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congregational vitality

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.

vitality resources

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

Sign up for the "being church in a tech-shaped culture" webinars by Ryan M. Panzer

Join Ryan for three 90-minute Tech Talk webinars with facilitated breakouts and Q&A

July 29, August 5 & 12
All webinars will be held via Zoom from 10 –11:30 AM

Cost: $15 for all three webinars


four pre-webinar book studies to help you get ready

Ryan has provided 4 pre-webinar book study videos that will be posted prior to the live webinars. The videos will post July 1, 8, 15, and 22.

Ryan M. Panzer, the author of Grace and Gigabytes, has provided four pre-webinar book study videos that will help you prepare for the upcoming webinar series based on his keynote address at the 2021 South Carolina Synod Assembly on June 26th.

Being church in a tech-shaped culture is a learning resource brought to you by the ELCA South Carolina Synod.

Grace and Gigabytes is available from Augsburg Fortress ( and Amazon (

Book Study Part One: Questions

Book Study Part Two: Connections

Book Study Part three: Questions

Book Study Part four: Questions

faith formation resources

Faith Formation in a Post-Pandemic World

A Webinar Program for Designing Faith for 2021 and Beyond

The pandemic disrupted all of life, including the ways that we have done faith formation. In the midst of the pandemic pastors and faith formation leaders have done amazingly creative work in faith formation, reaching and engaging people of all ages at home, in small groups, and online—using digital tools and methods, such as websites, digital playlists, video conferencing, streaming, online classrooms, and social media platforms. Their work was nothing short of a transformation in the how and when and where of faith formation.

Now as we emerge into the post-pandemic world, we can begin planning for the future of faith formation in Christian churches. Leaders are asking. . . .

  • How have our people been changed by the pandemic? What new needs and hungers have emerged? How can we respond to their lives in the post-pandemic world?
  • How do we build on the effective approaches and tools we used during the pandemic? How do we sustain our innovations into the future?
  • Where are the new opportunities for forming faith? What’s possible now?
  • How do we build more resilient, responsive, and adaptive faith formation for the future?

This webinar program and accompanying resources from Lifelong Faith Associates seeks to answer the question:

What will faith formation look like as we emerge from the pandemic in Fall 2021 and beyond?


  • Each webinar is 90 minutes in length with presentation, group interaction, and application activities; and conducted on Zoom.
  • The program includes resources created to accompany each webinar and assist churches in designing faith formation—all provided on the website. Videos from each presentation will also be available after the presentation to share with your leaders and teams in the church.

Members of ELCA Region 9 = $40
Those Outside of ELCA Region 9 = $80

Webinar Descriptions, Dates, and Presenters

Designing Children and Family Faith Formation for the Post-Pandemic World

Thursday, July 22, 2021 2:00 to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Presenter: Rev. Dr. Tanya Eustace Campen

The Children’s Faith Formation webinar engages leaders in designing faith formation with children (0-10 years old) and parents that puts the primary emphasis on their lives and needs today, and how to best nurture their grow in faith and discipleship. The webinar presents a holistic approach to faith formation with children by incorporating intergenerational, family, and age group experiences; and presents practices and strategies for designing faith formation that reinvents current programming and develops new and innovative approaches to children’s faith formation.

Rev. Dr. Tanya Marie Eustace Campen is an ordained deacon in the Rio Texas Conference and currently serves as Director of Intergenerational Discipleship for the Rio Texas Conference Office. She has a Masters of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Doctorate in Christian education and congregational studies from Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. Her research focus is children’s spirituality. She has more than 20 years of experience as a Christian educator, youth director, and minister to children and families in the local church. She regularly teaches faith formation courses, webinars, and workshops for ministry leaders.

Building Community and Relationships in the Post-Pandemic World

Thursday July 29, 2021 2:00 to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Presenter: Jane Angha

The Building Community and Relationships webinar inspires and equips leaders in engaging children, youth, adults, and families as they return from a time of hybrid or at home learning. So many things have happened since the pandemic began and each of us and our ministries are forever changed. We will address those changes, discover what was successful and help create a path forward to welcome, offer hospitality, build relationships and create community. We will identify the scriptural and communal foundations of hospitality, assess current efforts and look for new opportunities as we reimagine our ministries and serve those in the faith community. The webinar will offer tools and resources to assess, innovate and design simple, effective and practical ways to create a community of welcome, hospitality and engagement that brings together everyone in the community. If we get this right, all our ministry efforts will be more successful and impactful from the start!

Jane Angha MTS is the founder of Ministry Blueprints, a company dedicated to hospitality, welcome and engagement training for faith communities. Jane served a Director of Faith Formation and Youth Ministry in Catholic parishes for over 20 years, worked as Project Coordinator for Young Neighbors in Action with the Center for Ministry Development and as a Diocesan Coordinator for Young Adult ministry in the Diocese of Green Bay. She is a national speaker, consultant, coach, teacher and trainer as well as a national conference speaker. Her website is

Designing Hybrid Faith Formation for the Post-Pandemic World

Thursday, August 5, 2021 2:00 to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Presenter: Rev. Kathy Pittenger

For decades the church and faith formation have relied on in-person, fixed-time gatherings, events, and programming offered in physical spaces. The pandemic disrupted this “default” model, and pushed us to experiment with new models. Hybrid models of church and faith formation integrate in-person gatherings at church or in family groups or small group meetings with online content with a rich menu of faith forming experiences. Hybrid models hold together two important values: the importance of in-person relationships and faith forming experiences, and the importance of being responsive to the complexity of people’s lives and their religious-spiritual needs. Hybrid models expand faith formation opportunities for everyone, allowing leaders to become much more strategic about when, where, how, and for what we gather people because we can now integrate online with in-person faith forming. This webinar presents a variety of models for developing a hybrid future for lifelong faith formation in 2021 and beyond.

Rev. Kathy Pittenger is an Ordained Deacon and serves as Children’s Initiatives Coordinator for the Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church. Previously she served as the Pastor of Lifelong Faith Formation for Central United Methodist Church in Waterford, MI. She earned a Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. Her passion lies in the areas of children¹s ministry, literacy awareness, discipleship pathways, and walking with people on their spiritual journey. Kathy has been involved with local school partnerships for over six years.

Planning for 2022 and Beyond: A Faith Formation Planning Clinic

Thursday, August 12, 2021 2:00 to 3:30 pm (Eastern Time)
Presenter: Catherine LaVecchia

This webinar is in the form of a clinic to guide churches in developing a plan for post-pandemic faith formation using the ideas and strategies presented in the webinars. The goal is to help each church build a plan, build capacity for implementing the plan (support systems, resources, people, etc.), and develop the strategies for implementing the plan.

Catherine (Catzel) LaVecchia is the Director of Lifelong Learning at Church of the Presentation, Upper Saddle River, NJ. She has served in various ministry capacities for the past 30 years, including youth ministry, family faith formation, and lifelong faith formation. Catzel is most passionate about parish ministries, ministering to the differently-abled, and creating effective and meaningful faith formation opportunities for all ages. She has also taught theology and spirituality to college students for many years. She has a Masters Degrees in Pastoral Ministry and Religious Education and a Certificate in Church Management from Villanova’s Center for Church Management.

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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