Breakfast session focus on increasing church vitality
Nearly 60 people gathered to focus on “Tools for Increasing Your Church's Vitality.” Sponsored by the Communications Ministry Team of the Iowa Conference, the Monday morning breakfast session featured Caitlin Congdon, Manager, the Training & Development of United Methodist Communications.
“Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality” is aimed at increasing the understanding of what makes a vital congregation and why that’s important, as well as how to transform a congregation into one that is more vital. Congdon taught an overview of that course.
Congdon shared several ideas on behaviors of highly vital congregations. She suggested rethinking church and encouraged congregations to get involved in community events to broaden their reach.
Congdon did an activity called Break the Cycle that illustrated ways churches can connect with their communities. It showed three concentric circles around a center (you).
The first circle is the circle of friends you always see and always talk to at church. The second circle are people you should be talking to. These are people you see at church and at other times like school and activities but you don’t really know or talk to them. They don’t really volunteer but they show up to church sometimes.
The outside circle is people you see but never talk to. You may see them on the street or at the store but you never invite them to church. You want your church congregation connecting with these people through community outreach and events.
“Talk outside your radius. Be intentional about reaching out,” said Congdon.
Churches can use social media and web sites. She added that even if churches don’t have their own website or social media, it is easy to advertise on local community websites.
Congdon presented ideas to develop Pastoral and Lay leadership, create inspiring worship, and ways to grow small groups.
One small group idea that she shared was altering the times and locations of where established small groups meet to be more inclusive to a variety of members. Also, limit the number of people in each small group. Once it hits a certain size, have an experienced member form a new small group and so on.
“When setting goals and creating a vision,” she said, “churches should practice the genius of the ‘and’ instead of the tyranny of the ‘or.’” Rethink how you have always done things to include more people. Be willing to take risks.
United Methodist Communications offers church training live, online and even provides do-it-yourself opportunities to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to be an effective church leader. Tools for Increasing Your Church’s Vitality” is one of the several online course they provide. Click here
to learn more about United Methodist Communication’s online training.