ECF Vital Practices: February 2016

February 4, 2016

Creating a vibrant and vital vestry is an ongoing task. The period following your annual meeting, when newly elected members join the vestry, is a good time to review and renew your congregation’s vision statement and to think about what putting this vision into practice looks like. This month our articles support you in these efforts, with our fourth article sharing a practice designed to free up meeting time to address these important issues.

  • What is your church’s purpose or vision? Why is it important for congregational leaders – and members – to have a shared vision? In “Fire First,” Robert Wright, bishop of Atlanta, reminds us Jesus was a man of purpose and encourages us to make explicit our fire – our common purpose - and to keep it “in front of us” as it will bless our common life in exciting ways.
  • Our presiding bishop calls us “To go into the world, let the world know there is a God who loves us, a God who will not let us go, and that that love can set us all free.” “Get the Hell Out of Church” by J. Fletcher Lowe and Demi Prentiss shares an approach congregational leaders can use to equip members for faithful witness in the world.
  • Do the things your vestry measures and reports on reflect the mission- and vision-driven aspects of your congregation? Frank Logue‘s “Reboot Your Reporting” encourages vestry members to consider shifting their focus from numbers of attendance, membership, or giving to something more elusive: transformation. To help you imagine what that might look like, he offers a resource from what may seem an unlikely source: the Harvard Business Review website.
  • Are your vestry meetings too long? Is too much time taken up on routine business? Ron Byrd’s introduction to using a consent calendar at General Convention convinced him to propose this approach to his vestry. He shares his experience in “The Consent Calendar.”

We encourage you to think about how the ideas presented in this and every issue might provide an impetus for evaluating and reflecting on what you might learn from the experiences of others. To help in your discernment, at the end of each article we offer a list of the resources related to the topic. If you have a resource to share, please email me at editor@episcopalfoundation.org with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature.

If you are interested in Spanish language content, please visit our searchable index for our Spanish content here.

Please share this issue of Vestry Papers with your colleagues and to invite them to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers. Subscriptions are free. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form to have Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content delivered twice a month to your email inbox.

Faithfully,

Nancy Davidge
Editor, ECF Vital Practices