Biggest Needs of Highland Family in 2021

In looking over written and/or verbal feedback from our Deacons and Ministry Council, the following themes seemed to emerge.

  • We need peace, and even joy, in the midst of our weariness. We need to know we’re not alone.
    • “We are feeling isolated and weary.”
    • “For me, part of the weariness is the continual alignment with crisis. As if there wasn’t enough chaos in the world before 2020!”
    • “I would like to identify more with those who actively live out of calm rather than chaos, confidence in the midst of anxiety, trust in the midst of doubt.”
  • We need support and resources for mental health.
    • “Data shows that we are in the worst mental health crisis since WW2. And what will the toll be long-term for those struggling and not able to talk about it?”
    • “We see it underlying various situations. We also read it in the silence.”
    • “We need a stronger ministry to the recovery community.”
    • “I think mental health is a big concern right now. [The counselors I know] say they have more work than they have ever had before! How does the church reach out and help?”
  • We need stronger connection and community.
    • “Keeping up connection and love, sharing acceptance, helps to ground people. Finding unique ways to keep in touch.”
    • “People felt isolated by 4-weekend worship services, Bible studies, and now they’re isolated even more. They’re afraid they don’t know who their church members are.”
    • “I think our biggest challenge is making our congregation feel part of Highland while we are under the pandemic.”
    • “Before Joe and Nina left and the pandemic, we were still dealing with the connectedness problem then. The issue was, we had four worship times and multiple Bible studies and we didn’t feel like we knew everyone anymore.”
    • “We need more creative forms of community. Zoom fatigue is real.”
  • We need to reimagine our future Post Covid-19
    • “So much about the future is unknown.When Covid is over, what does that look like? How do we continue to engage? What does church look like moving forward?”
    • “It will be interesting to think about how we want to rebuild church. Do we build back what we had? Do we work together in new ways?”
    • “What will our priorities and values be post Covid-19? We need new ways of doing church.”
    • “We really need to take a look at not jumping back into the busy/high stress of Sunday and Wednesday activities”
  • We need fresh language/agency/imagination to move beyond our wounds.
    • “We are a community of people, many of whom have been wounded and scarred by the Church. We have found safety and love at Highland. But how do we take that next step forward? How do we re-claim our faith in ways that are authentic and inspiring? We need new language and a fresh imagination that the church can embrace and live into together.”
    • “I’m looking to identify with those who are moving forward, beyond woundedness, to the next step.”
    • “We are good at wallowing in deconstruction. We are scared of reconstruction.”
    • “Have we thrown the baby out with the bathwater? Highland hasn’t replaced its’ common language in a way that we know what it means. There is a language gap. We need a language of living out transforming love.”
  • We need better understanding of the missions/ministries we support and a common vision for why we support them.
    • There is a long list of mission projects and identity partners Highland supports. Do we have a shared understanding of the missions we support? Do we know why? Do we ever re-evaluate?
  • We need to be connected with a more diverse group of people.
    • Especially during Covid-19, many of us are in “safe, white silos.” We need to be regularly connected with more diversity. We need to hear from and be in relationship with people who are different than we are.
    • “We are still very white, even though we are doing good social justice work.”
    • What happened to the citywide book club? I liked our connect ion with St. Stephen and the church on Frankfort.”
  • Our youth and college students need to know that Highland is their church, too.
    • “We want our youth to feel more ownership for and connection to Highland outside of Perry and the youth group.”
    • “How do we intentionally reach out to college students so that they still feel part of Highland?”
  • We need more outlets and opportunities for mission and service.
    • “So many people don’t have a way to serve right now and want to know how to help – how to get involved.”
    • Example: “I’d like for us to do something to address the needs of the families of homicide victims. We acknowledge the lives that have been lost to homicide, and for each of these victims, there is a family.”
  • We need a stronger presence and witness for justice in the public square.
    • “How are we using our privilege to advocate for those who are on the margins?”
    • “LGBT? Would it be worth a mini-Bible study to analyze what Scripture says about LGBTQ people and how to advocate for them biblically?”
  • We need to better care for our seniors, many of whom are isolated at home due to Covid.
    • Can we help with grocery delivery for seniors who need additional support?
    • Can we make an effort to help them get more connected through technology?

All of these needs are important for our church family, but we need to prioritize some of these needs to focus our work this year. Share with us which needs feel most important right now and which are less important than others.

Winter 2021: Biggest Needs of Highland Family