Pathways to Congregational Vitality

Pathways to Congregational Vitality is a series of articles on issues related to the foundational ministries of all congregations: worship and preaching, evangelism, Christian education and formation, stewardship, and others.

Each article will include information and reflection on the selected topic, ideas for discussion and application, and other resources for further information and assistance.

These resources are intended to be used with your leadership team -- perhaps as a prelude to either short- or long-range planning.


1: Pathways to Congregational Vitality
Vital congregations engage in a holistic ministry that brings together the "pillars" -- Christian education and formation, evangelism, stewardship, and worship -- to serve each other in the whole process of disciple-making.


2: Christian Education and Formation Ministry
Vital congregations engage in a ministry of Christian education and formation through small groups and classes. The pastor and key laity are crucial leaders, equippers, and advocates. Establishing measures helps to evaluate this ministry and keep it strong.


3: Planning Vital Weekly Worship
Vital worship is Sacramental, Liturgical, Indigenous, Connected, and Embodied. This SLICE is achieved through thoughtful planning and evaluation by the pastor and worship team.


4: Equipping Teachers and Small-Group Leaders
Clear expectations and standards are crucial for teachers and leaders, but we also need a foundation in place that supports those standards.


5: Preaching for Transformation
Preaching for transformation provides food for thought and practical advice about preaching as it relates to discipleship. The main thesis of the article is that sermons become a catalyst for spiritual formation as well as providing information. The article includes a generous bibliography of recent books on the topic as well as a sermon worksheet.


6: Create an Evangelistic Church Culture
Vital congregations create evangelistic church cultures that receive people, relate them to God, help them grow spiritually, and go into the world with the good news. This article highlights the key roles clergy and laity must fulfill and provides strategies that will prepare your congregation for ministry beyond the four walls of the church building.


7: Unleashing the Generosity of Our People
Vital Congregations are successful in growing generous disciples for Jesus Christ and realize that the focus of stewardship is not on the church's need for money but on the disciple's relationship with Christ and the church and his or her need to give. This article focuses on what can happen when a congregation is able to make this shift in focus, and it explores five key elements that appear present in congregations that are successful in growing generous disciples: self-examination, first-fruits teaching, personal witness, clear vision for mission, and high expectation of members.


Desatando La Generosidad De Nuestra Gente
Muchas de las congregaciones de la Iglesia Metodista Unida usan – casi de manera exclusiva – la palabra "mayordomía" durante el otoño de cada año, para describir el proceso en que se le pide a la gente venga a la iglesia y haga las promesas de ofrendas, con el fin de que la iglesia tenga los medios necesarios para pagar las cuentas del próximo año. El Rev. Dr. Ken Sloan, director de mayordomía y ministerios conexionales en la Junta General de Discipulado, describe un panorama mucho más amplio de la mayordomía en el artículo "Desatando la generosidad de nuestra gente". El autor menciona en este recurso: pasos de acción, preguntas para la discusión y recursos para su iglesia local.


8: Digital Children Engaged in Vital Communities
A vital disciple-making congregation advocates for the well-being of all children, and provides developmentally appropriate, multiple and ongoing opportunities for children to participate fully in the life of the church. This booklet explores the key elements to ministering to the spiritual needs and faith formation of children of the digital generation, allowing them to grow into the fullness of their God-given gifts.