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Congregational Vitality Pathway

RCA Farwest Region

What is on the Pathway? by Phil Assink

Churches often ask, Why should we engage the Congregational Vitality Pathway? We would like to use this space to suggest some key of reasons.

One, the Pathway process invites broad participation in the life of the church. From the first workshop to the congregational assessment, everyone 12 and older is invited to participate in the process. It is an informal process, not a change imbedded in your by-laws. Therefore, people who are newer to the church and who are not even yet members can give full voice to their experience and ideas. This provides a freshness and energy to the team working the Pathway. The eight tasks of the Vitality team have places for the most seasoned members and for the newest arrival. You are not limiting your ministry assessment to a group of leaders or a committee or task force. It brings the whole church together, which in the end, increases ownership and buy in.

Two, the Pathway embeds a common language in the life of the church. By establishing the 10 Healthy Missional Markers and the four church types, everyone is thinking in the same terms. This allows people to identify issues and articulate ideas in a way that has much more power and clarity.

Three, the Pathway is adaptable. It is not a program or a package that you impose on your church. The Pathway is designed to be a process that opens dialogue and conversation about the life of a church. People can affirm strengths and explore growth areas. One of the key reminders is that the answers are not in the data, but the answers are in the conversations we have about the data. One church may dive head long into worship, another into team structure, and yet another into community outreach. Three churches focusing on the same area of ministry may come up with three entirely different, and appropriate, tools to empower their ministry. The Pathway does not prescribe answers or solutions. It invites the church to discover and implement.

Four, the Pathway is rooted in Spirit and the word. The process constantly invites the church to look at principles in scripture for guidance and direction. It also is impregnated with reminders that we need to pray and listen for God to speak. The internal transforming work of the Spirit happens in the hearts of parishioners and in the heart of the whole congregation.

These are not the only benefits from the Pathway, but they highlight the way that every church can gain some benefit. It is a tool for churches of every size and level of health. It invites every fellowship into a journey of continuous improvement. We hope you will consider joining us.

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