Congregational Vitality Pathway

RCA Farwest Region

6. Compelling Christian Community

Return to 10 Healthy Missional Markers

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
— – Acts 2:42-47

We understand that our love for one another is a powerful testimony to the deity of Jesus.  We love each other as we are, not as we should be.  We share life together beyond the worship service. 

RCA Transformed and Transforming Initiatives 

Transformational Starting Point: As we enter a new season of life and ministry together, we can determine how far we have come only by knowing where we started. This initiative will develop assessment tools to help the RCA determine our current reality as well as to enable individuals and congregations to define where they are beginning their own journey of transformation. startingpoint@rca.org

Redemptive Relationships in Christ: Growing out of a passion to engage conflict in healthy and redemptive ways, RCA churches and individuals will be equipped to engage and manage healthy conflict and will receive the skills needed to create transformational processes that reflect our commitment to live and love like Jesus in all of our relationships. redemptive@rca.org

Equipping Congregations for Local Missional Engagement  RCA congregations, living and loving like Jesus, will express the gospel of Jesus Christ in transformational ways, bringing reconciliation, justice, blessing, and hope to individuals and families in their communities. This will create mutual transformation between local churches and their communities and neighborhoods. local@rca.org 

Evangelical Covenant Resources

Sample relational covenants:

Workshop

  • Relational Covenant Workshop – A workshop for the whole church on relational covenants presented by Carol Sciacotos.  Discover what a relational covenant is, why it is important to have a relational covenant, how to create a relational covenant, how a make a relational covenant part of your church culture.

Sermons

Ministries

Books

  • The Peacemaker, by Ken Sande Baker Books; (January 1, 2004) Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers." But it often seems like conflict and disagreement are unavoidable. Serious, divisive conflict is everywhere-within families, in the church, and out in the world. And it can seem impossible to overcome its negative force in our lives. In The Peacemaker, Ken Sande presents a comprehensive and practical theology for conflict resolution designed to bring about not only a cease-fire but also unity and harmony. Sande takes readers beyond resolving conflicts to true, life-changing reconciliation with family members, coworkers, and fellow believers. Biblically based, The Peacemaker is full of godly wisdom and useful suggestions that are easily applied to any relationship needing reconciliation. Sande's years of experience as an attorney and as president of Peacemaker Ministries will strengthen readers' confidence as they stand in the gap as peacemakers.
  • The Vital Congregation, by Herb Miller Abingdon Press; First Edition edition (April 1990) A vital church helps people: * Form a spiritual connection with God * Form a loving connection with other people * Form a committed connection to great causes "A valuable tool for those committed to enhancing the vitality of their congregation." --Lyle E. Schaller.
  • The UTurn Church, by Harney and Bouwer Baker Books; Reprint edition (September 1, 2012) Most pastors in America are ministering in churches that are in a state of stagnation or decline. The U-Turn Church walks readers through the debilitating roadblocks of tradition, lack of vision or leadership, structural problems, and concerns about denominational distinctives to forge a new way forward into a hope-filled future. Through the stories of two churches that have experienced healthy transformation, readers will see that there is not just one right way to reverse decline. They will receive practical help and wisdom born of experience as they begin their own U-Turn journey.
  • Church Unique, by Will Mancini  Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (March 21, 2008) Written by church consultant Will Mancini expert on a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry that leads to redemptive movement. He guides churches away from an internal focus to emphasize participation in their community and surrounding culture. In this important book, Mancini offers an approach for rethinking what it means to lead with clarity as a visionary. Mancini explains that each church has a culture that reflects its particular values, thoughts, attitudes, and actions and shows how church leaders can unlock their church's individual DNA and unleash their congregation's one-of-a-kind potential.
  • Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences, by Gilbert R. Rendle (Alban Institute, 1998) This down-to-earth workbook gets to the heart of modern congregational life: how to live creatively together despite differences of age, race, culture, opinion, gender, theological or political position. Alban Senior Consultant Gil Rendle explains how to grow by valuing our differences rather than trying to ignore or blend them.
  • Beyond the First Visit: The Complete Guide to Connecting Guests to Your Church, by Gary L. McIntosh (Baker, 2006) The author invites you to take another look at your church through the eyes of a first-time guest to identify the things that might be holding them back from a second visit. This is a practical book that provides advice on assessing and improving the ways in which your church attracts people, welcomes them, does follow-up, and brings them into the church family. More than simply offering mere techniques, it gives suggestions for making a welcoming attitude part of the fabric of your church.
  • Cracking Your Congregation’s Code: Mapping Your Spiritual DNA to Create Your Future, by Robert Norton (Jossey-Bass, 2001) Discover your unique strengths and values -- and what God wishes for the future of your church. This book guides clergy and lay leaders to create or revisit their mission, vision, and values. The authors' change process will help congregations in any setting refocus on what really matters in ministry: welcoming, nurturing, empowering, and serving new and current members.
  • Culture Shift: Transforming Your Church from the Inside Out, by Robert Lewis, et. al. (Jossey-Bass, 2005) Culture Shift, written for church leaders, ministers, pastors, ministry teams, and lay leaders, leads you through the process of identifying your church’s distinctive culture, gives you practical tools to change it from the inside-out, and provides steps to keep your new culture aligned with your church’s mission. Real transformation is not about working harder at what you’re already doing or even copying another church’s approach but about changing church culture at a foundational level.
  • Direct Hit: Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field, by Paul Borden (Abingdon, 2006) A new pastor sees himself or herself as a leader who anticipates a better for the congregation. However, the congregation tends to perceive the new pastor as someone who ministers to their needs and fulfills a chaplain-type role. The pastor must therefore lead the congregation through systemic change if new life is to be brought into the culture of the congregation. Three teams must be created: TEAM ONE is the prayer team that prays regularly for change and reproduction. TEAM TWO is the dream team that helps the pastor communicate urgency. TEAM THREE consists of leaders who recruit and train other leaders who are committed to urgent change. (Paul Borden is author of Hit the Bullseye.)
  • Breakout Churches, by Thom Rainer (Zondervan, 2005) Rainer tells the stories of 13 churches that moved from stagnancy to growth and from mediocrity to greatness and explores the process of becoming a “breakout” church.
  • Eating the Elephant: Leading the Established Church to Growth, by Thom Rainer (Pinnacle Pub., 2003) The authors have written Eating the Elephant to show that a church can change and grow if you move at a pace that fits the church's situation, if you eat the elephant one bite at a time.
  • The Externally Focused Church, by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson (Group, 2004)  Learn from churches that have made serving their communities a priority: Attract new believers and reach hurt and skeptical people through service; Help your members deepen their spiritual commitment through service; Discover practical ways to change your community.
  • Who Stole My Church, by Gordon MacDonald  Thomas Nelson; Reprint edition (January 12, 2010) Who Stole My Church? is a fictional story that tells the all too real tale of many church communities today. In this book you can walk alongside an  imaginary community, led by real life pastor Gordon MacDonald and his wife, Gail, and discover how to meet the needs of all believers without abandoning the dreams and desires of any.

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