Revitalization leadership training begins

Posted: September 6, 2012 by efenster in Information, Resources

How can a church become even more effective in ministry?  In Indiana, United Methodist churches are turning to the Indiana Conference’s Fruitful Congregation Journey (FCJ).  In fact, around 40 Indiana United Methodist churches are beginning Step 1 of FCJ this fall. 

FCJ is a three-step process designed to help indiana UMCs more effectively carry out their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  Step 1 is called the Shared Learning Experience.  It consists of eight monthly teaching/networking sessions, each one focusing on a particular aspect of church ministry.  The participating churches send a team of laity to one of the teaching sites; pastors of these churches meet separately together at another time.  Between sessions the teams read books and do individual and corporate ActionPlans.

These sessions, led by trained facilitators, are especially designed for churches over 100 in average weekly worship attendance.  There is a similar process also being offered this year for churches averaging between 50 and 100 in weekly worship.  Nearly 40 churches are participating in this.

This is the third year that FCJ Step 1 has been offered in the conference for larger churches.  As of thise fall, 42% of the 310 UMCs in Indiana averaging over 100 in worship will have participated in Step 1.  Rev. Mark Gough, Director of Church Development for the conference, and his staff believe that once 50% of the churches have gone through the three FCJ steps that the conference will reach a tipping point where revitalization will become the expected norm.

Churches interested in FCJ should contact their District Superintendents or Church Development staff for more information.  Invitations will be going out soon to churches averaging between 50-100 in weekly worship for a new round of Step 1.  Invitations to larger churches will go out at the beginning of next year. 

So, is the process really making a difference?  Believe me, Church Development wouldn’t continue to make the significant investment it takes if it wasn’t getting positive reports back from the participating churches.  

Watch for a future articles on the results and more on Steps 2 & 3.   — Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director

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