The Uniting with Neighbors workgroup and I extend a hearty thank you to all who influenced the development, release, and engagement of our mission survey and skills inventory. We are so grateful to the church lay leadership for sharing their support in conversation and other venues to encourage responses, and to Rev. Kendra Buckwalter Smith and Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley for their approval to fund and release the survey through Shadyside channels. We must highlight a deep gratitude for the Shadyside congregants who took time to have their voices heard on the mission survey, and especially those who raised their hands like Isaiah in God’s throne room to say, “Lord, send me,” by sharing their names and the skills they wish to lend to mission.
I must also thank the committee for their stalwart efforts to source, release, craft, and deploy the survey. During each Thursday meeting we held throughout the winter season, we largely discussed the survey and inventory, and those efforts are bearing fruit.
A total of 105 respondents participated, with 68 sharing their skills for our mission partners.
The survey responses revealed respondents’ passion for mission locally and abroad. A ministry of caring (16 of 60 free text responses included “caring” or similar words) and our international efforts (noted by 10 of 60 responses) are most-mentioned assets we should continue to develop.
Respondents indicated that areas needing more emphasis include a mechanism for individuals to discover their own gifts to support missions; participating in programs or services with other religious groups; and lastly, how to understand the use of money, time, and talents as expressions of Christian stewardship.
The respondents overwhelmingly echoed how personal involvement is meaningful, drawing them into vibrant relationship with our community (locally and globally), and, 79% said social justice is at the heart of the gospel. Knowing those most passionate about Shadyside Presbyterian Church feel this way about missions is emboldening and will continue to propel us to seek God’s Kingdom in this very broken world.
Elder Laura C. Duncan, Chair, Missions Committee of Session