Congregational Vitality

Short films designed to elicit discussion and strengthen preaching and teaching

Scott Galloway’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all Presbyterian pastors. Galloway has followed all three of his preacher forebears — not into the pulpit, but as a storyteller and filmmaker who’s created a product that pastors, church educators and others can use to stimulate discussion and make the weekly readings from the Revised Common Lectionary more relatable to Sunday worshipers.

Lilly Endowment Inc. makes new grants to save historic churches

Lilly Endowment Inc. has furthered its commitment to supporting congregations and preserving significant portions of America’s religious and cultural landscape by awarding nearly $15 million in grants to Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, to extend the National Fund for Sacred Places (The National Fund).

Love heals at Thistle Farms

Becca Stevens, one of the keynote speakers for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities and Vital Congregations national gathering coming up October 14-16 in Kansas City, Mo., remembers how she felt when she started a residential community for women who have survived tracking, prostitution and addiction.

Is yours a ‘healthy’ congregation?

Theologian Emil Brunner famously stated, “The church exists by mission, just as fire exists by burning.” This didn’t quite sink in until I heard Darrell Guder, former dean and missiologist at Princeton Theological Seminary, put it more clearly for me: “The church does not exist primarily for the benefit of its own members. Instead, it exists for the benefit of those outside its walls.”

Former presbytery executive amazed at Miami church’s turnaround

“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6 The Scripture so eloquently phrased in Psalm 150 graced the bulletin cover as we celebrated the 38th Anniversary of New Life Presbyterian Church (Iglesia Presbiteriana Nueva Vida) in Miami on the last Sunday in April.  The church, located on Coral Way, is served by the Rev. Heidi Arencibia. I was honored to be the guest speaker for the service celebrating “Thirty-eight years of life by the grace of God!” (1981-2019).

The power of fearless dialogue

The Rev. Dr. Gregory Ellison, one of the keynoters for the 1001 New Worshiping Communities and Vital Congregations national gathering October, remembers how he felt in the midst of a media firestorm six years ago.

The Holy Spirit’s role in ordination

On many Pentecost Sundays, which can be a movable feast like Easter Sunday, the life of a congregation sometimes intersects with the long weekend of Memorial Day holiday, the unofficial beginning of the summer season. As well as many graduations taking place around this time, a growing number of churches now hold services for ordination and installation before the summer begins.   

Presbyterian Foundation reaches out to small churches

Where does your congregation see itself in 20 years? Chances are, an answer to that question doesn’t come quickly. After all, discernment takes time and thought. And sometimes, difficult circumstances must be acknowledged and tough decisions have to be made.

Seldom is heard a discouraging word

The Rev. Dr. Tom Bryson, who is part of the Vital Congregations (VC) writing team, said he was floored at what he heard at VC gatherings in Denver and Atlanta the last two weeks.