“Who are we called to be at this time and place?” This is the question congregations wrestle with as they engage with the congregational vitality process of the Saint Paul Area Synod. Knowing that every congregation is unique in who they are and where they serve, this process is designed to be flexible and contextual. The process helps congregations reclaim their own identity while listening deeply to the community around them. The knowledge gained from intentional listening helps shape a plan for the future. It also provides a foundation for continued discernment about where God is leading them.
Congregational Vitality Tools for Congregations
To assist with the journey of vitality, the synod's Vitality Team has developed several opportunities for congregations:
Congregation Vitality Survey
The Congregation Vitality Survey is an assessment tool for your congregation. It provides valuable feedback about how your congregation is doing in key areas that are proven indicators of overall health. After administration, the surveys are scored by an independent firm and then interpreted with your congregation by the Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) or a member of the Vitality Team. From this, you decide how best to move forward. The DEM and members of the Vitality Team will walk with you through this process. This process can be as simple as a one-day retreat or a more strategic plan that gets at who you are and where God is calling you to go.
Tools for the Church
Tools for the Church includes three gatherings for pastors and church leaders to engage the work of vitality and to make a plan to live it out in their setting. These robust gatherings feature inspiring speakers and hands-on activities to think creatively about how we live into the future where and how God is calling us.
October 1, 2022 - Mission, Vision, Values
- Claim Your WHY
- Learn listening techniques and make a strategy for deep listening in your setting
- Become grounded in the foundations of vitality
January 21, 2023 - Innovative Practices
- Learn about design theory
- Be encouraged to take risks for your ministry...plan some!
- Learn how to experiment well
April 29, 2023 - Reaching Outside Our Walls
- Moving from "welcoming" to "inviting"
- How to share your faith story
- Asset mapping
- Demographics of your ministry area
Vision, Mission, Goal Setting Retreat
This is a full day or two-day retreat that provides structure and opportunity to listen to God, to one another and to the community around you. Listening activities provide a clearer sense of what God is already up to in your part of the world and how God is calling you forward. This can lead to conversation and the drafting of a vision and mission statement or it can produce a Ministry Plan for Action focusing on attainable goals that line up with your stated vision and mission. God has gifted us with everything we need — this retreat will help your congregation connect the dots and move forward with boldness and confidence.
Liberating Structures for Mission Cohort
Each spring we begin an 18-month cohort that takes congregational leaders and pastors into the nitty-gritty work of examining how their current structures enhance or hold back their ability to respond to God's call. Monthly gatherings online or in person are the foundation of this process as we learn together how to become more free of that which holds us back. Liberating structures is for congregations ready to make exponential changes in their life together. Learn more by reaching out to the Rev. Justin Grimm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have you ever heard that 80% of church work is done by 20% of the people? Why is that? Folks don't engage in the work of the congregation for a variety of reasons: busy lives, not fully bought in, etc. One main reason, however, is because we haven't invited people to fully utilize the spiritual gifts God has given them! To help turn the 80/20 divide on its head and to help people live out a life of faith, we need a plan. Gift-oriented ministry - using spiritual gifts as a way for mission - is one way to do this. If you are interested in hosting a spiritual gifts retreat at your congregation, contact the Rev. Justin Grimm at email@example.com.
Stewardship Opportunities for Your Ministry
At the heart of a vital congregation is a healthy understanding of stewardship. The Saint Paul Area Synod partners with GSB Consulting to offer two stewardship processes which bring stewardship experts who will walk with your team:
- Stewardship For All Seasons - a year-long cohort model that will take you through a general stewardship campaign as well as a special appeal looking at the key principles of being faithful in our call to be generous.
- Building a Culture of Generosity - a four-week session in the fall that will help your congregation prepare to run a general stewardship appeal.
For more information about the synod's partnership with GSB Consulting, contact the Rev. Justin Grimm at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purpose Statement of the Saint Paul Area Synod's Vitality Team:
Rooted in the holy we stand together with congregations to reshape the church for the future.
This work is grounded by the following values:
Listening | Collaboration | Innovation | Equipping | Endless Possibility