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Becoming the Vital Churches and Disciples that Tomorrow Requires


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Title: Becoming the Vital Churches and Disciples that Tomorrow Requires

Becoming the Vital Churches and Disciples that
Tomorrow Requires
  • David Schoen
  • Congregational Vitality and Discipleship
  • Local Church Ministries
  • United Church of Christ

Vital churches in the 21st Century Missional,
Relational Conversational
  • Missional in purpose
  • Relational in outreach
  • Conversational in witness

Vital Churches in 21st Century
  • Local Churches are
  • Missional Communities,
  • moving from membership based social organizations
  • discipleship forming missional communities.  
  • Our mission focus is transforming lives, by
    transforming both individuals and wider social

Missional in Purpose
  • Vital congregations
  • clear sense of purpose
  • Vital congregations
  • are sent churches
  • Vital congregations
  • reach out beyond themselves
  • Vital congregations
  • reproduce and plant new congregations

Missional Church
  • The Church exists to serve Gods Mission
    Mission as Missio Dei, UCC Committee on
    Structure, 1992
  • The church of Jesus Christ is the instrument and
    sign of Gods mission and realm.
  • Gods mission is calling and sending us, the
    church of Jesus Christ, to be a missionary church
    in our own societies, in the cultures in which we
    find ourselves.

Identity and Mission
  • Reverend Otis Moss III from Trinity United Church
    of Christ in Chicago speaks on Church Vitality
    and Discipleship

Vital congregations discern Gods call and mission
  • The greatest characteristic of a vital
    congregation is the ability to articulate and
    live Gods purpose.
  • What is God calling this church to be and do at
    this time, in this place, with the gifts we have
    on this corner of Gods realm that we are placed?

Missional in Purpose
  • What is Your Mission Statement?
  • Mission Statement should be
  • 7 9 words or less
  • Engaging
  • Compelling
  • Visionary
  • True

Missional Purpose
  • Cathedral of Hope UCC
  • The Mission of the Cathedral of Hope is to
    reclaim Christianity as a faith of  extravagant
    grace, radical inclusion and relentless
  • We are a people of compassion
  • We are a people of inclusion
  • We are a people of liberation
  • We are a people of hope
  • We are a people of Jesus

Missional Statement
  • First Grace UCC, Akron OH
  • First grace..then faith and works!
  • First Congregtional UCC Santa Rosa
  • Making Gods love visible
  • Others
  • Strangers no more
  • Jesus loves youthis we know!
  • In the Heart of the City with the City in our
  • A Church Just for You, A Just Church for You.

Vital churches are vital in community where they
are located
  • No congregation can afford to ignore its context
    or those in the surrounding community.
  • Congregations that live only for themselves are
    starting a trip toward extinction. Herb
    Miller, How to Build a Magnetic Church
  • Vital congregations are vital on the corner of
    Gods realm where they are planted. Gil Rendle

Missional Church outreach to community and
  • God is still speaking to us in culture and
  • Gods purpose is that our communities are not
    forsaken or the land desolate.
  • Church no longer center of community, but it can
    be good neighbor.
  • Church can accompany community to be all that
    Gods realm would want the community to be.

Location, Location, Location?
  • Congregational Life Survey points to the relative
    unimportance of location in predicting either
    congregational strength or numerical growth.
  • Congregational location plays a minimal role in
    the numerical growth that congregations
  • Few measures of location had an impact on
    strength or growth.
  • Vital growing congregations, as well as non-vital
    declining congregations can be found in any
  • Places of Promise Finding Strength in Your
    Congregations Location US Congregation Survey

The One important factor
  • The one location factor that does play a role in
    congregational vitality is the match between a
    congregations worshipers and the people in the
    community who are between 18 and 44 years of age.
    This critical age group must be recruited and
    openly welcomed in our congregations and we need
    to ensure our worship and activities meet their

Community Involvement Growth?
  • Involvement or focus on the community does not
    necessarily lead to growth
  • Congregations scoring high on focusing on the
    community place considerable emphasis on serving
    the needs of those outside the congregation.
  • They may de-emphasize or overlook the importance
    of inviting people to become part of the
    congregation and welcoming them warmly when they
  • Focusing on the community must be one of the
    other aspects of vitality, including welcoming
    new people, meaningful worship, caring for
    children and youth, engagement in the
    congregation and a sense of belonging. Places of

Places of Promise Finding Strength in Your
Congregations Location
  • Traditionally we think about context as location.
     In this view
  • Community context determines who we were, what we
    are, and what our future holds.
  • Congregations are passivelocation has the upper
  • Leaders use contractual language about
    locationour location is a piece of real estate
    with a specific land value, appraised as a retail
    outlet might appraise a location.  Its a

Places of Promise Finding Strength in Your
Congregations Location
  • InsteadThink about context as place. 
  • Location is Gods gift to us.  The congregation
    is in this place at this time for a reasonGods
  • Congregations can achieve strength and
    effectiveness in their present location.
  • God claimed this place for us the place claims
    us as people of faith.  We have inherited this
    place from those who first worshiped here, and we
    have an obligation to use it wisely and care for

Places of Promise Finding Strength in Your
Congregations Location
  • Questions to be asked
  • How did our congregation come to be in this
    location? What is our birth story? 
  • Why has God planted us here?
  • What significant things have happened in this
    location that continue to shape our ministry?
  • What do we believe are the strengths of our
  • What steps can we take to build on the strengths
    of our location? Who is in our community that we
    can reach out to?

Know your neighborhood Know your mission field
  • Demographic Information
  • Percept
  • Mission Insite
  • Using Demographic Information
  • Community knowledge
  • Missional outreach and program

Resources for Vital Congregations
  • Ready, Set, Grow Resources
  • Vital-o-Meter
  • Discovering your Congregations Strengths
  • Discerning your Congregations Mission
  • Vitality Interviews
  • Demographic Information
  • Percept
  • Mission Insite

True Life Story of Vital Church Involved in
Missional in Purpose Relational in Outreach
  • Ministry in 21st Century is Relational
  • Build community with those outside the church
  • Get to know the unchurched people and culture

  • the world has changed
  • 60 80 unchurched
  • 80 of baby boomers left
  • 80 of youth have negative view of
  • Culture does not support church

Relational in Outreach
  • Bridge the gap by building relationships
  • The days of waiting for people to come to church
    to welcome them are over.
  • Instead of waiting inside, we go outside

Relational in Outreach
  • What do you think when you hear the word.

Celtic Evangelism
  • In The Celtic Way of Evangelism How Christianity
    Can Reach the West . . . Again, George Hunter
    writes about the difference between what he
    describes as the evangelism approach in Roman and
    Celtic Christianity.

Celtic Evangelism
  • Roman Model Celtic Model
  • Presentation Fellowship
  • Decision Ministry and
  • Fellowship Belief, Invitation

Belonging and Believing
  • Christianity is more caught than taught!
  • As Professor Robin Gill observes, belonging comes
    before believing. For this reason, evangelism is
    now about helping people to belong so that they
    can believe.

Missional Outreach
  • Go to where the unchurched are Starbucks,
    Borders Parks, Gymns
  • I stopped wondering about how to draw younger
    folks into my church and started focusing on how
    to draw my congregation out of its building and
    into relationship with the world outside its

Go Forth. Into the Virtual World.
  • In Asia, Europe and North Americaan entire
    generation has experienced the Internet as a
    means for maintaining relationships with family
    and friends.
  • The Internet is a lifeline for users whose
    mobility is limited by disability, chronic
    illness or advanced age.
  • The Internet is where we can find and engage

The Socialization of the Web
You Now Control the Message!
The socialization of the web ... is now forcing
a renaissance that is transforming information
distribution, human interaction and everything
that orbits this nascent ecosystem. Brian
Solis, PR2.0, Unveiling New Influencers
The Churchs message never changed but its
methods must change Craig Groeschel,
  • Modern day example

Ministry doesnt happen online
We havent had a new visitor in 10 years
Our congregation is on dial-up
Our congregation is older
Its too expensive
Our membership is too small
We dont have enough staff
We like things the way they are
What are the excuses?
Costs are nominal or FREE!
Sweat Equity Passion to Share Christs Message
Missional in Purpose Relational in Outreach
  • Ministry in 21st Century is Relational
  • Build community with those outside the church
  • Get to know the unchurched people and culture

Resources for Vital Congregations
  • Ready, Set, Grow Resources
  • Its a Whole New World
  • Knowing Your Neighborhood
  • Web University and online resources

Relational in Outreach Conversational in Witness
  • Conversational ministry is central to the future
    of the church in 21st Century
  • Count conversations, not conversions
  • Brian McLaren, More Ready than You Think

Conversational in Witness
  • Buzz Marketing
  • Evangelism
  • One beggar telling another where there is food
  • Come and See!

Conversational Ministry
  • The postmodern world calls for disciples who
    reach out to a world that is hungering for good
    conversation about faith, values, hope, meaning,
    purpose, goodness, beauty, truth, life after
    death, life before death and God. Engaging in
    everyday faith conversations will not only help
    others become Christians, it will help us become
    better Christians, who know and love the still
    speaking God more than ever.

Conversational Ministry
  • A world of spiritual seekers wants to talk.
  • We are the ones who are not talking!
  • An unchurched world doesnt know why we do what
    we do.
  • Vital churches are communities in which the
    pastor and members have invited 5 to 15 new folks
    to their community of faith in the past six

Witness and Invitation UCC-Style
Tricking the church into Evangelism Taking it
What do you say when someone asks you about your
comma? For us it means Gods not stuck. God
still has more light and truth for us today. My
church believes that God is still speaking to us
today. It means that no matter how bad things
are in my life or in the world, God is in the
midst of it.
Are you Ready to Talk?
Tricking the church into Evangelism Taking it
Are You Ready to Talk?
  • Why do you love your church?
  • What impact has believing in God and following
    Jesus made in your life?
  • What Bible text has made a difference in your

God is still speaking,
  • Through you and me!

Welcome and Hospitality
Hospitality is an act of worship Greeting the
Divine Shekinah
Becoming a Welcoming Church
  • You wont magically turn your church into a
    welcoming church overnight. However, with
    organization and planning you can make it feel
    that way to visitors and seekers. What you are
    planting today will eventually transform your
    congregation into a welcoming place . . . expect
    it to take time.

Becoming a Welcoming Church
  • Does your church actively invite others into its
    worship and ministry?
  • Do visiting guests feel welcome in your church?
  • Avoid the perfection trap, often a mask for fear.
  • Are there things you can do better to be a
    visible witness and active presence of Gods
    radical and all-inclusive welcome?
  • Tracking progress

Where will we be in 2020.?
  • The still speaking God
  • calls us to become
  • Churches that the Future Requires
  • Missional in purpose
  • Relational in outreach
  • Conversational in witness

And in Conclusion Seven Missional Lessons
  • God is calling the Church to be a missional
    community in an unchurched world.
  • Missional congregation is to be a sign and
    instrument of Gods realm in its community.
  • Missional congregation listens for and seeks out
    the still speaking God in culture and its
  • Missional congregation finds transformation and
    vitality in its location.

And in Conclusion Seven Missional Lessons
  • Missional congregation is driven to discern,
    articulate and live Gods calling and purpose for
    church and community.
  • Missional congregation is relational and
    conversational in outreach.
  • Missional congregation engages cultures tools,
    especially the web to reach out to world of

In Five Parts
Step 1 Select a team Step 2
Articulate your mission Step 3 Know your
missionfield Step 4 Know your strengths Step
5 Plan for desired measurable outcome
Two questions
  • Where are the signs of vitality in your
    congregation this spring?
  • What are you going to do from todays
    presentation to increase vitality in your

Resources for Vital Congregations
  • Vitality Powerpoint - Retreat Resources
  • Events and Webinars
  • Churches Birthing Churches
  • Redeveloper Leadership Institute
  • Web University
  • Evangelism and Leadership Webinars
  • myUCC http//
  • Congregational Vitality Ready, Set, Grow Group
  • Congregational Vitality Ready, Set, Grow Group

Thank You!
  • Thank you for your Vital Leadership
  • Thank you for Your Support of
  • Changing Lives Thats Our Churches Wider
  • Thank you for Spreading the Love
  • Strengthen the Church Offering