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congregational vitality

vitality resources

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Congregational Vitality – Why do we want it? How do we achieve it?

Congregational Vitality is defined as worshipping communities of Jesus that deepen a person’s relationship with God, each other and the world. The following resources are intended in helping our rostered leaders and lay leadership in becoming vital communities of faith. Resources will continue to be added to this page as they become available. Look for current learning opportunities and other information to support you as a leader and congregation.

Stewardship

Books

Embracing Stewardship: How to Put Stewardship at the Heart of Your Congregation by Charles “Chick” Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy
A great book for stewardship. There is an overview of stewardship, as well as practical things for implementation. Great for a Stewardship Committee or Finance Team to read through together.

Abundance: Creating a Culture of Generosity by Mike Ward
Mike uses beekeeping as a metaphor for the Christian life together. This is an easy and practical read for stewardship committees or church council members to ground everyone in a shared vision of stewardship

Additional Resources

Giving to God: The Bible’s Good News about Living a Generous Life by Mark Allan Powell

Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks by Diana Butler Bass

The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynn Twist

Preaching and Stewardship: Proclaiming God’s Invitation to Grow (Vital Worship Healthy Congregations) by Craig Satterlee

The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts by Luther Snow

The Spirituality of Fundraising by Henri Nouwen

New Consecration Sunday: Stewardship Program by Herb Miller

Chasing Down a Rumor: The Death of Mainline Denominations by Robert Bacher and Ken Inskeep

Consuming Faith: Integrating Who We Are with What We Buy by Tom Beaudoin

Podcasts

Center for Generosity Podcast with Deacon Mitzie Schafer
Podcast about stewardship, giving, donors, etc. Episodes are typically under 30 minutes.

Understanding a Theology of Stewardship

The Depth and Breadth of Stewardship Theology by Michael Meier

Step by Step Michael Meier

Giving, A Bible Study Series on Stewardship by  Michael Meier

Stewardship & the Economy of God by John H. Reuman

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics by Ched Myers

Stewardship as Worship, Devotions and Prayer

Jesus’ Teaching about Money: A Guide to Biblical Stewardships by Loyal E. Golv

One Minute Stewardship Sermons by Charles Cloughen, Jr.

technology

Books

From Social Media to Social Ministry: A Guide to Digital Discipleship by Nona Jones
Tips and ideas for using Facebook in particular for more than just posting announcements.

e-Vangelism: Creating and Implementing a Social Media by Dr. Martin Luther Quick
Dr. Quick discusses how does a church go from being online to having an online ministry? Which platforms work best for your church’s context? How can I convince my church leadership that a Social Media ministry is necessary? How will the Post-Pandemic church do both in-person and online ministry simultaneously? Some of these questions likely keep you up at night if you are a church leader. So rather than reading articles that give you quick fixes and quick tips, this book chronicles Dr. Quick’s pre-pandemic doctoral dissertation case study, shares his experience as a digital pastor responding to the pandemic, and offers insightful quick takes after each chapter.

Becoming a Hybrid Church by Dave Daubert and Richard E.T. Jorgensen, Jr.
A book about balancing the online and in-person aspects of ministry – from worship, to committees, to pastoral care, and more.

Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture by Ryan M. Panzer
Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-Shaped Culture explores change and ministry at the intersection of technology, culture, and church. In today’s tech-shaped culture, we learn and we know through questions, connection, collaboration, and creativity–the networked values of the digital age. Drawing on experiences from a career as an instructional designer in the technology industry and a lifetime of leadership in the Lutheran church, Ryan M. Panzer argues that digital technology is not a set of tools, but a force for cultural transformation that has profound implications for ministry. See more from our 2020 Synod Assembly below.

Grace and Gigabytes Webinars

“Being church in a tech-shaped culture”
A learning resource brought to you by the South Carolina Synod.

“We know that hybrid ministry creates a missional opportunity by combining offline and online connections. So let us boldly go into a future of seamless integration between the offline and the online. Let us lead into a future where digital apps and tools deepen faith formation, enrich congregational bonds, and strengthen Christian fellowship. As we explore together hybrid forms of worship, faith formation, and stewardship, may these webinars beam us into a new era where faith is nourished in physical and cyberspace alike.” 
Ryan M. Panzer

Author, Grace and Gigabytes: Being Church in a Tech-shaped Culture

Book Study Part One: Questions

Book Study Part Two: Connections

Book Study Part three: Questions

Book Study Part four: Questions

Keynote One: The Holy and the Hybrid by Ryan Panzer – 2021 ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly

Keynote Two: The Holy and the Hybrid by Ryan Panzer – 2021 ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly

Websites

lifelongfaith.com
You will need a few digital tools to make online programming effective. Most of these tools are free or have a very reasonable subscription price. Here are a few essentials that will help you create new approaches to faith formation.

Strategic Planning

Books

Holy Conversations: Strategic Planning as a Spiritual Practice for Congregations by Gil Rendle and Alice Mann
Helpful book if one wants to look at strategic planning through a holy lens. Great for basics and inspiring conversation among Councils and leaders.

Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team by Simon Sinek
Helpful for starting the deep work of discerning “why” your congregation or organization exists. Specific activities can be used in many settings but work well to get to the heart of stories that capture your organization’s “why.” Simon writes primarily to a business or non-church audience, but his wisdom can certainly be made spiritual and used by churches.

Cultivating the Missional Church: New Soil for Growing Vestries and Leaders by Randolph C. Ferebee
A book about helping to grow leaders in the congregation, mostly by working with Congregation Council.

Websites

faithlead.luthersem.edu
Get connected and equipped for ministry in today’s world. Faith+Lead provides just-in-time learning experiences for passionate lay and ordained ministry leaders who want to grow in their capacity to live out a gospel witness in today’s cultures.

Practical Matters

Books

Canoeing the Mountains: Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger
A great book on learning to lead when you don’t know what is ahead of you. The tools we have and what we were taught aren’t always sufficient for what we need to lead in the present.

Rethink Communication: A Playbook to Clarify and Communicate Everything in Your Church by Phil Bowdle
While seemingly geared toward larger congregations with a “media team,” this book can help even the smallest congregation think about communicating an idea. This can help with sermons, announcements, and social media.

Church Administration: Programs/Process/Purpose by Robert Bacher and Michael Cooper-White
Simple theological backing for the practical matters of meetings or administration of a congregation, as well as samples of practical agendas or forms or guides.

Podcasts

Alpha and Omega Leadership by Wade Roof
Archive of conversations with the purpose of developing and exploring faithful leadership inside and outside the Church with God’s people in mind. Episodes are generally about an hour, some are longer.

Websites

faithlead.luthersem.edu
Get connected and equipped for ministry in today’s world. Faith+Lead provides just-in-time learning experiences for passionate lay and ordained ministry leaders who want to grow in their capacity to live out a gospel witness in today’s cultures.

churchfuel.com
Leading a church is hard. We help you create systems and structure that lead to growth. Our resources, templates, and courses will help be a more confident leader. And when you need extra help, our coaches are available for a 1-on-1 conversation to help you navigate any situation.

vibrantfaith.org
Faith grows more vibrant when the discipleship journey embraces the whole person. Discover the Whole-Person Ministry Leadership Approach.

Additional Resources

Faith & Christianity Archives from Barna Group

safegatherings.com

ELCA Coaching
Coaching is a relational alliance that leverages the art of deep listening, powerful questions and intentional exploration to produce awareness, change, and transformation for the client. In coaching, the client has agency, is the one naming the goals, designs action plans to meet those goals, and does 80% of the talking. Faith-based coaching (from a Christian lens) looks at each individual as beloved of God, believes that person has been specifically gifted by God, and helps the person discover how they are being invited by God to use these gifts in God’s work of loving and healing the world.

Outreach

Books

Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin
Practical book for congregations asking “why aren’t there more young people in our church?” or “how do we get more young people?” While it may not give an exact roadmap or solve all of a congregation’s problems, this is a great book for leadership teams to read in that it helps to build compassion and understanding for youth and young adults. Additional materials can be found through The Fuller Institute as well.

Mission Partners

Get In Touch

This is Christ’s Church. There is a place for you here.

We are the church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. Liberated by our faith, we embrace you as a whole person–questions, complexities and all. Join us as we do God’s work in Christ’s name for the life of the world.

Contact Information

ELCA South Carolina Synod
1003 Richland Street
Columbia, SC 29201
Telephone 803-765-0590
Fax 803-252-5558

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