April 30, 2018

Connecting Churches to Diocesan and National Resources

When was the last time a delegation of 5 or more people from your church attended an event that addressed an area of vital importance to your congregation? These important areas may include: 1) Evangelism 2) Stewardship 3) Formation 4) Anti-racism 5) Vestry Leadership Development 6) Church Planting/ Replanting 7) Outreach or 8) Communication.

These events may have been sponsored by the Diocese, the Episcopal Church or a national Episcopal organization. These entities have invested much time and effort to be a resource in the areas listed above and others not mentioned. Additionally the National organizations have dedicated their whole ministry to deep expertise in these areas. Examples of these organizations are Forma, Episcopal Church Foundation, and Church Pension Group.

Oftentimes these resources are not known to our congregations and therefore not sought out. Our role as leaders is to ensure that we seek and share information to ensure that our congregations thrive. We should use all means of communication to share these events with our congregations. Once a delegation or individual attends or has access to information they have an obligation to share with the congregation. We need to cultivate that type of environment.

Even if programs are in place within our congregations and successfully implemented there is always room for improvement. Also technology can be used to engage and participate, we do not always have to travel to events.

Unfortunately it appears that the individualism that is so pervasive in our culture has also infected our churches. Many of us believe that we must do it on our own and that our success is due to our own personal accomplishments and perseverance. In many instances we reinvent the wheel or relearn lessons simply because we have not reached out.

Keeping our churches isolated from diocesan and national church resources is a travesty that we need to address. If our churches are to grow we need to be aware of current best practices within and outside our denominations. Many people spend a lot of time and resources to enable us access and it is not good stewardship for us to ignore this information. Answers to prayers and blessings come in many form.