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Congregational Vitality Pathway

RCA Farwest Region

Open Letter Thank YOU to Vitality Pathway Churches

A few days ago I had the joy and privilege of meeting with Church Health Team members of the classes that make up our Far West Region of the RCA.  There were pastors from Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Arizona, California and even Chicago.  We met for 24 hours to pray and share and to make plans to how we can best work together to support all of the churches in the Far West Region become healthy missional churches. We had some awesome pizza and stayed in a beautiful house on the ocean near Dana Point – but that was not the best part of the meeting.

I was very impressed and moved by the love these men have for the Lord and his church.  It was also moving to see the depth of experience and leadership wisdom we had in that room. There was a unity of purpose and direction that was quite powerful.  We left the meeting united in moving ahead to work together in adopting the Congregational Vitality Pathway’s 10 markers of Healthy Missional Church as the Far West Region benchmarks for church health.  We also agreed to work together to use what we have learned and are learning on the Congregational Vitality Pathway as our tool for supporting local churches on their journey to being healthy missional churches.  Thanks to Bruce Bugbee and Karl Overbeek for keeping us all on track.

I think it is important for you to know that you have been a big part of this becoming a reality.  New Hope Community Church, Impact Church, Sonoma Valley Community Church, Living Faith Community Church, and Church of the Cross have been proving grounds for this approach to church health.   Every church has experienced the Lord moving in their midst as they have walked the Congregational Vitality Pathway.  Several churches in the Cascades Classis have had the same positive experience. We have found that the pathway provides a structure and direction for a local church to take a good look at their true condition and then find direction and tools for moving toward health.  

But this wouldn’t have happened if these churches would not have taken a risk to try something new and it is important that you know that.  It is also important to know that we are not alone on this journey.  We still have a long way to go and the journey to congregational health is both adventurous and treacherous.  Only God knows where this path will take us.   The scripture reminds us that a three-fold cord is not easily broken.  We have a cord of three strands: The Lord, the local church and our denomination.    Let’s continue to hold together and support each other and encourage all our Far West Region churches to be healthy missional churches.

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