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etreat Outlines Click on a title below for additional information regarding that topic.

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Discerning Christian Identity in Community (PDF)


Listening to God (When God calls us to listen, God is calling us to a change of heart, a heart that listens to God with empathy.)

Discerning Our Vocation (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.)

Becoming Disciples Who Help Jesus Make Disciples (PDF)


Helping Jesus Make Disciples (We may become disciples and help Jesus make new and stronger disciples because Jesus is alive today. Becoming a disciple means actually living with Jesus. If we accept him, Jesus helps us develop a personal relationship with God. What makes the church different from any other organization is its purpose to bring people to Jesus and help them come to know Jesus. Healthy, growing churches are made up of disciples who help Jesus make new and stronger disciples.)

Biblical Illustration of the Discipleship Process (The Bible shows us that discipleship happened by people being introduced to Jesus, living with him and coming to know him and then being sent out to serve.) A Flowchart Model for a Process of Discipleship (Passionate Christian congregations are focused primarily on helping people meet, know and serve Jesus. This process of "come and see, come to know and come to serve Jesus" is the Christian journey that is encouraged through church communities. This session includes a flowchart of discipleship processes in church communities. We need to look at each of these processes as entry points and consciously bring people into community with God and one another.)

Developing an Apostolic Core (People have different levels of commitment and involvement in church communities. To bring new energy and life into the community and its members, a congregation needs to provide intentional ways for movement to discipleship and the apostolic core to occur.)

Developing Expectations (We may better structure the discipleship process by making expectations clear. Expectations are really the hopes we have for people in our community; and meeting expectations is also a way of worshipping God. Worship is showing our love for God.)

Come and See Jesus (Evangelism) (PDF)


The Importance of Evangelism (Jesus tells his disciples to witness and proclaim his love and mercy to everyone. We only really become disciples by proclaiming and witnessing Jesus' presence in our lives. As we proclaim Jesus, Jesus comes to be with us. We experience his presence.)

How do We Bring Others to Church? (When Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples," 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. We can each go and meet people and bring them home: by making friends, introducing them to our church friends and introducing God into our conversations.)

Come to Know Jesus (Christian Formation) (PDF)


Why is Christian Formation Important? (People need to connect or reconnect to the church community or they won't stay. A church that helps Jesus make disciples will be transformed. Christian stewardship will only begin and improve with formation. Christian formation helps people recognize the presence of Jesus in their lives.)

Helping Jesus Make Disciples (A Christ-centered life is a journey where a person continually learns from and grows closer to Jesus. The church needs, and will be transformed by, an effective process for adult Christian formation.)

The Importance of Developing Small Groups (Small groups support the growth and quality of life of a Christian church and were the basic building blocks of the early church. If each member of a church belongs to a small group, the church is assured that a small community of faithful people is looking after the spiritual and pastoral needs of each member. The church needs to deliberately create and manage small groups - carefully identifying community needs, selecting and supporting leaders, choosing locations and materials, and monitoring group progress.)

How do We Create Effective Small Groups? (The objectives of each small group are to build relationships with one another as a family, to help each other live out faith in everyday life, to use each of our spiritual gifts for helping one another, and to reach out to others to grow the group. Several characteristics are needed for small groups to be effective.)

Come to Serve Jesus (Ministry, Pastoral Care, Community Outreach) (PDF)


Reaching Out to Others Transforms Us (Our faith does not just grow by what we think or believe but by what we do and experience. We become Christians by loving and serving others. The keys for God's love to transform us are personal involvement and actually serving other people. The particular ministry that we are passionate about will depend on God's particular call to us based on where we are on our own spiritual journey.)

Using All of the Gifts of the Body of Christ (PDF)


The importance of discovering our vocations and participating in the body of Christ (The body of Christ is incomplete unless each of us is involved.) What are Your Spiritual Gifts? (Healthy churches adopt discernment processes to help people identify their gifts and passions, and then provide affirmation, training, coaching and resources for people to live into their ministries. To find my true identity, it is helpful to pray and to regularly ask several questions: What brings me joy? What are the talents and abilities that God has given me? What is my unique situation and what are the opportunities that I have? What is my personality? What are my spiritual gifts?)

Becoming Good Financial Stewards (PDF)


Becoming Good Stewards (Stewardship is not just about meeting a church budget. It is about dedicating our lives, our gifts to sacred purposes. Stewardship is an important part of Christian discipleship. Faithful stewardship is accepting and using our gifts to orient ourselves to God - at least in small ways to become disciples of Jesus. Stewardship helps us change our focus to what is really important: to our relationships with God and other people. Stewardship is a way to become aware of God's presence in our lives.)

Growing as Leaders (PDF)


Church Leadership Basics (Roles of church leaders: directing, coaching, supporting, delegating. Governing board roles. Effective governing board meetings.) See also: Roles of Church Leaders (PDF)

Leading Change in the Church (PDF)


How do we unite our church community? (To put new insights into practice, we need to: Focus on a strong sense of shared purpose; Ask for greater commitment; Build a team; Change the way we do things; Take risks and accept mistakes; Broadly assign responsibilities; Be passionate as leaders; Build momentum; Share personal experiences; Pray without ceasing; and Encourage confrontations.)

Growth Transitions (PDF)


What size are we and what size would we like to be? (An introduction to different church size categories of family, pastoral and program and resource and related growth challenges.)

Spending Time With God (PDF)


Spending Time 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, especially through spiritual disciplines.)
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