Take the Adventure - August 2012

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The Pressure of Present Demand - August 2012
E. Stanley Ott
A wonderful resource for we who long to see our congregations grow in vitality is... more

Email and Social Courtesies - July 2011
E. Stanley Ott    
An essential facet of vital congregational life is the way the people within the fellowship communicate with each other. While face-to-face conversation permits a much fuller interaction including all of our non-verbal cues; the use of email, texting and social media such as Facebook continues to increase every day. more

Act With Great Boldness - July 2011
 Anne Clifton Hebert    
Sometimes when a church begins the Acts 16:5 Initiative, members of the congregation wonder about what the Initiative is and what it involves. As our congregation experienced at one point, some people felt like they were being left out of the process. Perhaps you are a person in the camp of wondering what this Initiative offers. Some of the questions that are at the basis of the Initiative are like the questions that follow – questions that are troubling the church today. more

Missional Happens Wherever You Are - January 2011
E. Stanley Ott
In the missional movement some folk take the position that the concepts of “attraction” and “missional” are opposites. The basic thought is that in our post-modern culture the missional work of the church in bearing witness, showing compassion, and standing for justice is best accomplished where we live and work rather than in the various gatherings of our congregations. The contention is that while churches seek to “attract” people to their various programs and to hear the grace of the gospel, such practices no longer bear the fruit they once did and instead the missional future of the church is through its people as they scatter throughout their communities.
Shift, Step, Step - January 2011
Kathi Busch
If our congregations are to be vital, healthy, and growing, we must have the right people on our leadership bus at any given time (as Jim Collins says in Good to Great). It is critical that the right people are sitting on your ruling board as together you lead the church into the vision God has entrusted to your congregation.
How to be A Teflon Leader - January 2011
David Bleivik
They used to say that President Reagan was the Teflon president. We see other leaders who share that quality. No matter what happens to them, nothing seems to stick to them. I have known pastors like that, and I began to watch what they did so I could be like them. Here are some of my observations or “Teflon Rules” for pastors and other leaders:
Pray Daily: A 90-Day Adventure in Prayer - July 2010
E. Stanley Ott
I am excited about a new venture we are launching at the Vital Churches Institute. After introducing over twenty-five judicatories and hundreds of congregations to concepts such as “Word-Share-Prayer,” small group life and the personal devotional life, we realized we need a way to give many more people in congregations and in judicatory gatherings a taste of these spiritual disciplines that change lives and forge friendships. 
Permission to Move Forward - July 2010
Anne Clifton Hebert
“If you’ve ever remodeled a house while attempting to live in it, you have a sense of the chaos and com- plexity of congregational renewal…your congregation is what it is today because of how it responded, or failed to respond, to the realities it faced…What your congregation will be in the future is up to you and the other members…What you do or don’t do now will make a difference...Even when the work is going well, renewal can seem messy and slow.”  (from Pathway to Renewal by Daniel P. Smith and Mary K.Sellon, p. 25 & 31) This was the way I began my annual report at the end of last year in the congregation where I serve.
How Many Different Ways to Christ? - July 2010
Chris Walker
“When I was 8 years old, I was invited to a bible camp for kids.”
“A friend invited me to church, and after a few weeks, I responded to the message.”
“I had a mystical encounter with God.  A few weeks later, I learned I needed to follow Jesus to know this God.”
“My father helped me see my need for Jesus and I put my trust in Him.”
Take the Adventure - May 2010
E. Stanley Ott
Last fall in the midst of two months of travel to seventeen different cities to work with denominational regional areas in growing the vitality of their congregations, I found myself singing old road songs such as Simon and Garfunkel’s, “Homeward Bound,” Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” and Peter, Paul and Mary’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Life for all of us is a trip!
Ten Church Growth Assumptions - May 2010
Gary R. Weaver
1. Not all growing churches are healthy churches; but most healthy churches are growing churches.
2. Church growth is not just numbers and dollars, but it includes numbers and dollars (Acts 16:5).
Congregations from the Inside Out - May 2010
John W. Stewart
Among sociologists, there is a well-worn mantra: “If you want to know what the folks in Paducah are really up to, ask ‘em.” With insatiable curiosity, American sociologists have long probed what folks in Protestant churches “are really up to.”