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Congregational Life: Vision, Mission, Identity, Dying: Mission

tools for listening to God, generating new vision, developing a mission and empowering communal embrace of congregational identity


Building Up a New World | Congregational Organizing for Transformative Impact     The Church in the Public: A Politics of Engagement for a Cruel and Indifferent Age     CHURCH ON THE MOVE     Faith-Based Organizing: A Congregational Planning Resource for Addressing Poverty     Jesus on Main Street     Picture of The Mission-Minded Guide to Church and School Partnerships     Mission Rift: Leading through Church Conflict          Reawakened          Serving Money, Serving God: Aligning Radical Justice, Christian Practice, and Church Life     The Space Between Us     Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers     Stuck Together

Articles, Blogs, & Podcasts

A field of sunflowersCommitting to Your Community for the Long Term

From Sparkhouse blogger Nick Tangen

Finding a Path out of Loneliness - By Mary Kay DuChene 

What if faith communities could be the center of turning around the epidemic of loneliness in the country?


From the Age of Association to Authenticity

What the End of the Age of Association Means for the Church 

by Dwight Zscheile | August 11, 2021

See also the Living Lutheran Magazine study guide to the related article, They May Not Come Back

Sunbeam over a neighborhood church

Reimagining Church Buildings


How can your church building be an asset rather than a liability? Dave Harder says we must interrogate the dominant narrative that says church is what happens in the building for a few hours on a Sunday and let a new narrative emerge — one that focuses on God’s hopes and dreams for the neighborhood.

What Now?

Tools for Engaging the Post-Covid Church is a suite of practical resources created for pastors as they navigate the impacts and realities of COVID19. Sign up here.

Graphic of a church building and office building and lines of sharing going back and forth between them

Episode 82: What Can Churches and Businesses Learn from Each Other? featuring Randy Casey-Rutland

Graphic illustrating steps from mission statement to checklist to open church

Do You Need a Mission Statement for Your Post-Pandemic Transition Plan?

As congregations plan for a future with fewer pandemic-related restrictions, Lovett H. Weems Jr. says they need a standard for assessing various options. Without a clear connection to your primary mission your transition plan could easily be hijacked by those pushing hardest for their point of view or what neighboring churches are doing.

Photographer's loupe bringing into sharp focus a distant mountain range and the word MISSION

How to Stay Focused on Your Mission

Barry Winders says having a mission statement isn’t enough to keep your church focused and fruitful. Churches need to develop a mission filter — a question or statement designed to evaluate decisions and activities to determine their alignment with the mission.

Many smaller lit lightbulbs hanging from colored cords

The Myth of the One Big Idea

Scott Cormode explains how change efforts often fail because we risk everything on one big idea. Innovation flourishes within systems that generate lots of ideas. And a leader’s task is to plant and water the seeds of change to see which take root and grow.

Photo of a cluttered storage room

To the Point: Unclutter Your Church: What needs to die in your church?


Agile Church | Technology Agile Church: Committed to the Future Success of Mainline Churches

Agile Church was founded to help church leaders and congregations navigate the tidal wave of change affecting growth and threatening the survival of mainline churches. Agile Church is a proven system that combines decades of church leadership experience; a diverse range of consulting services; innovative technology; and a library of proven resources into a single church growth system.



Organizing Church

In this Exchanges training, explore what the church can learn about itself and about its mission through broad-based community organizing.

Strong church institutions depend upon a strong relational fabric grounded in sacred values, because relationships that are grounded in values are more able to withstand change and conflict. Broad-based organizing provides a unique way of building strong relationships grounded in values we hold most dear. The relationship between broad-based organizing and the church is reciprocal and mutually beneficial.

The Faith+Lead Learning Lab is a place to listen, learn, innovate, and grow. Join other spiritual leaders in grappling with real-world challenges and discoveries of ministry in the 21st Century.

Congregations Lead Initiative

The ELCA's Growing Younger page includes stories, resources, and tools to assist you and your congregation in connecting with new people so that our world may experience the difference God’s grace and love in Christ makes for all people and creation; including:

6 Core Commitments                                                                            

Download The 6 Core Commitments of Churches Growing Younger pdf here.

6 Core Commitments

Register for the ELCA Growing Younger Train the Trainer Event here.

Engaging Local Schools Video Tool Kit cover featuring a smiling student holding a textbook

Engaging Local Schools is a toolkit to help congregations discern how best to support and engage local schools, utilizing videos, presentations, and supplemental materials.

Thriving Beyond COVID is a scripture-based small and large group study that will encourage, inspire, and challenge members and get them in a positive frame of mind for your post-COVID journey. Challenges can be managed with faith and a plan. This two-minute video is an introduction. A leader guide, small and large group participant guides, as well as videos are available for free download here.

Doing Good Well Video Tool Kit cover featuring a smiling woman packing groceries at a food drive

Vital congregations are increasingly committed to serving others through mission. And congregations are asking whether their good intentions always yield good results. Through engaging videos, presentations, and supplemental materials, Doing Good Well explores the fruitfulness of mission efforts and provides practical strategies to help ensure your mission hits the mark.

Doing Good Well is ecumenical and designed for both self study and for use with groups in your church.

Be sure you are gathering the right kind of information. In this assessment, you will:

  • Discover the larger impact that you are making in your community through your service and outreach;
  • Uncover areas for further development of your ministries and programs;
  • Understand what makes you unique in your community;
  • Deep-dive into the financial goals and strategies for your congregation’s present and future;
  • Gain clarity about your “next best step” as your church engages in its life together.

Learn more.

In Our Library

7 CREATIVE MODELS FOR COMMUNITY MINISTRY          cover of called to community book     Cover Image          9781558963788: Churchworks: A well-body book for congregations     Creating a Missional Culture                    Engage! Tools for Ministry in the Community          Book - Paperback     Paperback Faithful Metrics: a field guide to measuring mission without missing the moments Book     A Field Guide for the Missional Congregation: Embarking on a Journey of Transformation     Book - Paperback     FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS     The Forgotten Ways: Reactivating the Missional Church: Alan Hirsch, Leonard  Sweet: 8601200642049: Books - Amazon     Gear Up!: Nine Essential Processes for the Optimized Church  -     By: Kay Kotan     Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church  -     By: Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, Brad Griffin     Amazon - How to Be a Christian Without Going to Church: The Unofficial  Guide to Alternative Forms of Christian Community: Bean, Kelly:  9780801072420: Books                    Loving and Serving Others: The Practice of Risk-Taking Mission and Service - eBook  -     By: Robert Schnase     MAKING FRIENDS, MAKING DISCIPLES     Ministry of the Missional Church, The: A Community Led by the Spirit -  Kindle edition by Van Gelder, Craig. Religion & Spirituality Kindle eBooks  @     The Missional Church in Perspective | Baker Publishing Group     Missional Essentials: A Guide for Experiencing God's Mission in Your Life Study Guide  -     By: Brad Brisco, Lance Ford     Missional | Baker Publishing Group     The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World (Jossey-Bass Leadership Network #17) Cover Image     Missional. Monastic. Mainline.     Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church  -     By: Reggie McNeal          Neighborhood Church     Cover Image     The New Parish     9781501815034: The Passionate Church               26635467     The Sacred Secular: How God Is Using the World to Shape the Church  -     By: Dottie Escobedo-Frank, Rob Rynders          E-Book     Book - Paperback     9780687032402: Strangers into Friends: Hospitality As a Mission     Structured for Mission          9781414308937: Transforming Church: Bringing Out the Good to Get to Great     Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community: Heuertz, Christopher L,  Rohr, Richard: 9781451652260: Books     Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World: Acevedo, Mr Jorge:  9781426767555: Books - Amazon     Book - Paperback     Why We Live In Community English

Studies - In Our Library

Book - Paperback     Book - Paperback     Being Hope - Adult Study: United Methodists in Global Mission     hfld-2913-g430-0          A Generous Community: Being the Church in a New Missionary Age: Doyle, C. Andrew