Long-Range Planning

Planning for Our Future

Launching a Planning Process

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 process so far

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.

The consultants then worked with the task force to conduct individual conversations with clergy and other members of the staff as well as community partners. That gathering of information was followed by engagement with the broader congregation.

In late summer 2023 the task force emailed a survey to the entire congregation to gather responses and comments to inform both our long-range plan and the Ministry Information Form that is needed to call our next Pastor.

September 2023 began a season of discernment for the Long-Range Planning Task Force as they worked through the comments and suggestions from the survey and interviews. That information and input provide the foundational work from which the long-range plan is being developed.

Town Hall and Feedback Sessions

In October 2023 the task force presented two town hall sessions, during which they shared the draft strategic directives coming out of the information gathered. There was also opportunity, as part of the presentation, to offer feedback.

View the October 15 town hall here. You an also read the October 15 presentation slides online.

In November 2023, the task force held two town halls to take a more in-depth look at the long-range planning work.

View the November 12 town hall here. You can also read the November presentation slides online as well as the summary and analysis of key themes appearing in the survey and interview feedback.

These town halls were followed in January and February 2024 with listening sessions at which the task force shared the strategic plan directions with the congregation and gathered their feedback.

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.



126 E. Chestnut Street
(at Michigan Avenue)
Chicago, Illinois 60611.2014
(Across from the Hancock)

For events in the Sanctuary,
enter from Michigan Avenue

Getting to Fourth Church

Receptionist: 312.787.4570

Directory: 312.787.2729



© 1998—2023 Fourth Presbyterian Church