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Congregational Vitality

BY THE REV. RICK CARTER

Director for Evangelical Mission

You have heard these words over the last several months in emails, convocation, assembly and in conversations with colleagues. Exactly what does it mean – Congregational Vitality?

The Domestic Mission Unit, Churchwide Office, Chicago, defines Congregational Vitality, “Communities of Jesus that nurture life changing relationships with God, one another, and the world.”

Explanations of the phrases/words:

  • The phrase “Communities of Jesus” is meant to evoke an expansive understanding of the how, in this age, people are gathering to engage God’s Word. We envision campus ministries, Bible Camps, pub theology gatherings and more as places where the Triune God is at work creating faith.
  • While we use the word “Jesus”, we understand that it is God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who through the power of the Holy Spirit calls, gathers and makes holy.
  • Regarding the phrase “nurture life changing relationships”, in relationship with the Triune God and others we are most certainly nurtured, but we are also changed; in other words, the Word has the power to transform.

Reverend Patti Sue Burton Pye, Convener for Congregational Vitality Network, says, “this Network within our South Carolina Synod is truly critical for our congregations. We have very important work ahead of us to resource our congregations to becoming vital ministries.” Currently, the Congregational Vitality Network is in the process of launching several resources over the coming 2020 year. We are in process of creating a strong infrastructure that will host resources and opportunities for leadership and congregations to access for learning and discovering new spiritual practices to develop healthy communities of Jesus that are transforming lives.

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