Presentation on theme: "4/25/2014 LUMC – We’re Working On It Learning to grow vital congregations through effective small groups, vital personal faith in lay leaders, a mixture."— Presentation transcript:
4/25/2014 LUMC – We’re Working On It Learning to grow vital congregations through effective small groups, vital personal faith in lay leaders, a mixture of traditional and contemporary worship styles, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. By: Alethea Billigslea, Arlin Hodges, Alan Coleman, Daniel Morgan, Bev Hombroek, Steve Ketcham and Tera Ertz. Special assistance from Hattie Jackson
Introduction We have been studying these last month the new direction of the United Methodist Church to redirect the resources of the church toward creating more vital congregations. The literature on the subject is vast, and makes for interesting reading. The statistics in the Towers Watson report and the Vital Congregations database are enticing. However, as we seek to grow God’s kingdom, we must be mindful of what powers this vitality. Before we look at some of the Key Drivers of Vitality, we’ll examine what enlivens our efforts to grow vital congregations. We’ll look at the conflict that rises in our minds between intentionality and accountability, and the answer in Scripture for balancing the two. In previous years, the UMC has focused its efforts on intentionality. As I understand it, this approach to vitality was best summed up by Paul’s admonition to the Ephesians in chapter 2:8-9 “ 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The church focused on catchphrases like “walking by faith,” “Open hearts, open minds, open doors,” and teaching the word intentionality. This focus on intentionality, or faith, left us with membership numbers continuing to decline and struggling churches.
Introduction continued The Call to Action Steering Team and the Towers Watson reports helped us develop a new focus on accountability. The current literature teaches us to measure numbers and build accountability for clergy and leadership to help grow those numbers. This approach is best summed up by James’ admonition in chapter 2:14-17 “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good [b] is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”b The tension between these two factors: faith and works, is present throughout the New Testament. It is inherent in our nature to desire either accountability or intentionality, Faith Or Works. In examining the results of polls in the GBOD workshops for Developing Your Ministry Plan, this tension is once again swinging the church away from teaching faith toward a focus only on works.
Introduction Continued Scripture teaches that there is another way. Wesley summed up the Scriptural answer to human forces that are in seeming conflict with the idea expressed today as not “either or” but “both and.” We must have both faith and works if we are to succeed in growing vital congregations. Christ promised us that if we seek the Holy Spirit, He will show us how to balance the two. Today we will explore the need for a variety of small groups, we will investigate the need for deep personal faith in our lay leaders, and we will discover the need for diversity in our styles of worship. As we examine these areas, the other key drivers and vital congregation statistics, let us seek the balance of God in our work.
Vital churches have more small groups for all ages Why have small groups? The very nature of Methodism calls us to have small groups within our churches. The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church – 2012 states: P 255-256 “The ministries of the local church are offered so that people encounter God’s redeeming love for the world and respond by participating in God’s action in the world. To achieve this people need to be involved in a variety of small-group settings.” The Wesleyan movement began as a small group, grew through small groups, and exploded across the globe one small group at a time. The founder of the Methodist Church/Wesleyan movement, John Wesley believed that living a holy life required that believers share their lives in intimate fellowship on a regular basis and that these small groups should provide support, encouragement, and spiritual maturation as Methodists strived to live holy lives. Mr. Wesley also advocated another type of small group, Bands. Bands were a voluntary group of people that were in groupings by gender, age, and marital status. These groups professed a clear Christian faith and a desire to grow in love, holiness and purity of intention. He felt that there is “no holiness without social holiness.”
Church committeesUMMUMW Chancel choirPraise bandYouth Choir Youth BandChildren’s ChoirDrama/puppet ministry Ladies’ Prayer GroupSunday SchoolRun/walk groups Young Adult groupsTeachersBible Study groups Pioneer ClubSenior Groups (Bethesda’s Best)Joyseekers (visit homebound) Workout groupsSoftball teamsBasketball teams Craft groupsVBSAccountability Groups A congregation is a collection of groups … these and many more possibilities! Of these small groups some may be formed by the church council, some are historical and relate to the ministries of the church, and some are started by members. Each vital church should have a variety of small groups that support the formation of Christian disciples and keep the core of the group focused on God. In doing this they may concentrate on: teaching and learning, fellowship support community ministries accountability
The nature of Methodism calls us to have small groups within our churches.
“The ministries of the local church are offered so that people encounter God’s redeeming love for the world and respond by participating in God’s action in the world. To achieve this people need to be involved in a variety of small-group settings.” Book of Discipline 2012 ¶ 255-256
Small Groups Must: Support the formation of Christian disciples. Small groups must have structure and organization. This can be done around many commonalities. o Age groups (20-somethings, 30-somethings) o Family background (single, married, divorced), o With/without children o Location of home o Hobbies and interests o Spiritual Gifts Each group must have solid leadership. o Recognize, develop and train potential leaders for success.
Teaching Learning Fellowship Support Community ministries Accountability Spiritual growth Empowering lay ministry
Active, Christ-focused small groups: Help the individual grow in holiness of heart and life Increase the vitality of the church body Nurture and equip church leadership and laity for ministry
10% of visitors will become new members of a church. Engaging people in small groups provides relationships with God and people. 50% of visitors who connect with a small group will become new members.
Vital churches have spiritually engaged lay leaders who understand that God desires a personal relationship with each of us. Lay leaders that understand this demonstrate personal practices of deliberate faith disciplines. We participate in disciplines that help us grow in faith outside of our normal weekly worship service. We understand that growing spiritually does not just come from hearing the message in the weekly worship service, but there must be other opportunities for spiritual growth. These disciplines include regular prayer, Bible studies, Sunday school classes, attending worship regularly, proportional giving, and sharing our faith with others among others. These disciplines allow us to grow our relationships with God and each other.
Family School Church Work Community Ministry Faith
First impressions Volunteer in the community Lead by example Eighty seven percent (87%) of people between the ages of 16 and 29 who do not attend church say they view the church as hypocritical. They have formed this opinion from watching Christians interact in the world.
Attitudes Actions Vital congregation lay leaders display continuous personal growth, help develop disciples, attend and/or lead bible studies, are members of church council, and are workers of the church. The fruits of the Spirit are evident in laity who demonstrates a vital and faithful relationship with Jesus Christ. The fruits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:21-23).
Worship attendance Bible Study Mission Experience Discussing faith & testimony with other believers Time in prayer
Salvation – develop a relationship with Christ and accept him as your personal savior. Scripture – Transformation through reading and studying the Bible. Sharing – with the Lord, a Christian friend, and unbelievers. Suffering – one of the tools God uses to mature us (James 1:2-4). Service – an essential part of spiritual growth is engaging in the good works God has prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). Serious & focused prayer – to hear the leading of the Holy Spirit.
The Wesleyan tradition states that we must organize and invite laity to be engaged in the Wesleyan Means of Grace Both Works of Piety and Works of Mercy
Prayer Fasting Reading Meditating and studying Scripture Regularly attending worship Healthy living Regularly receiving sacraments Christian conferencing (accountability) Bible study
Doing good works Visiting the sick Visiting the imprisoned Sharing faith Feeding the hungry Giving generously to those in need Seeking justice Ending oppression & discrimination Serving with the poor
There is a wide variety of worship styles offered in today’s churches. Churches that provide a mix of both traditional and more contemporary styles of service appeal to a larger range of worshippers and show a higher level of vitality.
Wesley considered worship one of the Means of Grace essential to Christian development and spiritual growth. How we worship isn’t as important as why we worship.
Praise God Thank God Confess our sins Testify to the Gospel of Christ Learn application of Biblical truth to our present life Offer ourselves to God Prayers of intercession Unify us with one another and God
Growth in overall attendance Engagement of the congregation Spiritual growth of the congregation Attract new members Foster movement of the Spirit
Praise God Thank God Confess our sins Testify to the Gospel of Christ Unify us with one another and God Order of Worship provides a guide Call to worship Hymn Invocation Old Testament reading Lord’s Prayer & Apostle's Creed New Testament reading Sermon Hymn
Testify to the Gospel of Christ Learn application of Biblical truth to our present life Offer ourselves to God Unify us with one another and God Topical sermons address current needs and issues in the life of the congregation Series sermons allow for ongoing engagement over several weeks Typically incorporate a call to action
Praise God Thank God Confess our sins Offer ourselves to God Unify us with one another and God Modern worship music draws people into praise, thanksgiving and repentance with relatable lyrics and easy to remember music Multi-media engages the visual and audio learning processes allowing better retention and engagement
Know the congregation’s needs Focus on the style that best helps the congregation and community worship with purpose Know our limitations Find ways to make changes easy for clergy and worship leaders