every single Westside member is invited to have an opportunity to interact with church and community data to help us assess Westside's health (more details to follow).

With all of the previous information in hand, and with a good feel for the heartbeat of Westside Baptist Church, I will begin working with the Long Range Team to formalize what our target is and what goals we will set and celebrate along the way.

Please be in prayer throughout this process. We want what God wants. To be right in the middle of God's will, we will need to spend much time in prayer. Can I count on you to pray for Westside, the Long Range Team and me?

If you will join me in praying, set your watch for 9:11 AM and let's pray together, wherever we are, for God to intervene, protect us from the enemy (Satan), and to empower us to do great things for His Kingdom!

An 85-year-old Caleb demonstrated his faith in the Lord and his passion to do great things for Him when he told Joshua to "give me that mountain" (Joshua 14:10-12). Let's anticipate doing great things as God leads and empowers us for His glory.

"With God's help we will do mighty things..." (Psalm 60:12)

Serving HIM together,
Pastor Matt