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Southeastern Synod ELCA Life Cycle Presentation

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Presentation by Dr. John Fairless at the Professional Leaders Conference, Lutherridge Conference Center, September 2013

Presentation by Dr. John Fairless at the Professional Leaders Conference, Lutherridge Conference Center, September 2013

Published in: Education, Spiritual

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  • 1. A Presentation for Southeastern Synod Convocation The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America By Dr. John Fairless Understanding the Life Cycle of Your Church
  • 2. Acknowledgements Dr. George Bullard, The Columbia Partnership, 332 Valley Springs Road, Columbia, SC Dr. Kennon Callahan, Twelve Keys to an Effective Church, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, CA Office of Congregational Development, The Episcopal Church, 815 Second Avenue, New York, NY
  • 3. Life Cycle in “Life” Birth Growth Maturity Decline Death “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die....” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
  • 4. Life Cycle in “Life” Birth Growth Maturity Decline Death Infancy Child Youth Adult Empty Nest Retire Old Age
  • 5. Life Cycle in a Congregation Birth Growth Maturity Decline Death Infancy Child Youth Adult Empty Nest Retire Old Age Renew Revitalize Redevelop
  • 6. Organizing Principles (Drivers) Vision (Fuel, Energy) Relationships (Attract, Include) Programs (Reflect Gifts, Meet Needs) Management (Systems, Resources)
  • 7. Vision Vision is the current understanding of God’s direction for a congregation that is cast by leadership and owned by everyone in the parish. Vision reflects the core values of the congregation. Vision is the fuel or energy that will drive the congregation into the future with hope and a sense of potency.
  • 8. Relationships How the parish attracts new people into the Christian faith journey, allows current parishioners deepen and mature in their faith journey and nurtures relationships that help people feel included within the church community. Evidence of effective relationships is an ever-deepening spirituality, widespread ownership of parish activities and developing new leadership.
  • 9. Programs Programs (ministries and activities) embody the vision of the church and reflect the gifts and vocations of parishioners. Effective programs meet real, identified spiritual, social and emotional needs of people in the neighborhood as well as the church community. Evidence of effective programs is that the church is known for the excellence of its programs, ministries and activities.
  • 10. Management Management are those systems that facilitate orderly decision-making, the allocation of resources, integrates new developments and establishes boundaries (i.e., “the rules.”) Effective management is efficient, well-defined and supports the vision, relationships and programs of the church. Effective management is accountable to the congregation as well as the larger church.
  • 11. Life Cycle in a Congregation Birth Growth Maturity Decline Death Infancy V Child VR Youth VRP Adult VRPM Empty Nest RPM Retire PM Old Age M v m V = Vision R = Relationships P = Programs M = Management
  • 12. Life Cycle in a Congregation Birth v Growth Maturity Decline Death m Infancy Vrpm Child VRpm Youth VRPm Adult VRPM Empty Nest vRPM Retire vrPM Old Age vrpM Renew Revitalize Redevelop V = Vision R = Relationships P = Programs M = Management 6-18 months 18-36 months 3-7 years
  • 13. Time to Cuss and Discuss Review Reactions Questions Discussion Insights Observations What If's?
  • 14. Life Cycle in a Congregation Birth v Growth Maturity Decline Death m Infancy Vrpm Child VRpm Youth VRPm Adult VRPM Empty Nest vRPM Retire vrPM Old Age vrpM Renew Revitalize Redevelop V = Vision R = Relationships P = Programs M = Management 6-18 months 18-36 months 3-7 years (1-2 Yrs) (3-5 Yrs) (5-6 Yrs) (8-10 Yrs) (18-22 Yrs Old) (5-6 Yrs) (22-27 Yrs Old) (25-35 Yrs Old) (35+ Yrs Old) (50-60 Yrs Old) (?? Yrs)
  • 15. What Makes a Church “Effective?” Twelve characteristics have been identified in churches that are effective in mission and successful in outreach. These twelve characteristics fall into two categories: Six are relational Six are functional Effective churches tend to have nine of these twelve characteristics solidly in place; moreover, the majority of the nine are relational rather than functional.
  • 16. Characteristics of Effective Churches Relational One mission outreach Shepherding contacts with members and community Stirring, helpful worship Significant relational groups Strong leadership team (leaders, pastor, staff) Solid decision process (simple organization) Functional One major program (among best in community) Open accessibility High visibility Adequate parking, land and landscaping Adequate space and facilities Generous giving (solid financial resources)
  • 17. Very important! 1. The relational characteristics are the source of satisfaction in a congregation. 2. The functional characteristics, to the degree they are not in place, are the sources of dissatisfaction in a congregation. 3. There is no direct correlation between these two!
  • 18. In other words… Lowering the level of dissatisfaction does not raise the level of satisfaction... Raising the level of satisfaction does not lower the level of dissatisfaction. The only correlation – if one exists – is that the level of satisfaction needs to be higher than the level of dissatisfaction in order for the congregation to have a sense of confidence and competence about its mission.
  • 19. That is why... It is important for a congregation to nurture and put well in place a greater number of relational characteristics than functional characteristics.
  • 20. The Path to the Future Power for the future is found in claiming strengths, not in focusing on weaknesses and shortcomings.
  • 21. As You Pray and Plan... Claim your strengths (gifts)... Expand your strengths... Add new strengths! Remember that everything takes time!
  • 22. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Benediction from Ephesians 3:20-21