"We have all been listening and discerning what our long term direction is as a church," deVega said. "The church just celebrated 150 years in August and is the oldest church in Cherokee. This vision clarifies for us what our goals should be the next 12 years."
The church has built a four-part mission statement promising to worship with joy, grow in their faith through discipleship, care for each other through fellowship, and serve one another by sharing. It might sound like an easy job but the tasks the people are taking on are both large and time consuming.
St. Paul's is currently without a youth director and is looking to build a ministry for its youth and then search for a person to fill the position. That means the congregation will start the program from scratch and find the funding for it within their budget, and is hoping to do so by next summer.
The next big project is starting four new small group ministries by this fall for not only church members but also people with in the Cherokee community. Classes will be a mixture of short-term, long-term, in-depth and beginner courses that will also include special groups for young families and men according to the vision statement.
"The adoption of the long term plan was unanimously approved," deVega said. "It clarifies for us what are marching orders should be."
Another important aspect of the statement is starting a Helping Hands program within the church. The congregation would like to connect the needs of people in the congregation with those who are able to offer assistance. Although the church members reach out and help those in need now, this would offer a formal program with numerous people involved to help more people at one time and have a quicker response to those in need.
St. Paul's most noticeable change will be a capitol campaign to do facility and campus renovations. The church is hoping to increase the parking spaces on at least one side of the church, update the kitchen, fellowship hall and Feller Lounge, renovate the three-story education wing to make it more energy efficient, and also renovate the basement of the education wing to make it more multi-purpose.
All together, St. Paul is implementing a 20-page vision that will make the church and its members more able to serve God and his people.
"It was important for us to figure out who we are and not just what we do," he said. "This vision is to help make sure all of our energy is moving in the same direction as we are called to put God's love into action."