Church Health and Vitality
It used to be easy to determine the vitality of a congregation – people in the pews and dollars in the plate. This is no longer true.
Today the vitality of a congregation is somewhat of a mystery. The processes used, such as strategic visioning, assessment of ministry, rediscovering mission, marketing, etc, did not work for all. Especially, canned “one size fits all” processes often failed in producing the expected vitality.
Today we are discovering that congregational vitality:
- cannot be bought in a package or in a process
- is not a problem to be solved but an outcome of intentional, purposeful living
- has to be nurtured and nourished in the soul of the church
- is about openness to exploration and to the Holy Spirit’s surprises
- rightsizing might be a good first step toward vitality as resources are rightsized and can be managed more efficiently
On this page we offer resources that can help in thinking about and nurturing church vitality in the context of our day.
Vision & Mission, Purpose & Calling
Does your church have a clear vision and mission that gives its ministry a sense of direction and purpose? If not, or if your church’s vision and mission are outdated, we can help. VISION is aspirational and vast. It is the PURPOSE of an organism and why it exists. MISSION is practical and applicable and needs to be updated, adapting to the times and to what God is CALLING the church to do in a specific time and place.
The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) is an excellent free resource for community data for congregations. This resource replaces the Heartland Conference’s contract with MissionInsite and is the recommended resource for inclusion in the Local Church Profile. Evan Pence of the CARDD team wrote a very accessible walk-through of The ARDA’s website, click the button below to access it.
Evaluating the Ministry
Constitution & Bylaws:
Rightsizing Church Governance
Does your church struggle to fill all elected positions of service? Do you have to many people on the church Council or consistory especially considering the size of your membership? And, so people refuse to serve on boards and committees long term but are willing to engage in a specific ministry of project they care about? It might be time to right-size your constitution and bylaws as well as streamline them.
Between Pastors and Congregations
The relationship between pastor and congregation is unique, as it is covenantal and based on God’s call. This relationship is not of employee and employer, but is a mutual partnership and collaboration with the understanding that the pastor is the spiritual leader, preacher, teacher, and prophet. An effective Pastoral Relations Committee is vital for a healthy relationship between pastor and congregation.
Church Health and Vitality Assessments
The church is a living organism and as all organisms needs regular check-ups for health and well-being. How is your church doing? What is God calling you to do? In order to know where the Spirit is leading, it helps to know where you are now. Here you will find simple, uncomplicated assessments, as well as one based on the Marks of Faithful Expression of a Healthy Congregation. Use any or all of them to do your health check-up.
(formerly Legacy Church)
We are a resurrection people. We are confident that in every end is a new beginning and in every death a resurrection. Local churches may close but the ministry of the Church of Jesus Christ continues in every age as the Church re-forms to the movement of the Holy Spirit and the movement in community and culture in order to remain relevant to the day.
A merger is when two or more churches move together into one of the existing buildings and share resources. In many cases, a merger allows two struggling congregations to share one pastor and to pool dwindling resources, enabling a continued ministry and presence in a community. It is recommended that the new merged congregation choose a new name so a new beginning is experienced as one church community.
Church closure is not the end. All things living have a life-span so does the church. A congregation is a living organism with a beginning and an end. Its ending is a new beginning. The ministry continues.
With closing the church purposefully and thoughtfully the church can gift, leave a legacy to benefit the community and the world, becoming a resurrection church as its ministry is reborn in a new way.