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Bridge to the Future

Bridge to the Future

Bridge to the Future: Understanding and Embracing Our Congregation’s Adaptive Challenge

Bridge to the Future:

Understanding and Embracing Our Congregation’s Adaptive Challenge



First Presbyterian Church will engage members with varied experiences within our congregation in an in-depth conversation. The conversation will explore the question: How do we identify and live out our unique mission and purpose considering the challenges we face and the possibilities ahead?


Build our capacity to discuss tough issues among members with varied perspectives about how we live out our mission and purpose. “Several members said they would be willing to give up things they hold dear – styles of worship, certain mission activities, or even the building in some cases – if they had a clear vision of what they would be giving them up for.” Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide Page 4.

Experience the reality of both loss and opportunity so that planning becomes possible. These are not planning sessions. This is a conversation to prepare the heart of our congregation to move into a time of experimentation, learning, and new direction for the future.

Help more people understand what it looks like to adapt in the face of tough challenges and what is required of those brave enough to explore.

A three-part conversation will use the Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide developed by the Kansas Leadership Center and our Transformation Team based on nearly 30 interviews and surveys conducted with First Presbyterian members representing various perspectives about our current and future challenges. This effort was inspired by the book Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger.

The three sessions outlined below are meant to be one conversation. Participants will be assigned to the same groups throughout the conversation and are strongly encouraged to attend all three sessions.

Electronic and printed copies of the Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide Section 1 will be distributed in advance of Sessions 1 and 2. Conversation Guide Section 2 will be distributed prior to Session 3. Participants are expected to read and reflect on the Guide in advance of each session.


Make a reservation by calling or emailing the church office at 263-0248 or Sessions will be held in person and will include a box lunch. For those who would rather attend virtually, a ZOOM link will be provided. Please specify in your reservation if you will be attending in person or virtually via ZOOM. See following page for session dates and times.



Contact Cynthia Berner at 641-7587 or

Bridge to the Future Conversation


10:45 AM – 12:45 PM

The Landscape: Setting the Stage and Reflecting on The Current Situation

Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide Sections 1.1 and 1.2

“Exploration teaches us to see the familiar through a new frame.” Canoeing the Mountains

“Try to slay an adaptive challenge with technical solutions and you’ll find yourself facing a bigger challenge than before.”
KLC Your Leadership Edge

Based on selected questions from Conversation Guide Sections 1.1 and 1.2., we will explore the most important adaptive challenges and competing values we face as a congregation.

Given the issues surfaced in the Guide, what does it mean to be the First Presbyterian Church? What can we explore that is unique, compelling, and different than other churches with similar mission and purpose statements?

To get there, what competing values need to be examined?

First Presbyterian Mission Statement

In response to the love and grace of God, First Presbyterian Church of Wichita, Kansas, is a fellowship of believers bound together to glorify God and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ through worship, spiritual nurturing, education, and mission to all people.

Core Purpose

Our purpose is to witness to the presence of the risen Christ in the world and for the world.

Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive, and we wake up to new possibilities.


AUGUST 1 10:45 AM – 12:45 PM

Our Challenge: The Building, the Spirit of the Congregation, and the Capacity for Change

Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide Sections 1.3 and 1.4

“We must escape the unending treadmill of trying harder – looking for answers instead
of reframing questions.” Canoeing the Mountains

“Exercising leadership requires us to generate numerous ways to understand an issue and multiple paths forward.”

KLC Your Leadership Edge

Reflecting on Session 1 discussions about our unique and compelling purpose, what we are willing and unwilling to change? We will explore the assumptions our congregation must test to make needed progress.

What are two to three basic elements of our church’s culture? (Our DNA.)

What do you think cannot change?

What are you willing to give

up or see changed?

What assumptions about our building need to be tested?


AUGUST 15 10:45 AM – 12:45 PM

The World in Front of Us: Paths First Presbyterian Church Could Take; Live for the Future

Bridge to the Future Conversation Guide Sections 2.1 and 2.2

“The world in front of us is nothing like the world behind us. Exploration requires us to become expert experimenters.”

Canoeing the Mountains

“Big challenges – adaptive challenges, have no clear solution. Progress is made when you take an experimental approach.”
KLC Your Leadership Edge

Based on Session 1 and 2, we will explore what is required of us to make progress and how to make the work ahead more trustworthy for all involved.

What additional conversations may be needed to make progress?

What can we do to make the process of exploring our future trustworthy for all involved?

What will it take to give up the security of the of the present for the possible but uncertain gain of the future?

Reports from all conversation groups will be compiled for further reflection and sharing among members. A record of these conversations will help us experiment in new ways to discover and live into our unique and compelling future.


Contact Cynthia Berner at 641-7587 or