Posts Tagged ‘vision’

headshots+2-0052So many mis-conceptions surround the validity and value of the smaller membership churches.  Many feel that because they are small, there must be some problem or problems  that exists.  When this mentality becomes the plum line, finger pointing always seems to follow.

      “If only we had the right pastor”

      “If the big church down the street would quit attracting our members”

      “If only we had more money”

Well, you get the point!   The truth is the value and validity of any church regardless of it’s size is not based on any of the above.   Validity and value are based on the health of a congregation.

Just like our bodies, once in a while it is wise for congregations to get a check up.   I hear your next question clearly, “How in the world does a congregation get a check up”?   “How can we take the temperature of a congregation”?

Let me try to answer those questions briefly but clearly.  Congregational health is based on alignment.  Alignment of its vision with its over-arching mission.  We as United Methodists share a clearly stated and focused mission: THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH WILL MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD.

This mission statement becomes the basis and focal point of our existence as a congregation, and our task is for all that we do to be aligned with our mission.

My mentor and interim Director of Church Development for the Indiana Conference, Doug Anderson states it this way, ” Communication plus collaboration brings alignment.”

Thus, because healthiness comes from alignment, communication and collaboration must become a part of our daily regimen.  When communication breaks down collaboration seldom happens.  The church looses sight of its vision because it isn’t being communicated clearly.  Collaboration between ministry areas and the congregation begins to suffer and eventually grinds to a standstill.  Ultimately the mission not only becomes out of reach but usually is forgotten or ignored.

Your Church Development team at the Indiana Conference wants to help.  We can come alongside a church with tools and procedures to help it move toward and ultimately achieve better health.

No matter what size congregation you call home, it is valuable and holds validity.  Please consider giving us the opportunity to serve with you as we together “MAKE DISCIPLES OF JESUS CHRIST FOR THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE WORLD.”

Because he lives…

— Randy L Anderson, Associate Director of Church Development

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IMAG0045I just read an article by Gary McIntosh entitled “Saying Yes.”  It provides guidance on how to create a healthy church culture that empowers laity, including laity who feel called to launch new ministries.  The title, however, got me thinking about a thought I had the other day after watching a video on “Slomo” by the New York Times.   Slomo is a former doctor who said “no” to the rat race and pursuit of money.  He said “yes” to spending his senior years in-line skating along an ocean beach.  After listening to this man’s story, I was struck by the power of saying “no,” and how freeing it can be.

This is true for churches too.  The book entitled Simple Church, by Thom L. Rainer and Eric Geiger, speaks to this.  Saying “no” can help a church maintain its focus on its mission and vision.  It can prevent a church from wasting, or defusing, its limited energy and resources.  In the Fruitful Congregation Journey, a church revitalization process used in the Indiana Conference, churches are encouraged to actually conduct an “audit” of its ministries, making sure all the church does–its activities, ministries, and events–are aligned with its mission and vision.  Those church activities that are not aligned are to be adapted to better fulfill the mission and vision or be discontinued.  The church says, “no” to continuing them.

So, there are times to say “yes” and times to say “no.”  Sometimes saying “no” will be the best thing you can do if you’re truly serious about where God’s calling you to go.

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

P.S.  To get a guide to help you audit your church’s ministries, contact Ed at ed.fenstermacher@inumc.org.