Vision 2020: Congregational Health
by The Rev. Mark Eldredge
Canon for Congregational Health
In 2019 my focus as Canon for Congregation Health was on working more directly with congregations in need of revitalization as well as providing coaching for clergy in those congregations. As the Deans or churches on their own identify that they are in maintenance or decline I was and will remain available to provide consultation and resources and in order to help each congregation become healthy and better impact their community with God’s Kingdom. I visited and/or consulted with 9 churches in 2019.
Recently, each church’s leadership took the Life Cycle Assessment to identify if the church is in incline, recline (plateau), or decline. In 2020 we will work with the Deans to provide specific help to churches depending on where they are on the Life Cycle:
- Churches that are in incline, we will continue to support through regular strategic deanery gatherings to help them to continue to stay focused on being healthy and expanding the Kingdom of God.
- Churches that are in recline, we will gather rectors in online cohorts to receive additional coaching on church health and growth. The cohort coach will facilitate conversations based on two ideas, 1. Humble Collaboration – meaning we’re all working on this together and each one will have wisdom and insights that will help the others, and 2. VITAL Conversations – meaning the groups will focus discussions on the five VITAL areas of a healthy church. They are Vision for Mission/Evangelism, Intentional Worship, Transformation to Christlikeness, Authentic Community, and Lay Mobilization. Doing all five of those areas well and in a balanced way will produce church health which will result in church growth.
- Churches that are in deep decline, we will individually work with to consider following a Legacy Church model which is, although painful, developing a plan to close well; celebrating what God has done in the past, and looking for ways to reinvest what time, treasure, and talent is still in the church into other Kingdom of God advancing opportunities.
Please reach out if I can be of service to you.