Vital Congregations

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Church in our contemporary context has lost a univocal identity and purpose. No longer can the Church identify itself as a culturally dominant and homogenous institution with flush membership statistics and easily discernible roles and responsibilities for members and leaders, nor can it rely on the assumptions of increasing membership, ceaseless resources, and implicit relevancy and meaning within the culture.1 “We are no longer citizens of the modern era with its consensus story and its guiding values of self-sufficiency, reason, progress and optimism. We live in a culture and society that is officially secular and religiously pluralistic. We are no longer the religious establishment, but one voice and perspective among many.”2 Understanding and articulating this reality is necessary in order to locate us in a position of openness and receptiveness to a new worldview. It is from this understanding that the general work of congregational development must begin. From this vantage point we seek an authentic experience of God’s presence and mission for our lives and our churches amidst the backdrop of a specific culture context of time and place.

The resources provided below are offered as companions for your journey moving, prodding and holding out God’s promise for vitality in each of our congregations. They are not answers or solutions in and of themselves, but ideas and suggestions for you to take and use as you see fit within your context of ministry. We offer them with a spirit of enthusiasm and optimism believing that God is in fact doing something new if only we were ready to perceive it. So take only what is useful and then let us know how Holy Spirit used your good intentions.

We are eager to hear from you as we continue the work of developing resources for the diocesan household. Please feel free to contact us by email with stories, questions or suggestions at vitality@edomi.org.

The Church of Christ in Every Age
Wonder, Love and Praise (779). A Supplement to The Hymnal 1982
Words: Fred Pratt Green (b. 1930) ç 1971 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188
The church of Christ in every age, beset by change but spirit led,
must claim and test its heritage and keep on rising from the dead.
Across the world, across the street, the victims of injustice cry for shelter
and for bread to eat and never live until they die.
Then let the servant church arise.
A caring church that longs to be a partner in Christ’s sacrifice,
and clothed in Christ’s humanity.
For Christ alone, whose blood was shed, can cure the fever in our blood.
And teach us how to share our bread and feed the starving multitude.
We have no mission but to serve in full obedience to our Lord:
to care for all without reserve and spread Christ’s liberating word.

1For further support and salient talking points see: Darrell Guder,
ed., Missional Church: A Vision for Sending of the Church in
North America (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 1998), 1-76;
and Anthony Robinson, Transforming Congregational Culture,
(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2003), 1-11.
2Anthony Robinson, Transforming Congregational Culture, 126.

Downloadable Resources

12 Marks of Healthy Church Behavior
How Not to Grow Your Church
Parish Websites
The Church Vital
Welcome Centers
World Cafe Conversations

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