Digital Dialogue Focuses on Increasing Church Vitality
Members of the
More than 4,000 sites accessed the webinar throughout the three-hour span, and submitted more than 500 questions. In
Speaking from Matthew 28:16-20, President-elect of the Council of Bishops, Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of
“What does it mean to go?
“In God’s mission, we will have to go to places where we are aliens… In God’s mission, we will have to learn new languages to tell the gospel… In God’s mission, we, ourselves, will be transformed. We will not be the same. We will be more welcoming, more gracious, more risk taking, more diverse, less bound by rules, all-in-all more Christ centered and more in touch with God’s people outside the walls of the church.”
While acknowledging that the denomination’s mission field is “outside the church,” leaders also maintained that local churches are still the primary “disciple-making body.” The “adaptive challenge” that the Leadership Summit addressed is to: Redirect the flow of attention, energy and resources to increase the number of vital congregations.
“We need to make changes in how we behave as a church,” said Bishop Gregory Palmer of
Time, funding and personnel are among the resources being evaluated.
How is vitality measured?
The summit focused on defining and measuring church vitality. A variety of benchmarks were lifted up, from Acts 2 to The Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations.
Video testimonials were also used to illustrate fruitfulness. The
Although vitality can be clearly visible (or invisible), the question of how to measure it is still murky.
The Call to Action summarizes some components of vitality:
n Effective pastoral leadership including inspirational preaching, mentoring laity, and effective management.
n Multiple small groups and programs for children and youth.
n A mix of traditional and contemporary worship services.
n A high percentage of spiritually engaged laity who assume leadership roles.
Bishop Larry Goodpastor of
Visit www.umcleadershipsummit.org to watch an archived copy of the event.