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Now that churches in South Carolina’s Trinity Presbytery have gone through the seven marks of congregational vitality, as part of their participation in the two-year Vital Congregations initiative pilot program, pastors are beginning to notice a difference in their congregations.
Parking lot meetings. Wealthy members with outsized influence. Inconsistent practices. Confusion about purpose and vision. There are lots of ways for a congregation’s systems to be unhealthy, and I suspect you could add to this list. Whatever the problem or situation, all do one thing: They undermine a church’s vitality.
One of the first Presbytery of San Jose meetings the Rev. Sammie Evans attended as the new pastor at Stone Church of Willow Glen was to hear a presentation from the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill on Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Vital Congregations Initiative, which is designed to help churches live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ.
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., enabling the expansion of Healthy Pastors, Healthy Congregations into a program of national scope and impact.
By the time Newark (N.J.) Presbytery was invited to participate in a two-year Vital Congregations Initiative pilot program, it had already been placed under an administrative commission in the Synod of the Northeast.
Twenty-seven years of Saturdays, approximately 1,400 consecutive weekends of serving the “best meal in town,” is a pretty good track record of commitment. That’s how long Third Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York, has been running its dining room ministry, a program that serves approximately 80 people each week. But that’s not enough for this 1,200-member congregation in north central New York. Their emergency food program has been similarly active for more than 20 years, and another hunger initiative, the East Avenue Grocery Run, a mere child at 9 years old, might be the most impactful program of all three.
One of the first Presbytery of San Jose meetings the Rev. Sammie Evans attended as the new pastor at Stone Church of the Wooded Glen was to hear a presentation from the Rev. Dr. Kathryn Threadgill on Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Vital Congregations Revitalization Initiative, which is designed to help churches live more faithfully as disciples of Jesus Christ.