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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 

2022 is just around the corner! 2021 has been a “post-pandemic” bust for most in terms of hopes and expectations, but it has taught us a lot. We can’t underestimate the life changing effects of the never-ending pandemic in our culture, politics, economy, personal lives, and churches. So we look ahead in hope to 2022. Where will we be? What changes do we need to make? What are our hopes and goals? How do we get there? 

These are all questions your called pastors, staff, and elected leaders on council, and chamber have been asking, wrestling with, praying over, and tackling over all of 2021 in conversation with church members. 2021-2022 is a new world so if we want a different result, we can’t keep doing things the same way. Expect to see changes and proposed changes reflected in our 2022 budget which is thoughtfully prepared as a basis for your input and questions.  This preparation has been ongoing for months and is informed by the faithful work of our Staff, Finance team, and the special council-appointed Finance Task Force to analyze effects of the pandemic on our giving and our financial systems, along with our participation in the Synod based consulting program, Stewardship for All Seasons. All changes are based on mission-forward thinking which calls for restructuring our staffing to fit the needs of the future. Remember we’ve already created the new staff role of Director of Adult Ministries & Missional Service building partnerships with nonprofits near the Gilbert and Tempe sites. Watch for more exciting changes and partnerships giving us the possibility of future opportunities to share in ministry alliances. 

Meanwhile church council is working on strategic planning sessions September – November. To create a 2022 Strategic Plan, we applied all we learned over the 2020 shutdown and the innovative ways we overcame obstacles with new digital and hybrid ministry, along with the future-forward results of the 2019 listening sessions, plus our learning in 2021 from seminars and trainings for hybrid ministry. The proposed strategic plan and supporting budget will be presented for your input and questions at our Congregational meeting on December 5th.   

Change and uncertainty for the future cause a formula for anxiety which can produce fear, distrust, and urgency. In times such as these we ask for your patience, confidence, and trust in your leadership’s thoughtful and faithful formulation of a proposed future plan. In a large system such as Desert Cross, it is all about proper timing in releasing information and making sure we do the groundwork before we open up topics for productive discussion. DCLC has a solid procedure for a two-way partnership between congregation and leadership, and we need to continue to trust that process. Please know that we are excited to share all of this with you in December, and we look forward to hearing from you as we look ahead to 2022! 

In the meantime, lean on the wise words of Proverbs 23:18:

“There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” 

With eyes of faith, Pastor Andrea