Planning for Our Future
For 152 years, the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago has stood as a light in the city.
Through wars, economic hardship, pandemics, cultural change, prosperity, and an ever-changing neighborhood, our faith community has remained steadfast and resilient. Our faith calls us to embrace these challenges and opportunities bringing us closer to God and the work that embodies who we are as Presbyterians.
In addition to the Word of God calling us to periodically renew, there are external forces: the pandemic, social unrest, societal polarization, changing viewpoints on religion, and a heightened need for help from our community and neighbors all require us to find the best way to engage in this new reality and plan for uncertainties.
Further, our Fourth Church community is facing internal challenges as well: decreasing onsite attendance at services; decreasing pledges, offerings, and financial support; fewer volunteers to carry out our programs; less predictable participation from guests, students, and congregants; and shifting demands on our physical plant and digital platform.
Given these realities and in embrace of renewal, in late 2022 Shannon Kershner tasked a diverse group of church members with the responsibility of developing a long-range plan to ensure our strength and presence into the future.
The four guiding principles of the Long-Range Planning Task Force are
The planning process is guided by an outside consulting firm. Together they and the task force are charged with engaging you, the congregation, as well as pastoral staff, lay staff, guests, and partners to develop a three-to-five-year plan for Fourth Church.
The first step in this planning process began in January 2023 with the issuance of a request for proposals from consulting firms and the selection of consulting partners in the spring.
In June 2023 the Long-Range Planning Task Force met with current congregational leaders, the Senior Leadership Team, and pastoral staff to explore strategic opportunities and gather information before engaging the congregation, administrative staff, guests, and partners to co-create a three– to five–year plan for Fourth Church ministries.
Since then, the consultants working with the task force have been conducting individual conversations with clergy and other members of the staff as well as community partners. That gathering of information will be followed by engagement with the broader congregation.
Watch for details in late summer about how the task force will invite and receive congregational input to inform both our long-range plan and the Ministry Information Form needed to call our next Pastor.
The task force brings together individuals from different areas of the church and with a diversity of experience and viewpoints.
Eric Wu and Allison Youngblood are co-chairing the task force.
This is indeed an exciting time, as we look forward to co-creating this plan for our future together as Fourth Presbyterian Church!
If you have questions about the long-range planning work, please email them to the Long-Range Planning Task Force.