Models of Vibrancy

I have been spending some time pondering how the wider church could most effectively help congregations renew. The challenge is that most of us don’t even know what renewal could look like. Lets face it, most of us have grown up in and been trained in a model of church that seems to be struggling. As a parish pastor, what would help me is to see and lean from other churches that have found ways of thriving in their mission and ministry.

What we often forget is that there are many congregations out there that are thriving and in the process learning things about what it takes to thrive in our present age. What we need is for people to learn about these congregations and make available the lessons they have learned and the models that they have created. Thankfully someone has started this process. Luther Seminary and the Lilley foundations are undertaking such a project. It is called the Vibrant Congregations Project. It is still in process, but well worth keeping an eye on. Perhaps it is also something we could think about doing in our own contexts.


One Response to Models of Vibrancy

  1. Barry Bence says:

    I’m all for new models–or I’d still be driving my ’61 Mercury. I believe it was Avery Dulles who wrote a book about Biblical images that helped us see the Church with new eyes. I can’t remember them all, but there was Bread, a Lifeboat, etc. But there’s one model that usually beats out all the rest–the family. As a former Child Protective Services Caseworker, I used insights from family systems theory to help my troubled families heal (where possible) as well as to understand church conflicts. The problem as I see it is that a lot of congregations have real challenges managing change in a positive fashion. So while I’m going to check out this vibrant churches thing, in the end are there really new ways of living as Christ in this age? Or are we just hoping that the latest fad will finally rescue us from our malaise? What do you all think?

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