April to June 2020


These aspirations really express a vision of where we are headed more than provide a set of demonstrable goals. Perhaps we should start to adjust them to be more measurable and take on tasks that take more than one year to complete. For now, this vision of our future is inspiring, especially because we have, indeed, taken many steps in the direction of this desired future. The surprise of a pandemic pushed us to develop some new tools that will be useful for five years and beyond. It is unquestionable that our generation will be permanently marked by 2020. As we survive into 2021 and our communal beginning again is underway, doubtful that we will have a vision that is very different from what we are aiming for below, but it is possible that we will have greater resolve and better ideas for how to work together to succeed at doing difficult things by the power of the Holy Spirit.

By July of 2024,

We make it easy for people to get next to Jesus

  • Circle Spaces and congregational events teams help us get to know creatives in our region, resulting in collaboration with individuals and groups from a plethora of backgrounds as well new connections and partners. 
  • People follow us on social media for encouragement and stimulation regionally and in other parts of the world. We provide tools for the spiritual journey for those who meet face-to-face as well as those far away. 
  • Our Sunday meetings grow in adult Regular Attenders and cells by 5% each year, resulting in over 700 attenders and 70 cells. When a congregation gets to 200 adult Regular Attenders they are in the process of multiplying. 
  • We are exploring multiplications up and down our Delaware River Watershed (North of NYC through NJ and PA into MD and DE). Other church planters are adapting our methods and strategies for church plants in other areas.

The future of our events business, Circle Spaces is in limbo, but it is incredible that this idea has worked at all. In this enforced fallow time, we must re-imagine what we could do with our lease at 1125 S. Broad Street, which does not expire until February 2022 (at which time we have the option to renew for another five years for a price that will not be beat in that zip code). Events will be back, do we want to be there for them?

The Social Media team, a new website next year, and continued proliferation of engaging media like the “Resist and Restore” podcast, and YouTube, will continue to expand our social media engagement.

Our Sunday meeting Regular Attenders stat is in disarray because the Online meetings do not capture all of the people who view our stuff. Honestly, right now we are not sure of the full extent of our Sunday meeting impact. Cells seem to be holding steady but the Regular Attender Stat is in major flux and trending downward. We will have to wait for the dust to settle to see where we stand (and that may be a long time, so we advance even in the fog!).

During this more plugged-in time the pastors have been more plugged in with networks locally and across the country. We have helped birth Jesus Collective, an Anabaptist network that is picking up steam and notoriety. People we meet generally admire our depth and commitment to relational evangelism.

We share gifts that encourage and equip

  • We are known throughout the region as a force for good, and we share stories of transformation with joy. 
  • We are proliferating good business, creating three more church-owned businesses and helping inspired people start more. We are known as a good employer and job creator. 
  • Our teams that connect us to local schools helped us make a big difference in the lives of students and the conditions of their education.  
  • Our teams that lead us in confronting climate change have provided opportunities for energy alternatives and other habits that form newsworthy experiments. 
  • The Way of Jesus and the Gifts for Growing, along with future plans for teaching pastors, enables large-scale discipleship.
  • We connect people in our arts-oriented region to Jesus and Circle of Hope with original art and music.

The new alternativity stories on the Way of Jesus are the most recent way we are sharing our stories of transformation with joy.

Our two youngest businesses took major hits this year. Covid-19 cancelled everything for Circle Spaces, and L&I continued to put up hurdles for Circle Kids to move forward with full-day daycare. We are currently appealing their ruling which is our last resort. 

We helped seed a scholarship fund at Penn Treaty School in Fishtown with about $4000.

The Watershed Discipleship heavily influenced our one-year goals this mapping season.

A lot of work was done for Audio Art albums this year, but the harvest was delayed by the pandemic. Hold on, just a little while longer!

We use the strength we have to do daring things

  • Our trainings include leaders and attendees from outside Circle of Hope. Our worship music, videos, and podcasts are useful to both followers of Jesus and the spiritually curious around the world.
  • Adults who grew up from childhood as part of Circle of Hope are leading cells, Sunday meetings, and other areas of our common life.
  • The Hub continues to grow in number of staff and potency, helping hold together our cell multiplication movement, congregational health, and enterprise as our whole church.
  • The church demonstrates a radical alternative to the world’s power structures without being trumped by their lies.
  • The Leadership Team and Core develops to fully function to interpret, apply, and implement the Council-approved vision of the church with a new level of collaboration and agency.

Our capacity to include attendees outside of our region increased exponentially when we went online with all of our meetings. We are experimenting with considering these folks “in” Circle of Hope, even from afar. 

There are currently 7 people who grew up in Circle of Hope in leadership positions. Four of them are still teenagers in our teen cell, which multiplied.

The Capacity Core actually consolidated the Hub into two positions for right now, with a plan to hire a building manager in the near future. The idea of the Hub is hard to perform as we shelter in place.

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