by Stan Dueck
Congregational Life Ministries is committed to empowering every person to make a positive difference in their world through demonstrating the extraordinary God. If we are to be faithful to our commitment to transform the world, we will reach out with an open, genuine hospitality to people wherever they are, inviting and welcoming them as we seek to renew existing congregations, start new faith communities, and inspire faithful discipleship.
Congregational Life Ministries is announcing Renaissance 2017-2020, a two-foci approach empowering people to more fully articulate and embody their faith at such a significant time in the world today. Renaissance 2017-2020 is simply about reaching out to people with the Good News of God’s love through Jesus Christ. God is calling us to multiply vital ministry that will reach more people, more young people, and more diverse people in our communities. Together, the two-point foci are our calling and our mission.
1. Growing Vital Churches: Focusing churches and leaders on the following key drivers of congregational vitality:
-- Disciples actively engaged in the practices of healthy small group life, mission, and generosity.
-- Creating evangelistic church cultures that receive people, relate them to God, help them grow spiritually, and go into the world with the good news. Exploring the roles pastors and laity must fulfill that prepare the congregation for ministry beyond the church property.
-- Intergenerational Ministries for young to older ages that inspire faithful discipleship and life-changing practices that empower people to embody and share God’s love, renewing the local congregation and transforming the world. Vital churches champion the well-being of all people, providing appropriate learning opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the life of the church.
-- Intercultural Ministry training to church planters, existing church pastors, and district leadership interested in more diverse ministries and congregations in their areas.
-- Equipping people with a vital faith to be effective leaders in the local church.
-- Pastoral leadership that increases the spiritual and participatory capacity of people to accomplish changes in the church, and that transforms the local community.
-- Inviting and inspiring worship that evokes a Spirit-filled presence of God enabling people to live a meaningful, faith-integrated life.
2. Start 1: The process of calling, training, and supporting new and experienced church planters drawing on resources and leaders whose mission is to support pioneers and fresh expressions of faith communities throughout the United States:
Congregational Life Ministries will work with district and denominational leadership to recruit, organize, and offer best practices to train expert church planters. Through a movement called Start 1, the effort stimulates congregational growth, building on a church multiplication ethic inherited from our Anabaptist/Pietist roots and scripture.
How will Congregational Life Ministries fulfill Renaissance 2017-2020? By way of resources, events, and social media, Congregational Life Ministries will equip congregations and pastors drawing on local, regional, and national resources and leaders whose mission is to provide training and support. Also, the Congregational Life Ministries website will be enhanced with effective resources that relate to the key drivers of church vitality and church planting.
-- Stan Dueck serves as director of Transforming Practices and is a co-coordinator of Congregational Life Ministries.