Mission Tools for Congregations

A Congregational Mission Planning Resource: Aim at nothing and you will generally hit it! We now have a resource to help congregations discern and plan their missions. It provides a biblical foundation, a process for understanding the neighborhood and community surrounding the church, and steps to develop a plan for the congregation's ministry in the next 2-3 years. Our synod's resource to work on congregational mission planning is now available to download. Click HERE for attachments (scroll to bottom of "Mission Tools" page.)

ON THE ROAD TOGETHER WITH CHRIST JESUS

 

The Outreach Committee is the synod committee responsible for mission development. We have a list of Mission Tools available for our congregations and their pastors as they seek to work together to strengthen their mission.

The tools are always being renewed and strengthened. Some of the tools that we offer have been available for years. Some are more recent and we are still learning their value as they are applied to congregational life.

Each of the congregations of our synod has aspects that make them unique. It is important to have a discussion with our Director for Evangelical Mission, Pastor Blair Morgan, regarding the mission challenges you face. He can then share which of the available tools might be most helpful to meet your current situation.

These first four have become the essential tools for our work in congregational renewal:

1)  Mission Planning: Aim at nothing and you will generally hit it! We now have a resource to help congregations discern and plan their missions. It provides a biblical foundation, a process for understanding the neighborhood and community surrounding the church, and steps to develop a plan for the congregation's ministry in the next 2-3 years. Our synod's resource to work on congregational mission planning is now available to download. The attachments are at the bottom of this page.

2)  Transformational Ministry (TM): Congregations sometimes reach a point where they know they need to seriously consider significant changes in their ministry. TM takes a congregation on a journey of spiritual discernment. It starts with a focus of renewal of the team that has been called to oversee the process. It works next toward the renewal of the congregation. It finally takes that congregation into a ministry of renewal of the community in which they reside.

3)  Natural Church Development (NCD): This process provides a way for congregations to look at their ministries around 8 key characteristics of vitality in ministry. The congregation develops a health team to work through this process. There is an evaluation done of congregational ministry; a plan worked through to address the characteristic that needs the most work; an evaluation done again to see how things have progressed; and a new plan developed. This works best with congregations who have established missions, years of ministry living out those missions and now looking to evaluate their ministry and focus on the weakest of their 8 key characteristics.  For more information about Natural Church Development, click HERE.

4)  Cooperative Ministry: This can take many forms from congregations and pastors joining to work together on VBS, fellowship events, outreach ministries or Confirmation instruction to congregations sharing pastoral leadership in multiple ways. Yet, the key to this cooperation is the goal of strengthening and expansion of Gospel ministry. We believe this is an essential renewing tool for the congregations of our synod and important for them to consider.

 

These next tools are used as resources for specific congregational needs:

 

Mission Partners: This is a program that encourages congregations to be in a partner relationship for ministry support. It often involves a congregation with a specific ministry need and another congregation willing to respond to that need. A covenant is developed that includes mutual prayer support of their ministries. This has been a program of the ELCA for many years that we are working to renew and strengthen in our synod.

Asset Mapping: This is a simple, 2-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.

Healthy Congregations: This tool uses family systems theory as the foundation for its work in training congregational leaders to have better communication skills. It requires the time investment of at least 3 sessions of 3 hours each to experience the training. It has been very well received wherever it has been offered.

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.

Some additional tools are in the development stage, but are not yet ready to be put into congregations.

You can reach Pastor Blair Morgan at the Synod Office by telephone (412-367-8222) or you can e-mail him at blair.morgan@elca.orq.

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2012 Mission Planning - SWPA Synod - Participant Final.doc506.5 KB
2012 Mission Planning - SWPA Synod - Leader's Guide Final-1.doc327.5 KB