“Part of the reality for synods in the 21st century is they have to act and live differently,” Jeff Kjellberg of Kairos and Associates, consultant for Forward Together in Faith, told a gathering of congregations participating in the mission assessment process made possible by this campaign.
“One way to start behaving differently is to do a different way of gathering information and data about congregations so that they can more effectively get resources to equip and empower their congregations and leadership,” he said.
Over the past year, 23 congregations participated in the initial rollout of a mission assessment process. Participating congregations invited a cross section of members to take an online survey that describes the energy, passion and readiness for change in the church. Each congregation was provided with a review of their own congregation’s results, and the Synod invited them together for an evening review of the areas of interest and potential for learning and growth that were common among all of the congregations.
Another group of congregations will begin the assessment process in the near future. Funds raised by Forward Together in Faith will allow all congregations to participate.
The assessments revealed four areas of common interest that included foundational church issues as well as ministry areas the congregations are passionate about:
- Spiritual Vitality
- Conflict and Governance
- Develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances
- Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church
At the August meeting leaders of the congregations heard presentations by speakers who shared their expertise and offered resources in each of the four areas. Each of the congregations was asked to work on one of the four areas of interest over the next year diving deeper into that area and exploring ways they can better equip themselves for moving Forward Together in Faith.
“It is going to take some effort and energy to take the good work of the assessment and to translate that into opportunity for renewal transformation and deepening impact for your mission and ministry,” Kjellberg said.