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Becoming the Vital Churches and Disciples that Tomorrow Requires. David Schoen Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Local Church Ministries United Church of Christ. Vital churches in the 21st Century Missional, Relational & Conversational. Missional in purpose Relational in outreach

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Becoming the vital churches and disciples that tomorrow requires l.jpg

Becoming the Vital Churches and Disciples that Tomorrow Requires

David Schoen

Congregational Vitality and Discipleship

Local Church Ministries

United Church of Christ


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Vital churches in the 21st Century RequiresMissional, Relational & Conversational

  • Missional in purpose

  • Relational in outreach

  • Conversational in witness


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Vital Churches in 21 Requiresst Century

  • Local Churches are

  • Missional Communities,

    • moving from membership based social organizations to

    • discipleship forming missional communities.  

  • Our mission focus is transforming lives, by transforming both individuals and wider social culture. 


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Missional in Purpose Requires

  • Vital congregations

    • clear sense of purpose

  • Vital congregations

    • are sent churches

  • Vital congregations

    • reach out beyond themselves

  • Vital congregations

    • reproduce and plant new congregations


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Missional Church Requires

  • “The Church exists to serve God’s Mission” Mission as Missio Dei, UCC Committee on Structure, 1992

  • The church of Jesus Christ is the instrument and sign of God’s mission and realm.

  • God’s mission is calling and sending us, the church of Jesus Christ, to be a missionary church in our own societies, in the cultures in which we find ourselves.


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Identity and Mission Requires

  • Reverend Otis Moss III from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago speaks on Church Vitality and Discipleship

  • www.ucc.org/vitality/ready-set-grow/video/otis-moss.html


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Vital congregations discern God’s call and mission Requires

  • The greatest characteristic of a vital congregation is the ability to articulate and live God’s purpose.

  • What is God calling this church to be and do at this time, in this place, with the gifts we have on this corner of God’s realm that we are placed?


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Missional in Purpose Requires

  • What is Your Mission Statement?

  • Mission Statement should be:

    • 7 – 9 words or less

    • Engaging

    • Compelling

    • Visionary

    • True


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Missional Purpose Requires

Cathedral of Hope UCC

  • The Mission of the Cathedral of Hope is to reclaim Christianity as a faith of  extravagant grace, radical inclusion and relentless compassion.

    We are a people of compassion

    We are a people of inclusion

    We are a people of liberation

    We are a people of hope

    We are a people of Jesus


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Missional Statement Requires

  • First Grace UCC, Akron OH

    • First grace…..then faith and works!

  • First Congregtional UCC Santa Rosa

    • Making God’s love visible

  • Others

    • Strangers no more…

    • Jesus loves you…this we know!

    • In the Heart of the City with the City in our Heart

    • A Church Just for You, A Just Church for You.


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Vital churches are vital in community where they are located Requires

  • No congregation can afford to ignore its context or those in the surrounding community.

  • “Congregations that live only for themselves are ‘starting a trip toward extinction’.” Herb Miller, How to Build a Magnetic Church

  • “Vital congregations are vital on the corner of God’s realm where they are planted.”Gil Rendle


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Missional Church outreach to community and neighborhood Requires

  • God is still speaking to us in culture and community.

  • God’s purpose is that our communities are not forsaken or the land desolate.

  • Church no longer center of community, but it can be good neighbor.

  • Church can accompany community to be all that God’s realm would want the community to be.


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Location, Location, Location? Requires

  • Congregational Life Survey points to the relative unimportance of location in predicting either congregational strength or numerical growth.

    • Congregational location plays a minimal role in the numerical growth that congregations experience.

    • Few measures of location had an impact on strength or growth.

    • Vital growing congregations, as well as non-vital declining congregations can be found in any location.

  • Places of Promise: Finding Strength in Your Congregation’s Location: US Congregation Survey 2008


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The One important factor Requires

  • The one location factor that does play a role in congregational vitality is the match between a congregation’s worshipers and the people in the community who are between 18 and 44 years of age. This critical age group must be recruited and openly welcomed in our congregations and we need to ensure our worship and activities meet their needs.


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Community Involvement = Growth? Requires

  • Involvement or focus on the community does not necessarily lead to growth

  • Congregations scoring high on focusing on the community place considerable emphasis on serving the needs of those outside the congregation.

  • They may de-emphasize or overlook the importance of inviting people to become part of the congregation and welcoming them warmly when they visit.

  • Focusing on the community must be one of the other aspects of vitality, including welcoming new people, meaningful worship, caring for children and youth, engagement in the congregation and a sense of belonging. Places of Promise


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Places of Promise RequiresFinding Strength in Your Congregation’s Locationwww.uscongregations.org

  • Traditionally we think about context as location.  In this view:

  • Community context determines who we were, what we are, and what our future holds.

  • Congregations are passive—location has the upper hand!

  • Leaders use contractual language about location—our location is a piece of real estate with a specific land value, appraised as a retail outlet might appraise a location.  It’s a commodity.


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Places of Promise RequiresFinding Strength in Your Congregation’s Locationwww.uscongregations.org

  • Instead—Think about context as place. 

  • Location is God’s gift to us.  The congregation is in this place at this time for a reason—God’s reason.

  • Congregations can achieve strength and effectiveness in their present location.

  • God claimed this place for us; the place claims us as people of faith.  We have inherited this place from those who first worshiped here, and we have an obligation to use it wisely and care for it.


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Places of Promise RequiresFinding Strength in Your Congregation’s Locationwww.uscongregations.org

  • Questions to be asked:

    • How did our congregation come to be in this location? What is our birth story? 

    • Why has God planted us here?

    • What significant things have happened in this location that continue to shape our ministry?

    • What do we believe are the strengths of our location?

    • What steps can we take to build on the strengths of our location? Who is in our community that we can reach out to?


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Know your neighborhood RequiresKnow your mission field

  • Demographic Information

    • Percept

    • Mission Insite www.missioninsite.com

  • Using Demographic Information

    • Community knowledge

    • Missional outreach and program


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Resources for Vital Congregations Requires

  • Ready, Set, Grow Resources

    • Vital-o-Meter

    • Discovering your Congregation’s Strengths

    • Discerning your Congregation’s Mission

    • Vitality Interviews

    • www.ucc.org/vitality

  • Demographic Information

    • Percept

    • Mission Insite www.missioninsite.com


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RequiresTrue Life” Story of Vital Church Involved inCommunity


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Missional in Purpose RequiresRelational in Outreach

  • Ministry in 21st Century is Relational

  • Build community with those outside the church

  • Get to know the unchurched people and culture


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  • the world has changed Requires

  • 60 – 80 % unchurched

  • 80 % of baby boomers left

  • 80 % of youth have negative view of church

  • Culture does not support church


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Relational in Outreach Requires

  • Bridge the gap by building relationships

  • The days of waiting for people to come to church to welcome them are over.

  • Instead of waiting inside, we go outside


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Relational in Outreach Requires

  • What do you think when you hear the word….

    • EVANGELISM ?


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Celtic Evangelism Requires

In The Celtic Way of Evangelism: How Christianity Can Reach the West . . . Again, George Hunter writes about the difference between what he describes as the evangelism approach in Roman and Celtic Christianity.


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Celtic Evangelism Requires

Roman Model Celtic Model

Presentation Fellowship

Decision Ministry and Conversation

Fellowship Belief, Invitation to Commitment


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Belonging and Believing Requires

Christianity is more caught than taught!

As Professor Robin Gill observes, belonging comes before believing. For this reason, evangelism is now about helping people to belong so that they can believe.


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Missional Outreach Requires

  • Go to where the unchurched are: Starbucks, Borders Parks, Gymns

  • “I stopped wondering about how to draw younger folks into my church and started focusing on how to draw my congregation out of its building and into relationship with the world outside its doors.”


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Go Forth…. Requires Into the Virtual World.

  • In Asia, Europe and North America—an entire generation has experienced the Internet as a means for maintaining relationships with family and friends.

  • The Internet is a lifeline for users whose mobility is limited by disability, chronic illness or advanced age.

  • The Internet is where we can find and engage seekers.


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The Socialization of the Web Requires

You Now Control the Message!

“The socialization of the web ... is now forcing a renaissance that is transforming information distribution, human interaction and everything that orbits this nascent ecosystem.”

Brian Solis, PR2.0, “Unveiling New Influencers” 6/29/2009


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The Church’s message never changed but its methods must changeCraig Groeschel, LifeChurch.tv



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Ministry doesn’t changehappen online

We haven’t had a new visitor in 10 years

Our congregationis on dial-up

Our congregation is older

It’s tooexpensive

Our membershipis too small

We don’t have enough staff

We like things the way they are

What are the excuses?



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Sweat Equity change

&

Passion to Share Christ’s Message


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Missional in Purpose changeRelational in Outreach

  • Ministry in 21st Century is Relational

  • Build community with those outside the church

  • Get to know the unchurched people and culture


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Resources for Vital Congregations change

  • Ready, Set, Grow Resources

    • “It’s a Whole New World”

    • Knowing Your Neighborhood

    • Web University and online resources

    • www.ucc.org/vitality


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Relational in Outreach changeConversational in Witness

  • Conversational ministry is central to the future of the church in 21st Century

  • Count conversations, not conversions

    • Brian McLaren, More Ready than You Think


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Conversational in Witness change

  • Buzz Marketing

  • Evangelism

    One beggar telling another where there is food

  • Come and See!


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Conversational Ministry change

  • The postmodern world calls for disciples who reach out to a world that is hungering for good conversation about faith, values, hope, meaning, purpose, goodness, beauty, truth, life after death, life before death and God. Engaging in everyday faith conversations will not only help others become Christians, it will help us become better Christians, who know and love the still speaking God more than ever.


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Conversational Ministry change

  • A world of spiritual seekers wants to talk.

  • We are the ones who are not talking!

  • An unchurched world doesn’t know why we do what we do.

  • Vital churches are communities in which the pastor and members have invited 5 to 15 new folks to their community of faith in the past six months.


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Witness and Invitation changeUCC-Style

“Tricking” the church into Evangelism – Taking it back!

What do you say when someone asks you about your comma?

“For us it means God’s not stuck. God still has more light and truth for us today.”

“My church believes that God is still speaking to us today.”

“It means that no matter how bad things are in my life or in the world, God is in the midst of it.”

V I T A L I T Y


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Are you Ready to Talk? change

“Tricking” the church into Evangelism – Taking it back!


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Are You Ready to Talk? change

Why do you love your church?

What impact has believing in God and following Jesus made in your life?

What Bible text has made a difference in your life?


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God is still speaking, change

Through you and me!


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Welcome and Hospitality change

Hospitality is an act of worshipGreeting the Divine Shekinah


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Becoming a Welcoming Church change

  • You won’t magically turn your church into a welcoming church overnight. However, with organization and planning you can make it feel that way to visitors and seekers. What you are planting today will eventually transform your congregation into a welcoming place . . . expect it to take time.


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Becoming a Welcoming Church change

  • Does your church actively invite others into its worship and ministry?

  • Do visiting guests feel welcome in your church?

  • Avoid the perfection trap, often a mask for fear.

  • Are there things you can do better to be a visible witness and active presence of God’s radical and all-inclusive welcome?

  • Tracking progress


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Where will we be in 2020….? change

  • The still speaking God

    • calls us to become

  • Churches that the Future Requires

    • Missional in purpose

    • Relational in outreach

    • Conversational in witness


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And in Conclusion…… change Seven Missional Lessons

  • God is calling the Church to be a missional community in an unchurched world.

  • Missional congregation is to be a sign and instrument of God’s realm in its community.

  • Missional congregation listens for and seeks out the still speaking God in culture and its community.

  • Missional congregation finds transformation and vitality in its location.


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And in Conclusion…… change Seven Missional Lessons

  • Missional congregation is driven to discern, articulate and live God’s calling and purpose for church and community.

  • Missional congregation is relational and conversational in outreach.

  • Missional congregation engages culture’s tools, especially the web to reach out to world of seekers.


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In Five Parts change

Step 1: Select a team Step 2: Articulate your mission Step 3: Know your missionfieldStep 4: Know your strengths Step 5: Plan for desired & measurable outcome


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Two questions change

  • Where are the signs of vitality in your congregation this spring?

  • What are you going to do from today’s presentation to increase vitality in your congregation?


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Resources for Vital Congregations change

Vitality Powerpoint - Retreat Resources www.ucc.org/vitality/retreat-resources

  • GrowtheUCC.org Events and Webinars

    • www.GrowtheUCC.org

      • Churches Birthing Churches

      • Redeveloper Leadership Institute

      • Web University

      • Evangelism and Leadership Webinars

  • myUCC http://community.ucc.org

    • Congregational Vitality – Ready, Set, Grow Group

      • Congregational Vitality – Ready, Set, Grow Group


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Thank You! change

  • Thank you for your Vital Leadership

  • Thank you for Your Support of

    • Changing Lives: That’s Our Churches’ Wider Mission

  • Thank you for Spreading the Love

    • Strengthen the Church Offering

    • www.ucc.org/stc