The 162nd Convention of the Diocese of California held October 21-22 heard Bishop Marc Andrus call for a new spirit of renewal, hope and vitality for the church in a call to action to get the church growing again.
Church vitality has been front and center as as a major issue for the church.
For many years the long slow decline in average Sunday attendance, membership and pledging has reduced the size of the Episcopal Church and other mainline denominations.
Earlier this year at Bishop Marc’s request the Executive Council of the Diocese of California launched a church growth program to expand lay participation in the church and open its doors to new members. This is a companion to the ongoing work of the Diocese staff on mission effectiveness and church vitality.
Over the past three months, the church growth program has held workshops, made presentations at each of the six deaneries, and created a website to gather resources to help congregations with growing ideas.
Next Step: Working in the Vineyard
With the convention endorsement, the next stage of this church growth and vitality initiative is beginning by inviting congregations eager to take a fresh look at new ideas to grow, new programs to meet the needs of the faithful, and help in assessing their needs to take action.
- GROWING IDEAS. The catalog of program ideas continues to grow as congregations offer them. Check out the list in the Growing Ideas category on this website. If you have a program that has worked well to help your congregation grow we’d love to hear about it.
- CONGREGATION ACTION PLANNING. The Church Growth Program team will gladly meet with any congregation to provide a presentation on our work, facilitate discussion of ideas appropriate to your congregation needs and help your Vestry develop a Growing Ideas action plan of your own. Contact Gary Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting.
- CHURCH GROWTH PROGRAM WORKSHOPS. We will hold two more action planning workshops and you are welcome to participate. No registration is required.
- NOVEMBER 12th 9am to Noon. St. Alban’s Brentwood. EAST CONTRA COSTA COUNTY CHURCH GROWTH NEEDS ASSESSMENT. We will hear representatives from area congregations describe the issues they face and the needs they have to bring the Good News to the people of this fast growing and fast changing part of the Diocese of California.
- DECEMBER 10TH 9am to Noon. Holy Innocent’s San Francisco. CHURCH2GO! How New Technology can Help Your Congregation build Community and Flourish. From new tools for online giving, using software to make stewardship easy, to social networking technology is helping the church connect with people and support their personal faith journey as well as their service to others.
- Bishop Marc’s Call for Congregational Vitality (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Introducing our new Church Growth Program (churchgrowthprogram.com)
- Disciples in the Dougherty Valley (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Episcopal Realities: Getting Back to Growth (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Turning Our Stewardship Fears into Easter’s Sunrise (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)
- Census 2010 clues for Growing the Church (discernablefutures.wordpress.com)