Leadership UMC
Small Group Presentation
Blessed Merciful
Vital Congregations
(How churches can engage in the 16 key ministry strategies to become more vital)
Project Report
April 2014
Prepared by the Blessed Merciful small group
Front row l to r:
Danielle Neal, Brandon Adams
Back row l to r:
Joseph Dobrowolski, JB Bass, Steve Lawrence, Mary Gilmer, Brad
To The Family Feud!!!
The Mary Family
• Mary Gilmer
• Danielle Neal
• JB Bass
The Joseph Family
• Joseph Dobrowolski
• Brad Whitner
• Brandon Adams
Engagement of disciples in small groups and the
number of ministries for children and youth
How can vital churches have more effective and engaging
programs for youth?
• In vital churches, youth participate in their own youth focused service, which
includes discipleship, community building, and music, but are also involved in
the Sunday morning worship services. (d)
• In vital churches, strong youth ministries include service (mission) opportunities,
small group support, fellowship and spiritual growth opportunities such as
• In vital churches, inter-generational activities and conversations are an integral
part of a strong youth ministry.
• In recognition that youth have different needs from children, adults and the
elderly, vital congregations have separate programs for youth to meet the needs
of their life stage. In these programs, the youth are supported, mentored and
guided by those who have gone before.
Engagement of disciples in small groups and the
number of ministries for children and youth, continued
How can vital churches have more effective and engaging
programs for youth?
• In vital churches, images of youth are included in the artwork on the walls, the
church website and on social media. Vital churches meet the youth where they
are and do not shy away from new technologies and social media, to include the
youth in their communities.
• In vital congregations, the youth are included in all areas in the life of a
congregation, including, but not limited to, worship planning, missions and
outreach. Vital congregations do not exclude the youth membership, but view
them as a valuable part of the body of Christ with gifts and graces that God has
given them.
• Engagement of Disciples in small
groups and the number of ministries
for children and youth
How can vital congregations have more
effective and engaging programs for
Correct Answer
• Vital congregations offer separate
programs for youth.
Incorrect Answer
• Vital churches send their youth on
retreats, alone!!!
Correct Answer
• Vital congregations include their youth
in event and worship planning.
Correct Answer
• In vital congregations, youth
participate in their own youth focused
service, and are participants in the
Sunday morning worship services.
Lay Leadership
Vital churches place an emphasis on rotating lay leadership in
order to involve more people over time.
How can vital churches establish a system that places an
emphasis on rotating lay leadership in order to involve more
people over time?
To answer this question, let’s first look at what a lay leader is.
An effective Lay Leader functions as the primary
representative of and role model for Christian discipleship
and faith lived out in the church and in daily life for the
people of a congregation. The Lay Leader works with the
pastor to fulfill the mission and vision of the congregation.
Lay Leadership,
A Lay Leader should be a growing Christian disciple who
understands that everyone has spiritual gifts and experiences
that are vital to the Body of Christ (See 1 Corinthians 12). This
person benefits from knowing his or her own spiritual gift(s)
and living out those gifts in congregational life.
This leader should be a living example of one who "loves God
and loves neighbor." It is important for a lay leader to listen well
and communicate with people of all ages. This person should
show evidence of working well with both clergy and laity, with
various teams and task groups. The Lay Leader must have the
ability to keep a broad view of the separate parts of the
congregation and help align the entire ministry toward the
mission of the church. The lay leader should show interest in
connecting the congregation with the community and the world
in order to participate in the petition of the Lord's Prayer "thy
kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as in heaven."
What does the Lay Leader do?
• This leader represents the lay people in the congregation and
is a role model of Christian discipleship for the congregation.
• This leader examines ways the congregation as a whole and
as individuals can be involved in caring ministries in the
community. He or she works with the pastor and other
leaders to launch or strengthen ministries that build
discipleship and increase God’s presence of caring, justice and
love in the world.
• The Lay Leader makes plans with leaders in the congregation
for celebrating the ministry of laypeople throughout the year,
and especially on Laity Sunday.
• The Lay Leader learns about the actions taken at annual
conference and by the General Conference and shares this
information with members of the congregation.
• The Lay Leader meets regularly with the pastor to discuss the
state of the church and the opportunities for ministry. (e)
Spiritual Gifts
Effective Lay Leaders are in a place God wants them to be. They have been carefully
chosen through a process of observation and identification of their God given talents
and passions. An excellent means of identifying future Lay Leaders is the Spiritual
Gifts Assessment.
What Spiritual Gifts should a Lay Servant possess?
Spiritual gifts: servanthood, faith, compassion, apostleship
The gift of leadership is a visionary, and forward looking gift that enables people to
stay focused on where God might be leading us as individuals, congregations, and
communities at any given time. Leaders look more to where we are going rather than
where we currently are, or where we have been. Leaders motivate others to work
together in ways that help them achieve more together than any could on their own.
Leaders provide examples of how we should order our lives to honor and glorify God.
Spiritual Gifts Assessment
The Spiritual Gifts Assessment helps individuals identify their God-given gifts for
living faithfully as Christian disciples day by day and find meaningful ways to use their
gifts in connection with others through the community of faith. The process helps
people understand the nature of spiritual gifts and ways to enhance the effectiveness
of their gifts by linking together with others.
Rotation of Lay Leadership
Vital churches stagger a three year rotation of lay leaders on key committees.
This serves to insure a skill development process in which new, incoming lay
leaders observe and learn from more experienced leaders.
One aspect of a job well done as a servant leader is what we do to prepare
others to carry on after our season of leadership is completed. Your personal
succession planning efforts will speak volumes about your motives as a
leader. It is likely that anyone leading from an ego involved in the promotion
and protection of self is not going to spend much time training and
developing their potential successor. Just as avoiding or discouraging honest
feedback on a day- to-day basis is a mark of an ego-driven leader, so is failure
to develop someone to take your place. In the use of His time and efforts on
earth, Jesus modeled sacrificial passion for ensuring that His followers were
equipped to carry on the movement. He lived his legacy in intimate
relationship with those He empowered by His words and example.
Mentoring, continued
Leighton Ford in Transforming Leadership notes that “Long before modern
managers, Jesus was busy preparing people for the future. He wasn’t
aiming to pick a crown prince, but to create a successor generation. When
the time came for Him to leave, He did not put in place a crash program of
leadership development— the curriculum had been taught for three years
in a living classroom.”
Lay Leadership
How can vital congregations establish a
system that places an emphasis on
rotating lay leadership in order to involve
more people over time?
Correct Answer
• Vital congregations identify spiritual
gifts of their future leadership
through observation and through use
of the Spiritual Gifts Assessment.
Correct Answer
• Vital congregations stagger a three
year rotation of lay leaders in key
leadership positions.
Incorrect Answer
• Lay leaders in vital churches always
pick up the tab when having lunch with
the pastor!!!
Correct Answer
• In vital congregations, lay leaders
mentor their successors.
Vital churches use more contemporary music (less blended music
that includes traditional tunes) in contemporary services.
Using more contemporary music and worship helps the church connect with what
• In contemporary worship, the songs ideally reflect the current surrounding
culture. In other words, instead of an organ and choir, the music is led by a
“praise band,” which generally consists of some mixture of a drum set, guitars
(acoustic and electric), electric bass, a keyboard, and one or more singers.
Contemporary worship music has spanned across denominational lines,
blurring some of the differences between congregations. Where once
different denominations had their own hymns, with only some overlap,
today, contemporary worship services have much of the same repertoire,
regardless of denominational differences.
• The general idea behind contemporary worship music is fairly simple. If
the Church is going to connect with people, it needs to speak a language
that they can understand. It doesn’t matter how accurate the theology is
behind a church, if people can’t understand it, it won’t impact their lives.
Because of this, we should incorporate modern elements into our worship,
such as electric guitars, video presentations, and dramas to illustrate a
spiritual point. These things are meant to work together to help the
worshippers feel more engaged and connected, to their church, to their
faith, and to God.
• Because contemporary worship is primarily about musical preference, it
is hard to offer any sweeping statements about what such churches
believe. Such churches come from many different theological
backgrounds. Some are extremely conservative in their beliefs, while
others are rather liberal. Some churches that use contemporary music
are also part of the Pentecostal movement, while most are not. Some
churches come from mainline denominations, such as Methodists,
Baptists, and Presbyterians, while others are independent churches that
don’t belong to any denomination, often identifying themselves as
“Evangelical Churches.” For all of these diverse groups to share a similar
collection of songs is really quite remarkable.
The obvious strength within contemporary worship is that church
services generally do feel less foreign to newcomers, and church
members may have an easier time connecting their faith with their
lives because of this.
 Vital congregations use more contemporary
music and worship to connect with what
Incorrect Answer
• Vital churches don’t have music in
their contemporary service!!!
Correct Answer
• Using more contemporary music and
worship helps the church connect with
younger audiences who relate better
to drums, guitars and praise songs
than an organ and hymns.
Correct Answer
• Using more contemporary music and
worship helps the church connect with
those that are new to Church.
Correct Answer
• Today, contemporary music and
worship spans the denominational and
cultural spectrum while conveying the
traditional message of Christianity.
And The Winner Is…
Ephesians 1:13
13 And you also were included in
Christ when you heard the message of
truth, the gospel of your salvation.
When you believed, you were marked
in him with a seal, the promised Holy
Vital Congregations Are:
• Spirit-filled, forward-leaning
communities of believers that welcome
all people (Gal.3:28)
• Places where Disciples of Jesus Christ
are made through the power of the
Holy Spirit. (Matt. 28:18-20)
• Communities that serve like Christ
through justice and mercy ministries.
(Micah 6:8, Luke 4:17-21)
Thank YOU
Reference Section
From the web site.
An excerpt, slightly adapted, from Bishop Robert Schnase’s episcopal address at the August 2012
South Central Jurisdictional Conference of the UMC in Oklahoma City. Bishop Schnase oversees
the Missouri Conference of the UMC.
An excerpt from Jane Finley’s welcome letter to new Leadership UMC participants. Jane Finley is
the Director of Leadership UMC.
According to a statement from the website of Rush Church, a UMC congregation in Rush, NY.
From the web site
From the website
From the web site
According to an informal survey of pastors from the seven churches represented in The Blessed
Merciful Leadership UMC team.
Blanchard, Ken (2003-03-13). Servant Leader (pp. 20-21). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
From the website created by Matt Brown.