This year we will launch a congregational revitalization program! We have been invited by the Evangelism and Congregational Revitalization team of General Assembly to participate in a pilot project on helping congregations seek revitalization. We will launch August 23, with congregational registrations sought beginning after Easter. To prepare ourselves for this immersive conversation and experience, I plan to devote the time between now and the August launch to till the soil of revitalization, including missives on the topic in this newsletter.
As an initial offering, let me share with you the “7 Marks of a Healthy Congregation” identified as necessary for revitalization:
- Lifelong discipleship formation
- Intentional, authentic evangelism
- Outward, incarnational focus
- Empowered servant leadership
- Spirit-inspired worship
- Caring relationships
- Ecclesial health
Each week for the next seven weeks, I will discuss one of these marks of a healthy congregation in more detail. For this week, I encourage you to Click here to get an overview of these “marks” or symptoms of health in a survey instrument designed to stimulate creative conversation toward deeper discernment. I encourage the survey’s use by your Session and other leadership groups within your congregation. It works well to take one section per month at the beginning of a Session meeting or to focus on one to three key areas at a Session retreat; any more than that will feel rushed and, therefore, ineffective.
Please feel free to use the survey either “as is” or modified to fit your church’s core convictions and values regarding healthy ministry. The point is not the survey’s verbiage; rather the purpose is to seek the will of God, the mind of Christ, and the guidance of Holy Spirit together as the Body of Christ. The goal is not to gather data through a survey but to use the survey as a spring board toward deep, thoughtful, sabbath-rhythmed conversations that discern God’s will for your ministry. Where do you share a common vision? Where are there points of creative tension?
Time flies when we’re having fun; time flies faster in ministry! When was the last time your church had deep, thoughtful, sabbath-rhythmed conversations that discerned God’s will? If it has been longer than three years, you are due for a “Season of Discernment.” There is plenty of time to discuss among yourselves any suspicions you may have that “the same old, same old” isn’t working as effectively as it used to work. If you come to the conviction God wants to challenge your congregation to step out in faith, in the name of love, for the sake of the world’s one hope, please know we are in this together. We can do this!
Launch count down T-minus 33 weeks and counting,