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Vibrant, fruitful churches make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by: Shifting from an internal to an external focus Shifting from running programs and ministries to developing people Shifting from church-based leadership to community-engaged leadership –Reggie McNeal

MADE FOR GREATER THINGS CHURCH-WIDE VISIONING CONFERENCE CHRIST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH FEBRUARY 15, 2014


Practices that create and sustain vibrancy and fruitfulness in our church.

RADICAL HOSPITALITY - MEANS THAT OUT OF LOVE FOR CHRIST: • Members are open and adaptable, willing to embrace new attitudes and behaviors in order to include the needs and talents of newcomers. • Leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve their practices for welcoming, inviting, visitor follow-up, and new member assimilation. • The congregational culture is open, warm, friendly, and naturally invitational. • Priority is given to developing and resourcing relevant ministries for children, youth, and young adults, while continuing to minister to adults. • New classes, groups, and worship opportunities are regularly launched, especially aimed at newcomers. Questions? 1. How am I, and how are we as a church, doing at inviting others and welcoming newcomers and the irreligious into our part of the Christ Church family? How can I/we improve?

2. When was the last time I invited someone to attend or participate in a Christ Church ministry? What do I need in order to invite others more frequently?

3. What is one thing I could do, and our church could do, to foster “radical” hospitality as it is described above?


PASSIONATE WORSHIP - MEANS THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE ENCOUNTERED CHRIST: • Worship is planned and conducted with excellence every week. • Services are creative, comprehensible, inspirational, and authentic, whether casual, contemporary, or traditional; they connect people to God and to each other. • Music, liturgies, and prayers fit the church’s mission field (those we hope to reach, welcome, include, and support). Innovation is encouraged. • Preaching is theologically sound, relevant to the mission field, Spirit-led and Spiritually-connective. • Worship leaders exemplify the heart of Christ, first and foremost, throughout their ministry. Questions? 1. How do I, and how do we as a church, encourage and support our pastors, staff, and worship leaders so that they may exhibit excellence in worship?

2. How does our congregation increase efforts to make children, youth, and young adults feel welcome in worship? To my knowledge, how does our children’s ministry, our youth ministry, and our adult ministry include significant worship experiences and participation?

3. Given that attendance in worship is the way most newcomers encounter a church/congregation for the first time, what impression do we leave? How do we inspire newcomers to come back? What needs improvement?


INTENTIONAL FAITH DEVELOPMENT - MEANS THAT BECAUSE WE HUNGER FOR CHRIST: • Our pastors and our congregational leaders demonstrate a vital, personal faith and spiritual maturity. • Opportunities are constantly offered for people of all ages to mature in their faith by learning together in community (small groups, new classes, accountability groups, etc.). • Leaders, staff, and pastors remain open to trying different times, places, and formats for worship, teaching, and discipleship to attract and retain members and make disciples. • Members mentor one another in the faith, especially taking on the responsibility of passing on the faith to the next generations. Questions? 1. How does Christ Church “grow” people in faith? How do I/we encourage members to participate in the private, spiritual disciplines of prayer and study?

2. The number of participants in small group ministries at Christ Church does not presently total at least 50% of our worship attendance. Why not? What can be done to increase participation?

3. How are the needs of newcomers addressed? How are they welcomed, or not welcomed, into existing small groups?

4. Does every small group opportunity offered at Christ Church foster intentional faith development? If not, why not? What needs to change?

5. How can Christ Church leaders and members improve their relational approach to encourage others to be discipled and to disciple others?


RISK-TAKING MISSION AND SERVICE - MEANS THAT IN ORDER TO BE THE HANDS AND FEET OF CHRIST: • Our leaders are aware of the current needs within our church’s mission field and help the congregation respond to them. • Our members of all ages are given regular opportunities for hands-on service in our mission field and beyond, and pray and prepare for that service through meetings and trainings. • Our church establishes relationships with local schools and community service agencies. • Our church works for peace and justice in our mission field and beyond. Questions? 1. What is our mission field (those we hope to reach, welcome, include, and support)?

2. How is Christ Church perceived by those in our mission field who have the least power, wealth, and influence? Those with the most?

3. Given that a current need in our mission field is to reach the unchurched, and meeting that need involves risk-taking and serving, what do I/we need to do to become more invitational and to help our members invite their neighbors to church?

EXTRAVAGANT GENEROSITY - MEANS THAT BECAUSE WE CANNOT OUT-GIVE CHRIST: • Our church cultivates extravagant generosity through high quality annual pledge opportunities and numerous opportunities for involvement and leadership. • Our members give joyously out of love for God and neighbor and to fully support the ministries of the church. • Our leaders are motivated to be generous monetary givers by their desire to please God and transform the world. • Our pastors and our leaders model extravagant generosity, sharing liberally their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. Questions? 1. What motivates me to give? What would motivate me to increase my giving in all areas – money, time, talents, etc.?


2. What values and themes guide our church’s teaching about money? How do I feel about how faithful our church is with what our congregation gives?

3. What should our church teach about considering legacies, bequests, endowment giving, and estate planning?

4. How can I cultivate extravagant generosity in my family, among my friends, and in this congregation?

MULTIPLYING VIBRANCY - MEANS THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE ACCEPTED THE CALL TO FULFILL THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST: • Our pastors and our leaders uphold the Vision Frame as their guideline for becoming “people helping people find fullness in Christ.” • Our leaders and our pastors forge a strong partnership and work together to focus ministries and resources to live out this vision. • Our leaders intentionally welcome, train, and shepherd new, diverse lay leaders. • Our congregation manages change and conflict in healthy ways. Questions? 1. Do I/we relate to and practice living the mission of our church? If so, how? If not, why not?

2. How does our leadership/congregation incorporate the next generation of lay leadership?

3. How does our congregation work to resolve conflict and incorporate change?


4. How do our congregational (lay) leaders manage conflict and change, especially the tension between grace and truth in disagreements?

5. What is God calling me/us to do to nurture the development of the next generation of leaders in order to ensure our church’s future?

NOTES:


3300 AUSTIN PARKWAY SUGAR LAND, TEXAS 77479 Material taken from Bishop Robert Schnase’s book, “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations,” and from the “Growing Fruitful Churches” document distributed at a District meeting. Our Texas Annual Conference goals for this include investing in the young and transforming lay and clergy leaders. 02/15/2014


Church-Wide Visioning Conference Handout