7th Sunday after Epiphany, February 20th, 2022. Explore 1 Timothy 6:11–21
Our final mark of vitality is Ecclesial Health. This mark is about affirming and considering "why" we gather as a church community and "how" we practice being part of the body of Christ. At its core, this mark continually makes you consider whether our values, mission, and vision are practiced or are mere fancy words displayed somewhere on the church's website. At its center, this mark of vitality has prayer and spirit discernment. Other crucial parts are: A necessary decision-making process; the vitality of ministries and leaders; stewardship of budget and resources; and a group clarity of service. Ecclesial health is about the congregational having clarity, knowing that all people are stakeholders invested in the organization's success. In other words, does the congregation know what is their "Victory?"
A. Biblical References: II Corinthians 5:11–21; Matthew 15:1–9; 1 Corinthians 12:14, 24b–25; Romans 6:1–14; Luke 24:13–35; John 2:13–25; John 17; Colossians 2:1–19; 1 Timothy 6:11–21
A communal life centered on prayer and discernment of God’s will
Clarity in Vision, Mission, Core Values; budget reflects these core principles
Continual attentiveness, awareness, and assessment to mission and practices of being church
Pastor(s) and staff are regularly evaluated using best practices
Pastor(s) and staff, all servant leaders, are nurtured and supported in health; clear expectations
Stewardship and tithing are taught year-round; accountable giving in gratitude
Transparent in spending; continual discernment of budget sustainability
All are stakeholders, committed to fiscal responsibilities, active participation, and necessary voices in envisioning, dreaming, and decision-making
C. Potential Outcomes:
Congregations practice a living faith, ever- changing, where prayer is central to existence
People are the church sharing core values, mission, vision
Authentic joy, desire, commitment in being the church
There is a culture of accountability and risk taking, openness to new things
Sustainable budget, tithing responsibility, stewardship center on generosity to being church
Pastor(s) and leaders are cared for, evaluated, and supported
D. Reflection Questions:
How would you describe the ecclesial health of your church?
Do you feel like your church centers life with prayer at the heart of all things?
What is the mission of your church? Who wrote it? How does your church live into its mission? How does your budget reflect your mission?
What are the core values and vision of your church? Does everyone know and share them?
Does your congregation do well to embrace change?
When was the last time a dream led to incredible new vision and ministry in your church?
Are people stakeholders in being a part of your church?
Do they feel committed to values and mission? Do they feel they are necessary in dreaming, envisioning, decision-making process?
What are the policies for pastor(s) and staff in your church?
How are they evaluated? Supported?
How does your church teach stewardship and tithing?
Who makes decisions in your church? Are they transparent? Do all get buy-in; all opinions heard?
Is your budget sustainable? How is it assessed? Who determines spending?