+Bishop Jon Anderson
A few months ago, I invited our deans to tell me what are some signs of congregational vitality.
Here is the list I gathered.
What would you add?
What do you wrestle with in the list?
What gives life to your congregation?
How do we faithfully innovate to have God’s faithfulness and work in Jesus at the center while finding ways to serve our communities and lives?
+ A vital congregation is noisy. There is a holy buzz. A quiet church is often a sign of a dying church if there is not a focus on quiet for contemplative reasons.
+ A vital church is outward looking. It is interested in what is happening outside its walls. It gathers energy inside the congregation to be sent into God’s world.
+ Kids are asking the congregation to step up and be the church they are called to be.
+ A vital congregation sees visitation as the work of the whole community.
+ A vital congregation believes God brings new people. It is transparent about its confidence in God and it asks for the Spirit to work.
+ A vital community of faith is willing to take risks. It has a vision and it works to get to them.
+ A vital congregation sees all of the people as assisting ministers.
+ Vital congregations find ways to involve children in the worship service. Having children join in readings, as greeters, as ushers, as folks who welcome people with the Apostolic Greeting and send people to serve with the Benediction are some of the things that congregations do to invite their children and all people to be a part of in worship.
+ Congregations that are vital have a sense of playfulness and joy.
+ Congregations that are vital laugh together and share stories of sadness, hope and people’s transformation.
+ Vital congregations try new things. They are willing to share new models of ministry that might serve this time better.
+ Vital communities of faith share their buildings with 12 step groups, their community and with other communities of faith.
+ Vital congregations help their neighbors, valuing those younger and older. They notice and appreciate gifts.
+ Healthy communities of faith form alliances with other congregations, faith communities and groups in their community to love their neighbors and care for God’s earth.