Several new study resources for the Advent season and the Winter curriculum quarter are now available from Brethren Press. The new resources include “Unwrapping the Gift of Advent” in the Vital Ministry Journey study series; the Winter quarter of the Shine curriculum exploring the life and ministry of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Matthew; a new Believers Church Bible Commentary on Philippians.
The Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren “provide coaches, collaborators, and consultants to assist congregations in reaching out and connecting with their local communities,” according to the ministries’ webpage. Currently, Congregational Life Ministries staff are making resources available for congregations to discern their gifts, explore their vitality, and teach others about the practices of the church.
The Church of the Brethren Congregational Life Ministries started the Vital Ministry Journey in 2011. According to Jonathan Shively, executive director of Congregational Life Ministries, the initiative started with a conversation between Congregational Life staff and Middle Pennsylvania District executive David Steele. Shively and Stan Dueck, director of Transforming Practices, had conversations with Steele about how to find a way to work with different congregations to solve problems proactively.
Congregational Life Ministries of the Church of the Brethren is making available a set of Bible study tools for congregations and districts embarking on the Vital Ministry Journey. Three Bible studies have been published as paperback booklets.
Mission and Ministry Board members got a glimpse of a new congregational survey that will be part of the Vital Ministry Journey for churches and districts, named a new at-large member pending affirmation at Annual Conference, reviewed financial reports from 2012, and made a small change to the 2013 budget among other business at the spring meeting.
Initially developed with Middle Pennsylvania District, the new Vital Ministry Journey is being considered by several other districts and congregations across the denomination. An emerging effort of Congregational Life Ministries, Vital Ministry Journey is a way for denominational staff to partner with congregations and districts toward holistic health.