Message from Bishop Wallace-Padgett: Healthy Churches

8/25/2015

Dear Friends,

The vision is not new to us. In fact we have been living into it as a Conference for nearly two years now. Even though it consists of only 9 words, it paints a powerful picture. “Spiritual leaders empowering life-giving congregations to transform the world.”

Although we have many life-giving congregations in North Alabama, our goal is that we will increase the number. This is why we have a Conference priority of “healthy churches."

The Church Health Team is identifying and developing resources for congregations of every size. The team, led by Rev. Dr. Robin Scott and Rev. Nancy Cole, includes members Rev. Dr. Tiwirai Kufarimai, Rev. Patsy Carlberg, Ms. Pam Townsend, Rev. Dr. Tom Smith, Rev. Henry Prater and Rev. Michael Miller.

Currently the three main areas of concentration for church health are:

The church health team has also developed the following tools for any congregations to use:

  • Church Health Assessment Tool: This one-page document is designed to help congregations self-assess their church health.
  • Characteristics of a Healthy Church: Adopted by the cabinet as the official North Alabama Conference protocol for church health, this self-assessment tool considers 15 characteristics.
  • Church Context Worksheet: This worksheet helps churches evaluate their current context in terms of 1) trends in average attendance over the past five years; 2) economic, social, demographic or cultural changes in the community; 3) age categories of attendees; 4) attrition indicator that impacts churches (formula provided on document); and 5) a rating scale on each of the 4 Conference priorities (ministry to the poor, ethnic ministries, healthy churches, and new communities of faith).

The Church Health Team is also developing tools and processes in the areas of Evangelism, Stewardship, Discipleship, Leadership, Worship and Church Administration.

I thank God for the many life-giving congregations in North Alabama. My prayer is that each year more and more of our congregations will become healthy and life-giving. As this happens, the North Alabama Conference vision will become a greater and greater reality.

As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.

Blessings,
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett


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