The Fruitful Congregations Journey – Small Church Initiative is a team-based, leadership development discovery process that helps churches to more effectively carry out the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This process will help healthy, small churches build the leaders necessary to discern their next steps toward producing more effective ministry for the future. This process is also helpful for churches that are stuck or declining. It will help them build a leadership team to identify the areas that they need to focus on in order to move forward into greater effectiveness and to become more fruitful. In either case, this process allows churches to customize the directions and outcomes to fit their church’s particular ministry context. It is not a “cookie-cutter” approach.
The Fruitful Congregations Journey/ Small church consists of the following three steps:
The Shared Learning Experience is the first step in the 3-step Fruitful Congregation Journey. This experience will help a team, including the pastor and laity from your church, learn key concepts and best practices—tapping into the discoveries of other effective churches and small-church leaders—and then apply them in their own lives in order to develop as leaders and help the church more effectively carry out its mission.
Step 1 will help your church…
Indiana Conference churches averaging between 50 and 100 in average weekly worship attendance are eligible. However, a church must be invited by its District Superintendent to be considered. Interested churches should contact their DS. The next group will be invited the fall of 2012 with sessions starting early 2013.
Sessions will be held at locations throughout the state. Sites will be assigned based on the location of the participating churches.
A church’s team will consist of its pastor and laity, representing a minimum of 10% of the church’s average worship attendance and capable of fostering a sense of team and demonstrating healthy communication practices, along with the pastor, so the rest of the congregation benefits from the process.
Sessions are usually held once every other month on Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The session will consist of a time of teaching from the presenter, spiritual reflection on scripture, interaction with the ideas and concepts, and group sharing. A major focus of the Shared Learning Experience is on each individual applying the concepts directly to themselves so that they can grow as leaders. Time will be spent at each session sharing how participants are doing this back home.
Each participant on the team will read books that pertain to session topics. Those on your church’s team will meet at least once at your church between each session to debrief the session, discuss the readings, and to see how each person is doing at applying the concepts personally. A coach will be assigned to your church to contact your pastor during the process to see how your team is doing.
Each church must pay a $395 (non-refundable) which covers the cost of the presenters and coaches for all six sessions, session manuals, as well as a set of nine copies of the books that will be used.
Once a church’s team has completed Session 3 of the Shared Learning Experience (Step 1), it will be eligible to request moving on to steps 2 and 3 of the Fruitful Congregation Journey. It is in these steps that the focus moves from leadership development to church development, from developing leaders in your church to developing your church as a whole—applying the concepts in Step 1 within the church and to identify the areas that need focused attention in order to move your church forward into greater effectiveness and fruitfulness. Step 2, which takes approximately 6 months, will help your church assess its strengths and weakness and to identify three key objectives that will help your church to move forward. With the help of a coach, Step 3 will help your church implement the key objectives identified in Step 2. This typically will take 12-18 months.
Contact the Conference Center at 877-781-6706 or a Conference Church Development staff person.