You have heard a lot from us recently about Thriving! Thriving Ministers and Thriving Congregations. I hope you received the Center for Congregational Health’s invitation to participate in our Thriving Congregations Survey. Just in case you missed it, here is the link for you to participate and to share with others:
In reading and doing research on Thriving Congregations we are encountering truths that Intentional Interim Ministers (IIM) have known for many years. The Vital Congregations report, that Chris referred to last month, clearly describes a clarity of identity as most helpful in being a vital congregation, “The most important factors for improving vitality were: an increased clarity in the congregation’s mission/ purpose and an increased level of authentic engagement in that mission.”
Who Are You? a blogpost on the Center for Congregations (Indiana) website describes a variety of resources to help congregations clarify their identity. As a trained IIM, you have a notebook of tools, and much experience to go along with that notebook, to help you work with congregations in engaging activities, exercises, and conversations that assist in identity clarification. We know that congregations who have a clear identity have worked with articulating their mission/purpose for being as well as the call into the future or their vision. After clarifying identity, vital congregations are those whose members are engaged in the congregation’s mission.
What Makes a Congregation a Real Faith Community is an adaptation from Israel Galindo’s book The Hidden Lives of congregations…(2004). Galindo writes about this combination of mission/purpose and the community being engaged in that purpose.
The school of education and social policy at Northwestern University shares a paper, Getting the Most Out of Your Mission: Organizational Missions as a Key to Employee Engagement, which describes involving employees in an organization’s mission. It is easy to read this paper and see/understand the parallels between a congregation and church members.
I find it beautifully interesting that the work that we have always done as IIMs is being recognized and lifted up as important work for congregations, at any point of their lives, to engage to be more vital. So, AIIM members, I say to you, continue to do the good work that you do in helping congregations to thrive.