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An Effective Clergy and Staff Review Process

(PDF) Clergy and staff evaluations are best accomplished as part of a regular process that ties in with a mutual ministry review by the church. The objective of this performance planning and review process is to help each staff member along a well-marked pathway to becoming even more appreciated, valuable, productive and unique.

Are We Prepared to Share Our Faith Stories?

(PDF) (Sharing our faith stories is crucial to our growth as Christians in community.)

Are you using your unique gifts in an appropriate ministry?

(PDF) (Christians need to be involved in a ministry that matches their gifts. Each of us is responsible for discovering the uniqueness of God's love for us: the special gifts God gives me and the individual purpose to which God calls me. Ultimately, church development is helping Christians find the place in church where God calls them to serve.)

The Best Church Visions

(PDF) (Churches that discern the most exciting visions learn five important lessons. First, visioning is a process of connecting to a spiritual path or journey, not simply a means of adding new church programs or tasks. Second, each church has a unique context and personality and a unique and individual call. Third, a community cannot simply be church for themselves; they must help introduce others to Jesus. Fourth, the heart of the discernment process is prayer. Fifth, their discernment processes are ongoing.)

Bringing Our Friends to Church

(PDF) When Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples" (Matthew 29:19), he meant each of us. We each need to use our spiritual gifts and personality to build relationships, to work together to network people into the church, and to draw others to Jesus. This process should not be difficult or scary.
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A Christmas Story

(PDF) Based on Soren Kierkegaard's parable, this Christmas story, our experience of God's love, is the reason we work to build up the church. As a faith community we celebrate that God loves us and has come into the world to be with us and we strive to share this Good News, respond to God's love and love one another (Matthew 22:36-40).

Developing Ministry Teams

(PDF) (Clergy centered growth presents challenges. A multiple cell church is not focused on a single leader or group of leaders but on growing through ministry teams. The biggest challenge for the clergy and governing board is to empower, rather than control, gifted and passionate ministry teams.)

Disciple Making Leaders

(PDF) (Developing people takes many gifts and we can each improve our skills. There is no single way to help others grow, and each people developer has his or her own style. Some helpful things to keep in mind are setting a vision, raising others up, training, delegating and giving power away.)

Do We Make Good First Impressions?

(PDF) (Each point of contact a newcomer has with our church is an opportunity to make a good first impression: our website, marketing and advertising, signs, answering machine, building and grounds, hospitality and follow up. More people will return for a second visit to our church if we pay careful attention to these areas of first impression.)

Do we need to rethink our roles in the Church?

(PDF) (No spiritual gifts are exclusive to clergy and no clergy person has all of the gifts needed in the body of Christ. Ministry in a congregation is collaborative. Shifting the paradigm to support a more involved laity is critical because more disciples can more effectively help Jesus make more disciples.)
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From Chris to Christopher

(PDF) (This is a story about introducing an individual to closer relationship with God, welcoming him into a church family, and helping him prepare for Christian ministry in everyday life. This article is a case study for church leaders to discuss key purposes of the church, certain "post-Christendom" criticisms of the church, new approaches of emerging churches, and an integration of individual, small group and collective spiritual experiences to support Christian life and evangelism. The footnotes acknowledge relevant positive contemporary discussions about these questions, and some of their limitations.)

How do we Love One Another?

(PDF) (The quality of healthy churches that is the fruit and the genesis of all the others is loving relationships. To begin, we might ask several questions, including: Do we help one another to grow along our Christian spiritual paths?)

The Importance of Raving Fans

(PDF) (Early Christianity grew with raving fans - people who are so satisfied they want to recruit others. Raving fans have an emotional attachment and contagious enthusiasm for the community that goes beyond just referring others; they feel a strong need to bring them. How do we get raving fans?)

Important Qualities of Healthy Churches

(PDF) A recent study of churches from all Christian denominations identifies eight qualities that healthy, growing Christian churches need and have in common. Imagine the fruits your parish might bear (Matthew 7:17) by becoming stronger in each of these areas.

Improving Stewardship Processes

(PDF) (Churches can get a great deal of individual and community development from their financial stewardship processes. Developing stewardship practices is important to Christian formation. Stewardship processes offer a time to share a clear and articulate vision for the church community, to celebrate church accomplishments, and to directly and strongly communicate budget needs and expectations of members. Added benefits are opportunities to involve a network of people and to hear some individuals share their faith stories.
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Inspiring Worship

(PDF) Inspiring worship is not preserving a tradition or completing a duty; it is honoring God and transforming our lives to offer them in response to God's love. A dynamic worship service touches people at many levels and balances simple (stirring, inspiring, emotional) and complex (profound, thoughtful, intellectual) experiences.

Leadership Skills to Empower Churches

(PDF) (As leaders, we must create an environment where people can be empowered for ministry. Empowering leaders are good at preparing others to take over the tasks of ministry - through encouragement, training, spiritual direction and practical supervision. Empowering leaders ask, "What is this person's unique contribution?" and then help equip the individual according to his or her gifts and desires.)

Listening to God in Community

(PDF) A church striving to be the body of Christ needs to become Christ-centered and, like Jesus, continually strive to discern God's will for the community. Discernment is listening to and distinguishing God's voice and action from other voices and activities in the world. An effective congregational development process helps us to recognize the presence of God and respond accordingly.

Making Our Visions for the Church Real

(PDF) As the visions for our church communities become clear, our challenge is to successfully put our new insights into practice and transform our communities in a number of ways.

Mission Rather Than Maintenance

(PDF) (Many congregations show symptoms of a maintenance or survival mentality. A mission focus is proactive, helps us become more connected and helps us to use our resources more effectively. The real reason we need to be mission-focused is that churches that help Jesus make disciples transform people's lives. By helping Jesus transform other people's lives, we also transform our own.)
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Planning is Faithful

(PDF) (Many churches resist planning. Churches that are consistently bringing people to Jesus have a plan. From our listening to God and one another, we need to be as clear as possible about God's calling to us and then plan to follow that calling. Planning is a learning process and the foundation of the spiritual path we will travel. Planning is a response to God.)

Reaching Out to Others Transforms Us

(PDF) Ministry to others is especially important to our spiritual growth. As we share God's love with other people, we ourselves also experience and are transformed by that love.

Should We Help Build a New Church?

(PDF) (What makes Christian churches unique from other organizations is helping Jesus make new and stronger disciples and celebrating his presence with us. Everything else the church does can be done better by having more and stronger disciples. Churches that start new churches grow significantly themselves.)

Spending Time With God

(PDF) Spiritual passion and energy comes from nurturing ever-closer relationships with God. People in healthy congregations understand that they are on a spiritual path and take time to focus on their personal and communal relationships with God. They concentrate on being more aware of the presence of God in their lives and on making their lives more responsive to God.

What are Your Spiritual Gifts?

(PDF) Eighty percent of Christians do not know what their spiritual gifts are. This is a catastrophe for church development because we all depend on the gifts of others to complement our own gifts and to build up the body of Christ (Romans 12; I Corinthians 12; Ephesians 4). When each of us discovers and exercises our gifts, the church body thrives.

Why Do We Need To Encourage Flexibility?

(PDF) (We need to think and act past "the way something was always done" to improve on the old way or find a new and better one. Change happens whether we like it or not. Only through change can we achieve a new and better place. Being flexible means overcoming the fear of what the change will bring. Nothing improves until we change ourselves. A person cannot change unless he or she is willing to let go of the past and to begin to trust what lies ahead. People who initiate change are more successful than those who merely react or adjust to it.)
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