Home Moving Towards Greater Vitality - Issue #136

Moving Towards Greater Vitality - Issue #136

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Salem United Methodist Church is a medium-sized congregation in Conway, Arkansas. The church realized that if the congregation was to move faithfully into the future, it needed an intentional way to train and develop spiritual leaders.

Salem UMC decided to participate in the Innovative Leadership Project. This is a seven-month process in which a team of five to ten people, including the pastor, come together to pray, learn, and work cooperatively. The process includes weekly assignments that rotate between individual work and team work. Various tools are introduced throughout the process that help the team develop strategies for congregational vitality.

One of the tools that the church found particularly helpful was the Spiritual Life Template which challenged team members to identify spiritual disciplines they needed to practice more faithfully. As team members began to hold one another accountable for spiritual growth, they also began to value and trust one another. This trust enabled them to tackle critical issues related to worship, small groups, outreach, and strategies needed for congregational growth.

Twenty people have now been trained through this process, and the church is experiencing growth as new leaders take responsibility for various areas of ministry. Having a core group of leaders who pray together, listen to one another, and seek to focus on what is best for the entire church is an essential element in Salem UMC’s move toward increasing spiritual vitality.

Some Questions for Discussion

  • What intentional processes do you have in place to develop deep trust among congregational leaders so that they are enabled to tackle critical issues?

  • How do your congregational leaders hold one another accountable for individual and corporate spiritual growth?

  • How are leaders equipped to participate in the spiritual practices of prayer, daily reading of the Bible, daily devotion, weekly worship, family prayer, and service to others?

Craig Kennet Miller is the Director of Pastoral Leadership at the Discipleship Ministries and can be reached at [email protected].More information about the Innovative Leadership Project can be found at http://churchleaderumc.com.


In 2007 church leaders throughout The United Methodist Church in the U.S. were invited to identify churches that demonstrated the vision of discipleship described in the twelfth chapter of Romans. Over 200 churches were surveyed or visited. Issue #136. © 2012 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this page for use in United Methodist congregations.