Is Your Congregation Viable or Vital?

There are at least three different possibilities for the life of a congregation:

  • Vital – A vital congregation that is one that is creating places for new people to love God and love neighbor. The ministry and impact of the congregation is expanding.
  • Viable – A viable congregation is one that continues to exist at the same ministry level and opportunities as years past.
  • Inviable – An inviable congregation is one whose financial and mission reality is not sustainable.

The goal for congregations could be to move from one level to another – inviable to viable and viable to vital. Vital congregations can look for ways to expand their ministry and help move other congregations toward vitality.

Viable or Vital: Which would you choose?

As far as congregations go:

Vital > Viable > Inviable

I would much rather lead and be part of a vital congregation than one that is simply viable.

I would much rather lead and be part of a viable congregation than one that is inviable and has not yet closed.

I believe that one of my roles as a United Methodist clergy person is to help congregations move from one to the next.

Why Numbers Matter in the UMC – Community (3 of 3)

Hartzell Memorial United Methodist Church at B...
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Vitality seems to be the talk of The United Methodist Church. From the invitation to be a Vital Congregation to tracking metrics through Vital Signs, there has been a wide variety of response to the movement to increasing the level of reporting of involvement across several areas of local churches.

Let me be clear about where I stand – tracking numbers matters for The United Methodist Church.

I certainly agree with the argument that tracking numbers isn’t the only measure of the good that is happening across the denomination. There is no way to quantify the significance of a bedside hospital visit, joy at a baptism, or life change after a mission trip. While there is no way to qualitatively measure this success in ministry, there is a way to quantitatively measure it.

If one life is changed through a service project – it makes a difference.

However if that one person is the only one that shows up each week at this regular opportunity it is a sign that things could be better. Inviting others to worship, grow, give and serve with you is part of the Christian life. Our faith is not one that only involves a connection between us and God – it is about a community and others joining us on our journey. Having others join us matters.

Why Numbers Matter in the UMC – Learning (2 of 3)

Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester, M...
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Vitality seems to be the talk of The United Methodist Church. From the invitation to be a Vital Congregation to tracking metrics through Vital Signs, there has been a wide variety of response to the movement to increasing the level of reporting of involvement across several areas of local churches.

Let me be clear about where I stand – tracking numbers matters for The United Methodist Church.

If there is a church in my district whose professions of faith or persons involved in missions is far above average – I want to know about it. I want to learn from the leaders there what is working and how I might take what they are doing and adapt it in my own setting. Tracking numbers and sharing them across the conference allows this to happen.