September 28, 2010
The Lord be with you
On Wednesday, October 6, at 5:30 PM, Rev. Dr. Bill Seaman will be at Lamb of God Lutheran Church. Rev. Seaman is the Mission and Ministry Facilitator for the Southern Region of the Southeastern District and Director of Congregational Renewal. His ministry includes providing resources to congregations, professional church workers and congregational leaders in areas including evangelism, stewardship, leadership development, demographic analysis, planning, and visioning, as well as providing special programs on request in North and South Carolina. As Director of Congregational Renewal he serves all congregations in the District. He has developed renewal materials and works in partnership with the rest of the SED staff, especially the Spiritual Life Team to provide resources to all congregations seeking renewal of their ministry founded on Confessional, missional outreach.
He is coming to Lamb of God to meet with the church council, and ALL OTHER INTERESTED MEMBERS of the congregation.
Rev. Seaman has given us a list of services that the Southeastern District provides for the congregations in the District. The members of the council have reviewed the list and selected a number that we feel meet the current needs of our congregation and would fit us. The selections were sent to Rev. Seaman. He will be going over those, explaining what they are in greater detail and answering any questions we may have about them. He might also accent a few offerings that he feels would be a good fit for Lamb of God, but which did not select, perhaps because we did not fully understand what the resource offered us.
If you are not on the Church Council, you will not know what the various resources are that the Council was selecting from. The list is:
1. Support and resourcing circuit counselors
2. Support and resourcing circuit mission advocates
3. Assistance with vacancy and intentional interim pastors
4. Assistance with visioning, planning and development of congregational profiles (during vacancy and at other times)
5. Assistance with calling of graduates and workers from the field
6. Partnering with congregations and circuits for new mission starts
7. Workshops and resources offered primarily by Mission and Ministry Facilitators
- a. Evangelism, Witness and Outreach - a number of different workshops that introduce these three means of sharing the Christian faith; any one of them can be offered all day Saturday or on a Sunday afternoon. They presuppose that participants will participate in a series of follow-up Bible studies to gain skills and grow in understanding of what was presented in the workshop.
- b. Stewardship - Consecration Sunday is a program that is offered to support the congregation's annual stewardship drive and requires approximately eight weeks of time for preparation and completion. Total Life Stewardship requires a Friday evening session, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon to cover not only time, talent and treasure, but spirituality, leisure activities, relationships and many other aspects of our lives. It is not a "giving" program. There is also another workshop based on George McCalep's Faith Raising that can be used for congregation giving programs.
- c. Leadership - This is a workshop for leaders to assist in growing in leadership gifts as well as bringing members into the leadership circle through identification and recruitment.
- d. Planning and Visioning - This workshop requires at least thirty days advance preparation for prayer and data processing by the leader. It reviews the current congregational programs and community context and then proceeds, after laying a foundation, to identify core values, develop mission and vision statements, as well as goals and strategies for making the vision a reality. It requires at least one full day on a Saturday, but may also require follow-up sessions to complete the process.
- e. Constitutional review and development - Missional Constitution and Bylaws in One Day, not Two Years is the foundation for this workshop. Congregations desiring the use this process are required to purchase the book and CD from Mission Growth Publishing. A minimum of twelve members are necessary for a successful workshop. The MMF is available to lead the process. It takes a full Saturday from 8:30 AM until 5:00 PM.
- f. Staffing analysis - a staffing analysis is a time intensive exercise involving a number of days on site with congregation staff and leaders. Normally the congregation is asked to undertake the Planning and Visioning workshop as a preliminary step. The MMF will interview all existing staff and leaders as appropriate and then present recommendations in consultation with the leadership group to the congregation.
- g. Congregational Profile - The congregational profile is a standard instrument which all congregations intending to call from the field or request a candidate from the seminary are asked to complete. It helps the congregation to assess its strengths, weaknesses and needs; it assists the district president in identifying suitable candidates for the congregation; and it benefits a worker considering a call to the congregation as he or she seeks to better understand the congregation and its ministry. Completion of the congregational profile can be done at other times as well to assist the congregation in its ministry.
- h. Nine Marks of a Mission Focused Congregation - This is an evaluation instrument that is normally presented in a day long workshop with members of the congregation. It is based on the healthy church concept and seeks to identify areas of ministry on which the congregation needs to work.
- i. Twelve Keys to an Effective Church - Kenon Callahan's work helps congregations to identify external items that may be preventing growth and ministry. Completion of this process can take place over the course of a number of weeks led by the pastor or a lay leader. It focuses on building on the strengths of the congregation.
- j. Small Group Ministry - a workshop explaining small group ministry and offering a program for developing small group ministry is available.
- k. Mission planning - MMF's can assist congregations, mission committees, circuits and circuit mission advocates to analyze their areas for potential new mission starts and also to develop mission strategies for new missions. They can offer advice on mission planters and also the formation of mission teams and core groups for new missions. Most of this work will be the responsibility of the new director of mission development.
- l. Demographics - demographic studies are available through LCEF in the SED office. The MMF can help local groups analyze and understand the demographic data.
- m. Generational studies - Ministering to different age groups has become a challenge. Materials are available that can be used in presentations to congregational groups wishing to understand the challenges and opportunities of generational ministry.
- n. Discipleship - Jesus' command was to "make disciples" but what is "discipleship"? This presentation addresses discipleship and paths to discipleship as well as multiplication of disciples.
- o. Web site development - This is not intended to be a technical presentation of how to use FrontPage, Dream maker or any other web development software, but rather suggestions about what to include or not to include on congregational web sites.
- p. Spiritual life and spiritual disciplines - These workshops are offered through Rev. Art Umbach and the spiritual life team and cover a variety of spiritual disciplines and prayer forms.
- q. Spiritual warfare - The Apostle Paul tells us that we are "not fighting against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers and rulers in heavenly places." It is important for our people to be on guard against the evil one, know the resources that we have been given to fight the forces of evil and to employ those gifts on a regular basis. This workshop provides a foundation for engaging in spiritual warfare.
- r. Evolution and creation - This workshop offered by Rev. Dr. Bill Seaman looks at the evidence claiming to support the theory of evolution and evaluates it and than how the data fits the Genesis creation accounts. This presentation can be made in either a one-hour or a two-hour time frame.
- s. Theological implications of evolution - There are many who believe that God created the world using a process of evolution over a very long period of time. This presentation examines how such a view fits, or does not fit, with our Christian theology.
- t. Congregational renewal - a new process in which our district is engaging has grown out of Synod's revitalization (transformation) process for plateaued and declining congregations. We have developed our own process that we believe is totally spiritually based, recognizes the uniqueness of each congregation, does not use church growth metrics, is affordable for most congregations, and is for all congregations - not just those perceiving themselves to be in trouble.
- u. Postmodernism - We are no longer living in a "churched" culture, but a society that regards Christianity with suspicion, if not antagonism. This presentation seeks to help congregation members understand the world around them and how to begin to take steps to minister to the world outside the doors of the church.
- v. Core values - One of the questions in part four of the congregational profile asks the congregation to list its core values. Most congregations have never identified these. For those congregations wanting to determine their core values, but not wishing to do an extending planning and visioning workshop, this one to two hour process will enable members of a congregation to determine their core values.
- w. Developing a mission statement - For congregations that do not have a mission statement, this one to two hour workshop will enable a congregation to frame an initial mission statement that can be presented to the whole congregation for further refinement.
- x. Orientation for Ablaze! Covenant Congregations - This is a three hour presentation that will help any congregation seeking to be an Ablaze! Covenant Congregation or wishing to plant a new mission to understand the resources that are available and the process involved.
- y. Assimilation - While many congregations gain new members, often there are significant back door losses to the membership. This presentation addresses the issues of member attrition and ways in which to assimilate new members.
- z. Spiritual Gifts - There are many spiritual gift assessments available. At times it is helpful to have someone present the importance of and deployment of spiritual gifts, as well as the process for identifying spiritual gifts.
- aa. Financial Review - for congregations that are not able to afford an annual CPA audit, Mr. Steve Heemann has developed a financial review process that can be used in congregations that desire such a process. Either this or an audit is strongly recommended on a regular basis.
9. Development and offering of "Training Leaders for Outreach" a series of classes and workshops offered through distance learning centers and web casts
10. Mission Development Academy to train mission teams for planting new missions or to assist in congregational renewal
11. Annual congregational leadership conferences the first weekend each August and regional leadership conferences each spring
12. Scholarship support of professional church work students at Synod's colleges and universities
13. Development and support of the "Mission Vicar Program"
14. Assistance with the development of schools, school programs and accreditation
15. Working with congregations in conflict and financial crisis
16. Assisting professional church workers in crisis situations
17. Coordinating disaster response
18. Networking with workers in other districts of Synod to develop new resources and materials for congregational use
19. Sponsorship of regional and district conferences for pastors, teachers, pastors' wives, church secretaries, and other entities
20. Maintenance of a system of communication via e-mail and printed media for professional workers and lay leaders
21. Development and support of urban and ethnic ministries
22. LCEF's "Arch of Services" - contact Mr. Steve Heemann. This includes architectural consultation, capital funding, design and build, Laborers for Christ, to name a few of the services.
At this meeting we may very well make some firm selections, set dates, and basically start putting things into motion. Our general goals are to reach more people with the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, thus increasing the number of members at Lamb of God and to do a better job of retaining our membership. An expected benefit, and also a sub-goal, is to improve our fiscal position.
A light dinner will be served.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert