The Kansas Area Extended Cabinet set several goals to be completed by the end of 2012. Bishop Scott Jones announced the goals for 2009 - 2012 during his state of the conference address at the annual conference session in 2009 and shared updates during the same report in 2010 and 2011.
The goals came out of the dreams in the Kansas East and Kansas West strategic plans adopted in 2007 before the Bridges to the Future capital campaign.
Jones said he has taken some heat over the years for asking congregations to track their worship attendance, professions of faith and participation in various types of mission and engagement.
“We care about people, and people count,” Jones said. “Thus, we count people.”
The extended cabinet has been tracking its progress toward reaching its goals because that means more people, younger people and more diverse people are being brought into the kingdom of God, Jones said.
Goal 1. Start 10 new churches area-wide by 2012. Kansas West started three by annual conference; Kansas East started five. Two more congregations are planned in Kansas West by year-end.
Goal 2: Annual growth in worship attendance. This goal was not met, but the decline slowed between 2010 and 2011.
Goal 3: Double the number of students active in campus ministry. This goal was exceeded. More than 600 students are now active in campus ministry across the state.
Goal 4: Have 75 percent of churches in the conference report an increase in professions of faith. Only 30 percent of our churches reported an increase in 2011.
Goal 5: Growth in youth participation in local churches at a rate of 6 percent a year. This goal was not met, but youth participation is increasing.
Goal 6: Increase the number of campers at United Methodist camps by 5 percent a year. Growth rates are very near the 5-percent rate.
Goal 7: Increase participation in small groups by 5 percent a year. Growth is happening, but slower than the target of 5 percent annually.
Goal 8: Designate at least one trained disaster-response contact or coordinator for each local church. The current percentage of churches with this designated contact is 54 percent.
Goal 9: Improve mission and ministry apportionment payout by 2 percent a year. Kansas West was at 84.6 percent in 2011, and figures are looking better for 2012.
Goal 10: Have 10 percent of worship attenders in each congregation participate in a mission trip or other hands-on project. The goal has been met.
These goals have placed Kansas on the leading edge of making substantive change in the denomination, Jones said. Already Kansas United Methodists have been directing more resources toward creating vital congregations, he said.