Vitality Questions

Date posted: Sunday 23 October 2022

Leaders from five congregations and the Synod Vitality Team gathered at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church on the East Side of St. Paul on Oct. 1 for Vitality 101. This particular event focused on foundations of vitality, mission/vision/values, and spiritual listening (listening to God, self, others/community). Many stories were shared throughout the day. The time also included a wonderful morning worship led by musician and worship planner and leader Nate Crary and Pastor Kirsten Fryer, as well as a time for centering prayer.


One person said at the end of the day, “We are so glad to know we are not alone.” Another person wrote, “I was grateful for these hours with church leaders, focusing on the ‘why’ questions, and the roadmap to vitality, which is always really a round-a-bout.”


The Synod Vitality Team takes on adaptive questions with a collaborative approach. There are certainly some technical pieces tended to on any given day but far more time is spent on deep questions with no easy answers. Questions such as:

  • Why does your church exist?
  • What is your why?
  • Where do you encounter the movement of the Spirit?
  • Where have you felt the Holy or Sacred recently?
  • Where is God calling you?
  • How do we adapt to the ever-changing realities?


There are no easy answers to any of this, but we are called to engage in these and many other profound questions together. Having a solid mission and vision and then really understanding and operating out of our values can benefit us greatly. Listening to God and each other is foundational to any authentic congregational vitality and renewal.


The Synod Vitality Team is leading three workshops each year. The next one will be held on Jan. 21 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Gustavus Adolphus. It will focus on experimentation, design thinking and innovation. Watch for more information and registration in the coming weeks and plan to join us!


by Rolf Lowenberg-DeBoer

Assistant to the Bishop for Lay Leadership and Equity Initiatives