Strengthening Existing Parishes and Ministries
Goal in Strenghtening Churches and Ministries:
Our goal is to see every existing congregation strengthened to be fulfilling The Great Commission in the surrounding community in which they are planted.
Why is it important?
Strengthening existing parishes and ministries, referred to as “revitalization” is vital to a healthy Gulf Atlantic Diocese (GAD). Revitalized local congregations are necessary and essential for the continued well-being and even existence of a thriving Anglicanism in our times. Both statistics and general observation show that some of our churches are smaller, and aging, without many, if any, young people. No one wants to see a congregation so hard fought for to cease to exist. It’s necessary and essential that they are revitalized! But many don’t know what to do or how to grow.
However, there’s hope. Revitalization is possible! We serve a God where all things are possible! If He can create the entire universe from nothing and can raise Jesus from the dead, surely He can bring new life to Anglican congregations! And it is vital to the GAD that He does!
What defines a healthy church?
We are struck by the letters “v-i-t-a-l” that are in the middle of the word “revitalization.” One definition of “vital” is: necessary to life – as in our vital organs. Just as our vital organs must all be working properly in order for our physical bodies to be healthy and growing, there are certain vital systems in every local church body that are necessary for it to be a healthy, growing church. These vitals for church health can be summed up in the following five areas:
Each of these five areas working properly and together are vital – necessary – in every local church for it to be healthy and revitalized.
A Biblical Model of a Healthy Church: Acts 2:42-47
“A fully-functioning Biblical community”:
42-47: They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
In Acts 2:42-47, we see people that are in love with Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit:
- Gather together for regular Worship: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.”
- Meet together for Fellowship: “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”
- Grow in maturity through Discipleship: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
- Serve one another in Ministry: “Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”
- Bring in others to the church through Evangelism: “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
Purpose of Assessments
We currently utilize two assessment tools to gain insights into the health of every church. Based on the results of these assessments, we can offer specific resources and help in order to strengthen the congregations.
The Church Life Cycle Assessment is taken by church leaders to determine where the church sees itself on the church life cycle. Are they in Incline, Recline, or Decline? One way to know if a church needs revitalization is to do an honest assessment of where it is in the church’s life cycle. Learn more about the assessment here. Once you have taken the assessment, contact The Rev. Canon Mark Eldredge for your results.
The Revive Church Health Assessment is taken by the entire congregation to assess the overall health of the congregation. This assessment checks “the vital” signs of a congregation measuring areas of strengths and areas needing attention. Learn more about this assessment here.
How does the diocese currently help?
Currently the diocese provides help for the strengthening of congregations through:
- Regular deanery gatherings where the clergy meet to discuss ways to improve vital areas of church health.
- Online cohorts of clergy in churches that are in recline or early decline on the church life cycle. These cohorts are facilitated by a coach who leads more in depth discussions on how to grow in the vital areas of church health.
- Coaching and Consulting. The Canon for Congregational Health, Mark Eldredge, is available for on sight consultations with ongoing one-on-one coaching, or will provide a coach, for churches in need of strengthening.
Questions and Information
For more information or questions, please contact The Rev. Canon Mark Eldredge.