Vital Churches

Being Presbyterian myself, I don’t always keep up with Methodist initiatives as well as I ought. I was interested to learn about the UMC Vital Churches initiative, which appears to align well with the work our Council has been doing lately.

Vital congregations are:

  • Spirit-filled, forward-leaning communities of believers that welcome all people (Galatians 3: 28)
  • Places where Disciples of Jesus Christ are made through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28: 18-20)
  • Communities that serve like Christ through justice and mercy ministries. (Micah 6:8, Luke 4:17-21)

A Vital Congregation has:

  • Inviting & Inspiring Worship
  • Engaged Disciples in mission & outreach
  • Gifted, Empowered & Equipped Lay Leadership
  • Effective, Equipped & Inspired Clergy Leadership
  • Small Group Ministries
  • Strong Children’s & Youth Ministry

(See this list of 16 drivers of vitality.)

The congregations include disciples (Matthew 22:36-40) who:

  • worship regularly
  • help make new disciples
  • are engaged in growing in their faith
  • are engaged in mission
  • share by giving in mission

One Future for the Church

I admit I haven’t followed the UMC Conference as closely as I probably ought to have. I’m still learning, well, pretty much everything about the United Methodist side of Jewel Lake Parish, and denominational activities aren’t at the top of my list. Still, it’s something I have some interest in, so I tried to pay at least a little attention to news about the conference.

Here is a video that was shown as part of the GC2012 Connectional Table Presentation:

(The program is about three quarters of an hour, so unless you’re really interested, I’d recommend you scrub forward and watch the two minutes that begin at 40:15. Or you can go directly there by clicking this link.)

The video is concerned especially with the future of the UMC, or one possible future for the UMC, but it could be about the PC(USA) just as well.

That doesn’t have to be the future of the church, but for two many congregations, it will be. God is doing amazing things in the world—not just overseas, but in our country as well. But God won’t force it on us. If we refuse to be part of it, God will use other churches. So the question for us, and really every church, is whether or not we are willing to move forward into God’s great adventure.