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Vision Implementation Team Final Report

Proverbs tells us that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” And the prophet Habbakuk calls us to “write the vision and make it plain.” Three and a half years ago, our church began a visioning process that resulted in a clear framework for claiming God’s future for us. We are called to deepen our commitment to Jesus, widen the reach of God’s love for others, unite together in common purpose, and make adaptive changes to accomplish our mission.

Little did we know when we adopted our vision plan in 2018 that the subsequent years of implementing that vision would prepare us to not only survive a pandemic but thrive over this past year. Even more remarkably, this vision is setting us on a trajectory to meet the needs of a culture that will continue changing far beyond COVID-19, and will enable us to deepen, widen, unite, and adapt for many years to come.

The following is the final report of the Implementation Team, made up of seven lay people and two staff, who coordinated the work of over eighty persons on 12 different initiative teams. This report details all that we have accomplished as a church since the vision plan was adopted, and further adaptations we will be making to live into God’s future for Hyde Park United Methodist. We give thanks to God for granting us this vision, and for the many people whose tireless efforts enabled us to write it down in the following pages, and make it plain.


Worship Team:

  • Worship placed greater emphasis on technology which enabled us to accommodate our COVID reality on fully online offerings.
  • Ministry Leadership Council (MLC) approved reducing the number of worship services to four.

Organizational and Staffing Teams:

  • Revised Hyde Park United Methodist organizational structure aligned along ministry area lines.
  • Staff Parish Relations committee (SPR) hired an Executive Director, to ensure programmatic alignment, supervision of staff and overall communications strategy.
  • SPR hired a new Director of Discipleship, and expanded the scope of the position to better align with our seven spiritual practices and organizational structure.
  • SPR established stronger alignment between the Minister of The Portico and the Minister of Missions and Outreach to establish and advance the missional identity of The Portico campus.
  • SPR hired a technology assistant to better handle the increased scope of media production.
  • MLC Executive Team approved establishing a lay led, more empowered Small Blessings Advisory Team responsible to the MLC. The team will provide policy oversight.

Portico and Café Teams:

  • Launched several fresh expressions groups (Social Justice, Paddle with Purpose, etc.)
  • MLC Executive Team approved establishing a lay-led, more empowered Portico Advisory Team – responsible to the MLC – to provide policy oversight.

Communications Team:

  • Finance Committee funded a website revamp.

Discipleship Team:

  • Bible Project 2020 addressed the desire for diving deeper into the Bible.

Invitation and Connection Teams:

  • Adopted a digital/content strategy to produce a world-class online experience and outsourced the task under Executive Director oversight.
  • Adopted consistent protocols for posting, hashtag use, and identification of major social channels used (with links to Communications) and outsourced through Brand Minded.

Missions Team:

  • Updated Mission and Outreach funding criteria to more closely reflect Vision priorities
  • Consolidated the number of supported missions from 51 to 29
  • Sustained and expanded the Dunbar Elementary School initiative, providing opportunities to engage entire congregation and deeper individual involvement

Debt and Property Team:

  • A 2020 Church Conference approved purchasing the medical office for $1.04 million, and the sale of the Cedar Street property.
  • Finance Committee increased the Capital Reserve account to $473,000

If you wish to receive a copy of the complete report as a .pdf file, please send an email to vision@hydeparkumc.org.

Vision Plan Implementation Team Update

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

God has uniquely equipped Hyde Park United Methodist for an exciting future: one where we are making God’s love real, in which people will be connected people into loving community, transformed to be more like Jesus, and equipped to teach others how to live life as God intends. Claiming that future involves adapting to the challenges of the present. Just like the early church did thousands of years ago, we must tailor our practices to reach an ever-changing population in Tampa and beyond. Our mission is the same; some of the ways we fulfill that mission must be adapted to the times.

Here is a reminder of where we have been over the last two years, and an update on where we are heading:

  • The Vision Team synthesized a year’s worth of information from meetings with hundreds of church members and visitors, staff and lay leaders; through ministry assessments; open-invitation visioning chats with more than 200 participants; and a congregation-wide survey with more than 700 respondents; among other outreach.
  • A long-term strategic Vision plan was voted on and unanimously approved at a Church Conference on Dec. 17, 2018. It sets the foundation for deepening our faith, widening our outreach, and uniting together in the love of God (read more). The Vision plan:
    1. Names opportunities and challenges we face as we seek to fulfill our mission in a changing culture
    2. Identifies facts bearing on the challenges we face
    3. Sets the framework and rationale for what, in some cases, need to be major changes in our approach to ministry
    4. Makes recommendations for next steps and follow on actions
  • An Implementation Team (seven volunteers and two staff members) was established by the Committee on Lay Leadership, as part of a decision at the Dec. 17, 2018 Church Conference, to shepherd the process and the work of the lay teams.
  • 12 Initiative teams, made up of 77 volunteers and 10 staff members, were formed in February, 2019 and are focusing on each recommendation from the Vision Team:
    • Worship
    • Communications, Stewardship
    • The Portico
    • The Portico Cafe
    • Organization
    • Staffing
    • Connection
    • Discipleship
    • Debt / Property
    • Invitation and
    • Missions
  • Each team is working on recommendations. Teams are considering a wide range of topics, including ways to enhance our worship services, easy ways for new people to connect with small groups and missions opportunities, better ways to communicate, and how to increase our biblical literacy. (Read more about each team’s focus)  Teams have met an average of four to six times. Some teams will complete their work this summer, and others will continue working through November.
  • No decisions have been made yet. Proposals will first be reviewed by the Implementation Team. Depending on the nature and scope of the proposal, approval may need to come from the Ministry Leadership Council and, in some cases, by a called church conference. Initiatives will be implemented as the overall timeline develops.
  • Next steps in ministry together will be communicated along the way as things become clearer. Your Hyde Park staff and Implementation Team will share information via our website, bulletin, eNews and email.

If you’d like to offer comments or ask questions at any point in the process, you can email the team at vision@hydeparkumc.org.

Vision Team Update

Church Conference Approved Recommendations on Dec. 17

The congregation of Hyde Park United Methodist unanimously voted to adopt our long-term strategic plan. It sets the foundation for deepening our faith, widening our outreach, and uniting together in the love of God.

View Magrey’s statement on the “State of Religion and Culture Today”

Town Hall Gathering recap

For more than 14 months, a team of 16 people representing our congregation has been hard at work engaging all the members of this church, our staff, our programs, and our missions. We have undertaken this sustained Visioning process knowing we have a special and enduring calling in a dynamic and changing world: to make God’s love real in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, and to all the people we can.

The Vision Team has synthesized a year’s worth of information from meetings with hundreds of church members and visitors, staff and lay leaders; through ministry assessments; open-invitation visioning chats with more than 200 participants; and a congregation-wide survey with more than 700 respondents; among other outreach.

In July and August, the Vision team issued a church-wide survey, and your response was truly amazing. 710 people took part in the survey, a sample that well represents every cross-section of our congregation. We had proportionate representation from those who attend each of our worship services and perspectives from both those who are new to Hyde Park and those who have been here for decades. Survey participants provided literally thousands of written responses to open-ended questions, each of which has been thoughtfully read.

So what’s next in this process? The Vision Team is prayerfully reviewing content from the many Visioning Chats that were held in the spring; meetings with small groups; data looking at attendance, demography and community attitudes; and the survey. The team is synthesizing their findings from these efforts, which will result in recommendations to this church. Those recommendations will be widely shared via town-hall-style gatherings, after which we will all be invited to a church conference to vote on them. Please continue to keep this process in prayer.

Vision Survey Recap

Thank you! 720 people participated and responded with thousands of written responses to open-ended questions.

Vision Chat Recap

It is with deep gratitude that we express our appreciation to everyone who participated in a Vision Chat this spring.

Close to 200 members of our congregation contributed openly and generously in these important conversations as part of our sustained effort to discern how the Spirit intends to use Hyde Park United Methodist– its people, its service and its worship – to make God’s love real and make disciples, both today and in the future. We had congregation-wide open chats as well as focused meetings with specific groups (the youth, previous leadership, choir and Joyful Praise Team, 20s and 30s.)

We had chats open to the entire congregation as well as focused meetings with specific groups, including current and former leaders, our 20s and 30s ministry, our youth, small groups, and the Chancel Choir and Joyful Praise Team, just to name a few.

Together, we explored and wrestled with challenging questions about our high calling as Christ’s church in Tampa, asking:

  • How can Hyde Park United Methodist deepen its discipleship?
  • How can Hyde Park United Methodist extend its reach into the community and the world?
  • How can Hyde Park United Methodist adapt to cultural changes?

In response, you shared personal anecdotes, perspectives, meditations, observations, and revelations, all of which are shaping and being incorporated into the next step in our listening phase of this initiative: a congregational survey.

This online survey is being developed now and will be rolled out this summer in June or July. We’ll communicate the survey widely and look forward to deepening this conversation with you.

What are we doing?

  • Engaging a sustained effort to discern how the Spirit intends to use Hyde Park – it’s people, its service, and its worship – to make God’s love real (John 21:15-17) and make disciples (Matthew 28:19), both today and in the future

Why are we doing this?

  • God is calling Hyde Park UMC to an exciting future: one where we are making God’s love real in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, and to all the people we can

Why now?

  • The world is changing, and people think the world is becoming more separated and more divided.
  • Our mission to Make God’s Love Real hasn’t changed. Our goals of sharing the message of God’s grace and forgiveness, bringing healing to our city and the world, and inviting people to follow Jesus are as urgent as ever.
  • We can no longer assumethe church has the same stature, authoritative voice or appeal as it once did in our culture. The world is changing and Tampa is changing, too.
  • Hyde Park can play an important and practical role as repairer and restorer of the divisions we see in the world. (Isaiah 58:12)

What have we done so far?

  • Met with leaders of the church’s ministries
  • Met with the church’s elected committee leaders
  • Met with program staff
  • Asked for the congregation’s “headline” visions
  • Reviewed data on the demographics and engagement of our church members
  • Engaged in focused conversations with nearly 200 church members through Vision Chats

Where are we in the process now?

  • Listening mode and further data gathering – with a congregational survey being distributed in July. We’ll communicate the survey widely and look forward to deepening this conversation with you.

What do we need from the people of Hyde Park?

  • Be in prayer that our congregation hears and discerns the Spirit’s word to us
  • Participate in the upcoming congregational survey