Vital Congregations

The mission of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This mission statement summarizes two passages of Scripture, which are central to the United Methodist Way:

  • Matthew 28:18-20 - The Great Commission
  • Matthew 22:36-40 - The Great Commandment

The question for each local church is: "So what does that really mean for us?" In other words, we need to find connections between our mission (and the Biblical foundations of that mission) and our day-to-day life in the congregations and communities we serve.

The College of Bishops' in their "Call to Action" document and webcast released in April 2011 called for congregations to set goals for ongoing and renewed vitality. A new website, Vital Congregations, has been created to help congregations set goals and track their progress. This video offers a "walk through" the website. Note the site provides an array or resources, including  a "Vital Congregations" promotional video, and "Clayride," located under the "Our Story" link, which is a history of The United Methodist Church (this can also be ordered on DVD).

As your congregation moves through this process, there are milestones along the way to encourage you to keep making progress, and there will be a report of your goals at the end. But the most important part of this process is the "holy conferencing" that will take place as your congregation explores how God wants to use your congregation to make disciples of Jesus Christ and change the world.

The Vital Congregations Planning Guide will serve as a roadmap for your congregation in this process. (Located below, under "Key Documents.)

But the most important part of this process is the "holy conferencing" that will take place as your congregation explores how God wants to use your congregation to make disciples of Jesus Christ and change the world.

The Vital Congregations Planning Guide will serve as a roadmap for your congregation in this process.

Vital Congregations defined
Disciple-making and world transformation occur through Vital Congregations.

What is a vital congregation? Vital congregations are spirit-filled, forward-leaning communities of believers that welcome all people (Galatians 3:28), make disciples of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20), and serve like Christ through justice and mercy ministries (Micah 6:8, Luke 4:17-21).

A vital congregation has:

  • Inviting and inspiring worship
  • Engaged disciples in mission and outreach
  • Gifted, equipped and inspired lay leadership
  • Effective, equipped and inspired clergy leadership
  • Small groups and strong children's programs and youth ministry

Vital congregations are led by and made up of vital disciples. These are some marks of vital disciples:

  • Disciples worship
  • Disciples make new disciples
  • Disciples engage in growing their faith
  • Disciples engage in mission
  • Disciples give to mission

Web Links

Key Documents