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Today in the Mission Yearbook

The church life cycle from new to renew


Mission Agency speaker has something to offer young and old

January 10, 2019

New and old worshiping communities that comprise the entire church life cycle were represented during a recent Presbyterian Mission Agency luncheon.

The diners watched a video about Serious JuJu, a new church ministry in Kalispell, Montana, which is described as a skateboarding-based Christian outreach to skaters and other young people, and heard from Becky Wind, of Isaiah’s Table in Syracuse, New York. Wind was interviewed by the Rev. Michael Gehrling of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative. Wind described that ministry, which offers food to all those who come to the table, as “authentic.”

The Rev. Kathryn Threadgill speaks at the luncheon. (Photo by Michael Whitman)

The Rev. Kathryn Threadgill, associate for vital congregations in the Presbytery Mission Agency’s office of Theology, Formation & Evangelism, talked about her office and its work with 1001 communities and the Vital Congregations Initiative.

She described the Vital Congregations work as a process, not a program, and said she sees the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on the verge of a new awakening, “a new thing that Christ is doing in the church.” The initiative works to enhance the seven “marks” of vital congregations — lifelong discipleship, authentic evangelism, outward incarnational focus, servant leadership, Spirit-inspired worship, caring relationships and ecclesial health.

Five presbyteries are engaged in the pilot stage of the initiative, including the Presbytery of Newark. The Rev. Barbara Smith, transitional director of presbytery ministries in Newark, is happy with the progress she has seen.

“If it can work in Newark, it can work anywhere,” Smith said. “I’m here to tell you it is working in Newark.” She said 12 churches are participating over two years.

“So, this is what we’ve been up to,” Threadgill said. “More importantly, this is what Christ has been up to.”

Details about the initiative, and resources, are available at

Duane Sweep, Director of Communications, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, PC(USA)

Today’s Focus:  Church Life Cycle

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Ginger Harris, ILP
Dennis Harrold, PMA

Let us pray:

Most gracious God, we seek your presence whenever and wherever we gather together in Christ’s name. We know you watch over us and lead us. Continue to bless us as we look for ways to share our ministry with brothers and sisters near and far. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.      

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