The tools and resources are always being updated and enhanced by what is learned from each congregation’s utilization of them. The following resources and tools are based strongly on the premise that each congregation
- no matter the size or location within our synod - is gifted by God to participate in God’s mission of making a difference in their lives and the lives of their neighbors near and far.
Each of our synod’s congregations has aspects that make them unique. Pastor Keith Zeh, our synod’s Director for Evangelical Mission, is available to discuss the challenges and opportunities being faced. He can point out which of the following available resources and tools might be most helpful to meet the current circumstance and context. Ministry Reviews: A ministry review is a time for reflecting together on how ministry is going and what level of health is present for the congregation to carry mission forward. It is a chance to be the church together and mutually discern what’s next. A ministry review team made up of people from around the synod will commit significant time to listening and providing an outside perspective. A congregational ministry review team will commit their time as well to serve as the voice of the congregation during the process, helping the visiting team to get to know the congregation beyond its surface. The Synod team will look closely and listen deeply to people from within the congregation and surrounding community so that they may reflect back what is heard and seen. This team will share affirmations about what is going well, where they have experienced God at work in and through the congregation, and will share recommendations to further develop/hone the ministry going forward. Re-Rooting in God’s Mission: Growing In, Up and Out: This is a process for congregations seeking to move from maintaining survival to continually renewing. This journey of renewal seeks to engage and involve the whole congregation. It emphasizes growing ministry with what God has already provided, rather than lamenting and obsessing about what you don’t have. Being centered in God’s work, prayer, conversation and navigating change calmly, confidently and effectively are among the focuses of this journey. Discovering Your Congregation’s Future: This is a study and planning process revolving around five questions. The primary purpose for taking this journey is to discover anew God’s mission for congregations and to root congregations deeper in the communities they’ve been planted to be the church participating in God’s mission. These five questions are: What is our congregation’s purpose/role in God’s mission? What is our story? Who are our neighbors? Who are we? How is God calling us to respond?Story Matters: A resource to help congregations discover and articulate, in a deep and biblically based conversation, their unique identity and mission. Congregations are invited to participate in a conversation that centers on the one biblical story that they identify for themselves as their defining story. The hope is that extensive engagement with their chosen passage will help the congregation to form their identity as a missional community, to deepen their practice of faith, and to live out their specific vocation as a called and sent community of disciples. A Season for Prayer and Renewal: This resource offers congregations several flexible options for use in observing a period of time or season of the church year for prayer, reflection and conversation in a spirit of attentiveness in seeking fresh vision for living out a sense of God’s purpose in God’s mission. Discovering Hope: This is a resource “from the field, for the field” where best practices discovered by congregations experiencing renewal in the most unlikely settings and circumstances are shared for other congregations to discover for themselves. Area Ministry Conversations: A process where congregations talk, imagine and discover together ways they collaborate and cooperate for the sake of the Gospel. What might congregations be able to do together that they could not do on their own?Asset Mapping: This is a simple, two-hour event that can help a congregation to develop new mission ideas for their church when they are ready to do so, but just feel kind of stuck. It is a fun way to identify the assets that are available and to connect them together in new ways to identify new possible ministries. It also is designed to have new volunteers ready to participate in those new ideas.Unbinding the Gospel: This is a resource that is guided by the book by that title and written by Martha Grace Reese. It is a creative guide to help a pastor and a congregation to grow in their ministry of evangelism and witness. It is designed for the challenges that mainline congregations and their members face as they consider being witnesses of the Gospel. More information is available at their website: www.GraceNet.info.
For additional information, contact Pastor Keith Zeh at the Synod office by phone (701-232-3381) or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org