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Planning with a Vision

November 11, 2015

As we have pursued God’s vision for our church we have been blessed with unprecedented growth in every measurable way.  This is most evident in our overwhelming weekend participation. Typically, there is standing room only at Sunday Masses and our parking lot and overflow parking are full all weekend long (even though many parishioners park off campus). The growth has also created a critical lack of space for our programs. It’s a good problem, but a problem nonetheless.

As a result, in recent years, parish leaders have been working through a strategic planning process considering all aspect of parish life and growth.  As part of this process we engaged an architectural firm to develop a Master Campus Plan.  Our plan is to build a new sanctuary on our existing campus that will incorporate traditional Catholic worship elements.  The building will be attached to our existing building through two separate corridors.  We also plan to build a new entrance, lobby, and café.

The benefit of our strategic plan is that we can continue to utilize our existing building while construction of our new sanctuary is under way.  Once we occupy our new sanctuary space, we will repurpose our existing campus to provide additional, much needed space for kids and student programs. We have worked very closely with the Archdiocese, our architect, and the county throughout the strategic planning process.

The most important element for a strategic plan, however, is not something you can draw up on paper. It’s your vision. We think that’s really what makes a church more than a building, and in biblical language, truly an “Ecclesia.” Of course, it’s crucial that your parish communicate that vision, which means getting specific and sharing that with your community every step of the way. We actually think it’s best not to build or make any drastic change to your environment unless God has placed a vision in the heart of your community.

With that in mind and with the help of our staff and parish leaders, we launched our Capital Campaign two years ago to support and fund our strategic plan.  After much prayer we decided to call our campaign the Vision Campaign, based upon the verse from Habakkuk 2:3: “Vision has an appointed time; it speaks to the end and will not prove false.  Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come.”

We believe that God has placed this Vision on our hearts at Nativity as we strive to fulfill our mission of loving god, loving others, and making disciples.

This Vision campaign was introduced to the congregation as a spiritual journey where we asked our parishioners to step out in faith, to reach outside of their comfort level and make a “faith commitment.”  To date, we have pledges for our campaign in excess of 11 million dollars.  We hope to begin construction on our project in the coming months.

By: Sue Mihok, Director of Operations and Evan Ponton, Assistant to the Pastor, Church of the Nativity, Timonium, MD

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