Vital Congregations Resources
- Faithlink -- a weekly, electronically downloaded small group resource. The July 3, 2011, edition is “Call to Action.” Faithlink is available by subscription via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by downloading it from the Web (www.cokesbury.com/faithlink).
- Vital Congregations Planning Document -- Download available from the Kansas East or Kansas West conference websites. This document is a tool for helping congregations set and meet the goals needed to become effective and vital congregations for the Kingdom of God.
- Leading Ideas -- a free e-newsletter from the Lewis Leadership Center at Wesley Seminary. It provides thoughtful, relevant and succinct information for church leaders. Subscribe to Leading Ideas.
- Small group resources for children, youth and adults available from www.GBOD.org.
- More information available about the Call to Action created by the Council of Bishops and Connectional Table to guide our denominational response to the mission of the church to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world and focus our ministry efforts around global health, ministry with the poor, growing congregations and developing leaders. Available at www.umc.org/calltoaction.
- Planning tools for becoming a more vital congregation are available at http://umvitalcongregations.org/
- 5 Ways to Better Equip Vital Congregations from GBOD - an electronic newsletter from the General Board of Discipleship featuring five ideas from their ministry areas to equip vital congregations. To subscribe, visit http://bit.ly/uXzMaU.
- Outreach Magazine's weekly electronic newsletter features practical information from top church leaders across the country for congregations of all sizes. To subscribe, visit the Outreach Magazine website.
- Toward Vitality - This Facebook page is devoted to the results of a research project of the United Methodist Church seeking to find the factors that contribute to a congregation successfully navigating change.
- Vital Signs – Dashboard -- This an online tool provided by the General Council on Finance and Administration that gathers data weekly from local churches on six key indicators of church vitality. The site also offers a way to share the story of the church's ministry for the week, telling the story behind the numbers. This information can be used by congregations as the numbers are used to tell the story of the congregation. The numbers not only tell where a congregation has been but could indicate where a church needs to move toward. Learn more about the Vital Signs Dashboard. If you have questions about signing up, please contact email@example.com.
- Vital Congregations Planning DVD - Rev. Evelyn Fisher and Rev. Linda Louderback lead a workshop on the Vital Congregations Planning Guide for local churches. Content is broken into smaller segments, allowing for conversation time. Request a copy by contacting Bev Weber.
- Takin' It To The Streets - Facilitating Transformation by Walking, Mapping, and Covering Your Community in Prayer. Workshop led by Rev. Rob Schmutz, United Methodist Church at Park City. Sponsored by the Wichita East District. Available for $5 per copy from the Wichita East District.
- The Interpreter -- July/August 2011 edition. “Called to Act” - 2011 State of the Church Report. This magazine is an official ministry publication of the UMC with a mission of informing, inspiring and engaging United Methodist lay leaders and clergy as they carry out their mission for Jesus Christ. Leaders in each congregation receive this magazine free of charge.
- Serving from the Heart – a spiritual gifts workbook. God’s plan for the church calls for each member of the Body of Christ to play a vital role. God wants us to find joy and fulfillment when we serve. That happens when we serve a role that matches who God created us to be. This study leads adults through assessing their spiritual gifts, talents and abilities, resources, individual style, dreams and experiences…all adding up to an enhanced capacity to serve God and neighbor. This study is available through www.cokesbury.com.
- Kansas West Connection regularly features vital ministries happening in congregations throughout the Kansas West Annual Conference. Read articles online at www.kswestumc.org/news.
The Externally Focused Church by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw. Learn from churches that have made serving their communities a priority. This book uses case studies from churches that have mastered community service and is attracting new people. Learn how churches have made community service a part of their DNA. Through this study your church will expand God’s kingdom when it extends God’s love to the people in your community. Available from Cokesbury (www.cokesbury.com ) or www.amazon.com both hardback and kindle editions.
The Externally Focused Quest by Eric Swanson and Rick Rusaw. The sequel to The Externally Focused Church. Available from Cokesbury (www.cokesbury.com ) or www.amazon.com both hardback and kindle editions.
Power Surge: Six Marks of Discipleship for a Changing Church by Michael Foss. Power Surge makes the case for a dynamic, functional model of church affiliation that moves away from a membership model centered on prerogatives of membership to a discipleship model centered on the notion of Christian vocation/calling. It proposes a grace-centered, rather than legalistic, model of discipleship and builds a bridge through transferable principles between congregational mission mindedness and the individual Christian’s life of faith. This book utilizes assessment tools and practical helps so that congregations can make the transition between membership and discipleship. Available from Cokesbury (www.cokesbury.com ) or www.amazon.com in both hardback and kindle editions.
Renovate or Die: 10 Ways to Focus Your Church on Mission by Bob Farr. Be the Church Jesus calls us to be. Bob Farr asserts that to change the world, we must first change the church. With straightforward language and practical tips, this book will inspire and help you organize your church for new life on the mission field. Learn how to grow your church and discover the commitments that denominational leaders must make to guarantee the fruitfulness of local congregations. Available from Cokesbury (www.cokesbury.com ).
Turnaround and Beyond: a Hopeful Future for Small Membership Churches by Ron Crandall. This book is an update of the classic guide to turning around decline in the small membership church. This edition shows what makes a turnaround successful in the long term. Available from Cokesbury (www.cokesbury.com ) or www.amazon.com
Conference Staff Resources
Kansas East and Kansas West conferences have staff available to as resources to churches as they seek to become vital. Specific areas will be leadership development, creating a vision for your local church and establishing goals and strategies to attain the vision. Contact Rev. Evelyn Fisher at 316-684-0266 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
Leadership Development Opportunities
- ABIDE -- ABIDE is a 15-month process designed by Spiritual Leadership, Inc. to help smaller membership churches rediscover what it means to be Abiding in Christ. A team composed of the pastor and 4-12 laypersons from each congregation commit themselves to leading the process in their congregation. The team will: 1) pray for one another, the church and community and for God’s leading; 2) learn about yourself, your team, your community and how to be a better leader in Christ’s church; and 3) develop a vision for ministry for the congregation to reach out into the community. The next session begins September 30, 2011. For more information contact Rev. Evelyn Fisher at 316-684-0266 or email@example.com.
- Leadership and Faith Transforming Communities (LFTC) -- has trained facilitators who are available to come to your church to facilitate conversations around vision, goals and strategies. Contact Rev. Evelyn Fisher at 316-684-0266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.