ECF Vital Practices August 2014: Leading Change

August 20, 2014

This month’s Vital Practices shares somewhat similar stories from congregations across our church. All faced real challenges. Some related to issues inside the church: leadership transitions, declining membership, decreased income, and rising operating costs. Others involved community issues: how could a small congregation contribute in a meaningful way to bring about needed change in its community? What the creative models for ministry these congregations adopted have in common is the increased involvement of lay leaders in all aspects of church life.

Listening to these stories, what we heard repeatedly was the more people are involved in the life of the church, the more their experience of church expands. And, especially in our smallest churches when the prospect of growth is often off the table, there is an increased focus on the congregation’s role in the community.

Our August stories include:

Shared Leadership by Beckett Stokes, describes the experience of several small congregations in the Diocese of Colorado who are growing and thriving as a result of their adoption of the diocese’s model of shared leadership. She also shares some of the resources the diocese offers in support of this leadership model.

When the long time rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Montpelier, Vermont retired, the congregation had the opportunity to explore different models of leadership. In Becoming/Continuing/Expanding, Nancy Davidge tells the story of this revitalized congregation and how their lay led ‘centers of creativity’ are restoring the church both literally and figuratively.

At Iona-Hope Episcopal Church in Fort Meyers, Florida, the congregation lives into its core values through their practice of small group ministries, impacting not only life inside the church but also helping to shape policy in Lee County, Florida. In Small Groups, Big Impact, John Adler shares how his former congregation brings people with similar interests together to bring about real change in the church and the world. Este artículo es disponible en ingles aquí.

In Tillamook, Oregon, four Christian churches have found new energy by working – and occasionally worshipping – together. Three of these four churches also share a rector. Pooling Resources by Nancy Davidge, tells the story of how this somewhat unusual arrangement came about and why it makes perfect sense for this small community in Western Oregon.