Our Arkansas Conference Trajectory:
Creating vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples, equipped to transform lives, communities and the world. See the Bishop’s Mission Plan
Purpose of the Center for Vitality:
The Center for Vitality provides resources for pastors, laity, and congregations to experience spiritual revival and become vital congregations that make disciples of Jesus Christ, who make disciples equipped to transform lives, communities and the world.
Primary Focus for the Center for Vitality:
The Center for Vitality will lead in addressing Next Steps 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Bishop’s Mission Plan. The Center will collaborate on all other Next Steps to resource the creation of vital congregations.
The Center for Vitality’s Four Areas of Ministry:
- Resourcing Vital Congregations
- Leadership Formation
- Learning Communities of Practice
- Supporting Supervised Ministry
The Center for Vitality Staff:
Rev. Dede Roberts, Director
Dr. Blake Bradford, Assistant Director
Cathy Hall, Lay Program Coordinator
Mission Plan and Purpose, June 2015:
The Center for Vitality will lead in addressing Next Steps 1, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the Bishop’s Ministry Plan. The Center will collaborate on all other Next Steps to resource the creation of vital congregations.
Next Step # 1: Congregations will experience spiritual revival.
Spiritual revival is the source of congregational vitality. All work of the Center will aim toward revival: developing and using a language for revival, teaching and encouraging the spiritual disciplines that make room for the Holy Spirit to bring revival, and training clergy and lay spiritual leaders seeking revival to engage in the mission of making disciples.
Next Step # 5: Congregations will increasingly begin to look like their neighborhoods.
The Center will work with District Mission Strategists and their District Mission Plans to identify churches ready to begin the process of turning ministry “inside out” and stepping into the mission field. The Center will provide transformational leadership training to the clergy and laity of these congregations. The focus will be on developing a team approach to ministry grounded in mission field analysis, cultural awareness, faith sharing, spiritual leadership, strategic planning, stewardship, and skill building. Benchmarks and metrics will be generated for assessing progress in each local church and for assessing the Center’s work with congregations. In addition the Center will collaborate with the Office for Mission Field Engagement for intervention and revitalization work.
Next Step #6: Churches will Grow By “1” in four key areas of vitality: at least one new adult profession of faith, at least one more person in worship, at least one additional small group and at least one more ministry that reaches into the mission field.
The Center will communicate this expectation to all churches in the annual conference. Tools and strategies for growth will be offered, and equipping/training opportunities will be made available to help churches reach and exceed this minimum standard. Working with District Mission Strategists and District Mission Plans and using strategies of the Benchmark Project, a group of congregations will be selected and targeted for significant growth beyond “1”. Growth will be tracked by the Center and metrics will be developed for assessing the effects of the Center’s work in the growth of congregations. This step will be addressed through the Unleashing Lay Leadership Project, Benchmark Project, Clergy Coaching, Spiritual Direction Network, and Circuit Elder Work. The Center will collaborate with the Center for Technology to communicate expectations and provide resources for growth. The Center will also work with the Office for Mission Field Engagement for work with ethnic churches.
Next Step #7: Laity will be coached and mentored so they increasingly demonstrate passion, boldness and excellence in faith sharing, servant ministry, stewardship and using their spiritual gifts.
Working in cooperation with the Board of Laity, the Center will design and implement a leadership development program for coaching and mentoring lay leaders. Laity in churches identified as strategic churches through District Mission Plans will be invited to participate in a comprehensive program which will include both onsite training and online modules. Outcomes for the design of The Unleashing Lay Leadership initiative of the Center will focus on this step. In addition, coaching, spiritual direction and the work of Circuit Elders will used to encourage lay leaders in their ministry. The Center will collaborate with the Center for Technology to create online resources and with the Office for Mission Field Engagement to assure that cultural competency is a component of coaching and mentoring.
Next Step #8: Pastors will be coached and mentored so they increasingly demonstrate passion, boldness and excellence as spiritual leaders through personal discipleship, preaching, evangelism, mission-field engagement, stewardship and equipping laity for ministry.
Working in cooperation with the Board of Ordained Ministry, the Order of Elders, the Order of Deacons and the Fellowship of Local Pastors, the Center will design and implement a comprehensive development program for credentialed clergy. Using a peer learning model, the program will address spiritual formation, core competencies of pastoral fruitfulness and clergy health over a life- time of service. Center work in the initiatives of the REVgroups, the Coaching Network, Spiritual Direction Network, RIM, and Circuit Elder program will address this step. In addition, the Assistant Director of Clergy Development will work with clergy already in connection with the Arkansas Conference as well as recruiting gifted young clergy to Arkansas..