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The Listening Project

Listening Project Update

Last spring’s comprehensive survey yielded many positive results and also indicated a few areas that could use attention. You may recall that 951 members participated, and we received 7,700 individual comments. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!

The leadership of Second has carefully reviewed the responses and implemented several areas of improvement. Below are some of the ways that the Session has addressed subjects identified in the Listening Project:

Spiritual Life

Both Spiritual Life and Congregational Life committees of Session are reviewing how they are organized and considering possible changes to their structure to better serve our current needs.

Spiritual Life went through the description from the session handbook that has not been updated in more than ten years. They plan to share revisions with Congregational Life and hope to continue conversations between the two groups so that “big picture” plans might be addressed.

The Young Adult Ministry Team will move and be under the Spiritual Life Committee after the tremendous work starting this ministry by Congregational Life.

The Spiritual Life Committee continues to work to clarify current pathways to engagement for the members of Second Presbyterian Church.

Congregational Life

The Hospitality Task Force has finished most of its work and is implementing plans for congregational nametags, Hospitality Welcome Center in the Atrium, and Hospitality Host training and recruitment. A brunch was held on two Sunday mornings for the Hospitality Hosts Ministry to introduce the new leadership team members, give instructions on procedures, and affirm the purposes of the Hospitality Ministry.

During the next months, there will be a promotion for members to sign up and purchase a nametag to wear at church. Congregational nametags can be purchased for a reduced price of $5. Publicity will be in the Spire, emails and the Sunday bulletins, so that members are encouraged to have nametags. Nametags can be purchased online and at church with cards and envelopes available in the pews.

The New Members/Young Adult Task Force has decided to form an ongoing ministry team of young adults that will work with the Lake Fellows in reaching out to 20s and 30s. The hope is that this will provide a continuing ministry to young adults that can adapt and change as it is needed.

The Fellowship Task Force has begun its new ministry of Keeping in Touch that seeks to contact the membership

throughout the year to offer support and the opportunity for members to share joys and concerns. There is also work to encourage forming more dining groups that connect people for fellowship.


The Mission committee is working to develop an orientation packet that will:

  • ™  Summarize the Mission and Deacon Ministry teams and responsibilities

  • ™  Describe the work and structure of the Mission Ministry teams

  • Provide an overview of the budgeting process

The committee is completing the first stage of a restructuring plan to include placing at-large members in classes and dividing the committee into two working groups: a ministry team relations group and an executive group.


In response to the feedback from the survey, an Online Presence Team has been formed to help the Communications Staff meet the needs of the congregation. After the survey, the Communications staff has made many changes to the website. Since the bulk of the feedback revolved around navigation, communication and intuitiveness, the team went to work making our most visited pages easier to find by adding dedicated promo boxes for:

  • ™ Volunteer Registrations - “Sign up to Serve”
  • ™ Media Player – “Live Stream and archives”
  • ™ Worship/Sunday Information - “This Sunday @Second” bulletins and worship information
  • ™ Event Registrations and announcements - “News & Events”

Some major and minor back-end changes were made to improve the online experience, including:

  • ™ Website home page reorganization on mobile browsers to take advantage of the responsive design.
  • ™ Changed live stream platform. This church-centric platform is ad-free and enables live stream embedding in various pages and automated video and audio podcasts for iOS users.
  • ™ Created a channel for Roku smart TVs and players enabling people to easily and quickly watch on their TV remotely. A channel for evening services and an Apple TV app are coming soon.
  • ™ Media player upgrade. The user is now able to follow along with a version of the bulletin while watching on a computer remotely. In addition to the bulletin tab, there are tabs for Bible passages, news, e-giving and prayer requests.
  • ™ Added live stream of Tuesday morning men’s Bible study and Wednesday Pilgrimage with Paul class, with more to come.

The Online Presence Team has discussed possible future improvements and offerings:

  • ™ Committee Leadership Training – teaching church officers annually about how the community can use the existing services to stay connected.
  • ™ Committee Communication – Possible use of Cloud-based Shared Drives for efficient committee work and paper reduction.
  • ™ Smartphone App – Bring it back and reinvent it.
  • ™ Open Houses – Offer opportunities for members to come learn how to navigate the website and give suggestions for improvement.
  • ™ Improved Video Communications -- Video announcements to play between 9:30 and 11 worship services - Opportunity to get new and different members involved in sharing the ministries and missions of the church and allow for more moments of discipleship outside of the worship service. Video could be played weekly on the website, before live streams and on social media.

The team also discussed the importance of the future of this ministry. This conversation led to the idea of a recurring internship with local colleges and high schools, as well as adding a full time employee that would be able to focus on the online presence of the church as the primary job function.


Listening Project 2017 Purpose and Task Force Members

The Task Force for Listening Project 2017 will develop and shepherd an effective listening process that will engage the congregation in a broad and deep consideration of the uniqueness of Second members’ beliefs, practices, identity, preferences, and vision for our future as a congregation.

Listening Project 2017 will serve multiple short- and long-term purposes, including:

  • Affirming Second’s strengths
  • Identifying near-term opportunities
  • Aiding the Pastor Nominating Committee and prospective candidates
  • Laying the foundation for long-term strategic planning after a new Senior Pastor has been called

The Listening Project 2017 Task Force is an ad hoc working group of the Planning Committee and is comprised of the following members:

Task Force Leader:

  • Anne Nobles

Task Force Co-Facilitators:  

  • John Koppitch
  • Sandra Herron – MiddlEdge Inc.

Task Force Members:  

  • Charles Bolton
  • Kathy Dannels
  • Mandy Ernest
  • Lewis Galloway
  • Steve Haigh
  • Keith Phelps
  • Jim Purcell

The Task Force anticipates the following benefits from the Listening Project 2017:

  • Strengthen ties between members
  • Identify strengths from members’ perspectives
  • Plan for future leadership transitions
  • Spark engagement and ownership
  • Give Senior Pastor candidates current insights
  • Identify concerns and opportunities
  • Identify and act on low-hanging fruit