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Monday, October 23, 2006

Approved Recommendation

TMBC Visioning Task Force
Recommendation to Coordinating Council
September 2006

A significant fact drawn from our analysis of church data --- both from TMBC and from other Pitt County Baptist churches --- is that the number of worship attendance guests visiting churches from their own initiative has been declining since around 2002. This reduction in guests has occurred despite a net in-migration of people and the implementation of alternative worship services by several churches. Hispanics and Catholics from northeastern states account for part of the net in-migration, but not all. Regardless of cause, however, in order to remain relevant, increasingly meaningful relationships will have to be formed with in-migrants and others before they become worship attendance guests. Since this reverses the historical pattern of church relationship building, specific mechanisms need to be implemented to cause the pattern to reverse.

Recommendation: That TMBC conceive and prosecute a variety of opportunities for members to develop relationships with persons who have yet to be worship attendance guests. Many of the relationships may not convert to worship attendance guests, but a relationship that reflects God’s Kingdom is sufficient. The variety of opportunities should include all current, active TMBC persons of all ages. That is, we should devise multiple ways for new relationships to evolve. It is expected that from this new relationship supply a guest pool adequate to sustain TMBC’s relevancy will emerge.

Potential: Bases from which new relationships might spawn include:

Better health (See below.)

Recent arrivals
Places of employment
Civic, fraternal, and social organizations
Recent TMBC folk paired with former active TMBC folk
TMBC web presence

Management: (See below.)

Something for everybody:
Almost every living person has some opportunity to get some better at some aspect of health. Nearly every person has some capacity to progress to a better state of health. The key ingredient in embarking on a journey of “getting better” is to want to get better. With that simple goal, wanting to get better, almost everybody can improve.

TMBC Better Health volunteers can facilitate almost everybody wanting to get better by exhibiting that they care about individuals personally. They can exhibit caring by attending information meetings, pairing with individuals in physical and dietary modifications of daily living patterns, and being open to developing relationships with diverse persons.

Everybody can improve:
Many persons fail to get better because they have resigned to the notions that they can’t or that the process is too difficult. Once they experience they can improve, wanting to get better is almost automatic. Thus a key factor is enabling folks to experience improvement even if they have yet to decide they want to improve.

Enjoy the journey: Many perceive physical activity and diet modification as negatives. A factor in their perception is unrealistic expectations. That is, they assume dramatic change should be observable within several weeks or months. Generally, pattern changes (diet or exercise) that can achieve dramatic changes in short time periods are so extreme that they are not enjoyable. However, enjoyable (less extreme) pattern changes can be achieved and sustained over time. A key factor in enjoying the journey is to establish realistic improvement goals.

Establish what is: In order to measure change, a base needs to be established at the outset as to what the key health measurement factors are. Generally these include (all fasting):

Blood sugar
Blood pressure
Cholesterol (HDLs, LDLs, and a key ratio)
Heart rate (resting; moderate exercise; maximum exercise)
Percentage body fat to total weight

Ascertain how to improve: After a participant determines his/her current state for the measurement factors, then he/she establishes a plan for improvement. There can be differences in plans due to various limiting factors, but there can be a rational plan for everyone.

Discovering enjoyment: The old saying, different strokes for different folks, applies as it relates to both choice of exercise(s) and diet modification. But there are enough choices available to find a balance that is enjoyable. In a sneaky -- bordering on subversive -- way finding balance is the centric key. Thus, our group discovery process will demonstrate how to find balance.

Recognize improvement: There will not be much emphasis on concepts such as losing pounds, although a natural consequence of better fitness is a better ratio of body fat to total weight. Instead, improvement will be measured by better cardio-vascular fitness and the consequential improvements in the health measurement keys.

Enjoy the plateaus: Sometimes people consider encountering plateaus as a negative. During any improvement journey there will be plateaus --- periods of time, after notable improvement, in which very little improvement is noted. Each spurt of improvement will likely be followed by a longer plateau, but each succeeding plateau will be higher than before. Masters (of anything and everything) practice with enthusiasm even while in a plateau. Thus, the key is to embrace the process as “practice.” These plateaus are ideal times to connect our earth-bound lives with the holy and eternal and can facilitate a blissful sense of well-being with each practice (diet or exercise.) The result is a continuum toward a highly satisfying place.

Facilitating facilities: Many people enjoy walking outside.. However, there are not enough “walking trails” conveniently located to enough people. A walking trail around the perimeter of TMBC’s property would be in close proximity to a number of people. Over the years we TMBC folks have wondered how we might be better neighbors to our neighbors. Making our property available as a walking trail has potential for multiple positive experiences.

Folks of all types will be recruited to attend indoctrination/introductory meetings. Several meeting sessions will be devoted to teaching various avenues of achieving better health (activities and diet modifications). At a juncture, folks will choose from various types of activities (walking, running, swimming, or other aerobic activities) to begin being more physically active. There will be a monitoring process so that improvement over time can be measured. Periodically the smaller activity groups will re-convene into the larger group for feedback and possible modifications of regimens. There will be a continuum of new groups embarking even as earlier groups continue to progress.


Health professionals who are TMBC members
Pitt County Memorial Hospital employee volunteers
ECU health professionals volunteers
Various materials to support individuals and groups

TMBC Visioning Task Force
Management of Recommendation to Coordinating Council
September 2006

As a deliberative series of processes are contemplated that will foster the development of new relationships, a way of visually displaying “who TMBC is now” and “TMBC’s developing relationships” would help members understand. In addition to assisting members to grasp the significance of the contemplated pattern shift, this visual will also provide the basis to measure effectiveness. Understanding is important as the pattern shift depends on a broad number of people embarking on new journeys. There will be an embedded reluctance to embark on new journeys without a clear understanding of the need and the potential consequence. Effective new journeys depend upon such a clear discernment. Since a variety of new processes are contemplated, it is not likely that they all will be successful or equally successful. Thus, a method of measuring effectiveness needs to be developed at the outset. Each of these is based on technical facts and numbers that do not necessarily convey understanding in their basic raw form. Capturing the meaning of this data visually will contribute to the success of the processes.

Illustration: During the Focus on Tomorrow initiative of 2002/2003, a visual of Pitt County with a diamond overlay became the basis for conveying various kinds of information, such as geographical locations of Pitt County Baptist Churches and some historical demographics on each church. The same visual was also used to convey the consequence of the currently planned SW Bypass and, perhaps more importantly, the ultimate circle encompassing Greenville, Winterville, Ayden, and Simpson. The same visual was used to demonstrate location trends in new residential construction.

A similar visual will be developed that relates TMBC, as it is now, to Pitt County geography and in parallel shows the individual causative activity generating newly developed relationships. The more causative activities (such as the Better Health initiative) that are developed, the more new relationships can be expected.

Since the visual will be continually changing, most likely it will be developed so that it can be projected frequently, such as during pre-worship on Sunday morning and during mealtime on Wednesday and posted on the TMBC website and included in routine printed mailings.

Observation: Since this is a conceptual description of a creative process that has yet to occur, the ultimate management tool(s) may vary from the description.

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