Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Congregational Renewal

Viability Norms
Each congregation should be able to demonstrate the ability to fulfill its purpose through these viability norms.

Congregational Assessment Matrix
Congregations are encouraged to use the Congregational Assessment Matrix in groups to get a good picture of their ministry. Download a presentation to walk through the assessment. Contact Pastor Lamont Wells, Director for Evangelical Mission, for more information.

Partnership Grants 
The synod offers grants for outreach plans, new starts, and parish renewal.

Evangelism Training
Pastor Bob Fritch runs "Evangelism 101" and "Church Marketing" workshops regularly.

Healthy Congregations
This six-part series of six-hour workshops improves church vitality by training leaders in:

a) systems thinking
b) anxiety and change
c) leadership
d relationships
e) generosity/stewardship
f) spiritual care.

See www.healthycongregations.com. Also, Pastor Kathleen Koran can help your congregation, cluster, or conference get started.

Natural Church Development
NCD is a tool for improving the quality of churches and releasing their God-given potential. Based on the experiences of 40,000 parishes on six continents, it uses universal principles to help congregations assess their work in eight ministry areas. The process usually needs at least a year to complete. Visit www.ncd-international.org. Synod-trained coaches can introduce NCD to leaders and help local teams as well.

Spiritual Gift Inventory
God has given each of us special abilities for unifying the body of Christ and building God's Kingdom. These abilities are called spiritual gifts. What are your gifts, and how will you use them?

Strategic Planning
For help as you consider a strategic planning consultation or process, contact Pastor Lamont Wells, Director for Evangelical Mission.

Total Ministry
Total Ministry is about collaborative ministry, developing and equipping teams of lay and ordained leaders to extend God’s love beyond the church. This can be done by a single congregation; a cluster of neighboring churches; or even an entire conference. It may include sharing programs, staff or other resources to undergird local ministry. See www.totalministry.net or contact Pastor Richard Hill.

Transformational Ministry
Some congregations just need some fresh ideas, while some feel stuck and want a whole new way. If you have tried programs that haven't worked; if you think a tailored approach might work better for outreach and evangelism; if you are ready to commit for the future—check out Transformational Ministry. This two-year covenant-based process leads local churches to more fully live out God's mission. It focuses on prayer, discernment, and action while seeking God’s transformations inside and out. Contact Pastor Lamont Wells, Director for Evangelical Mission, for more information.

Renewal Strategies
Congregations are increasingly exploring ways to work together for the sake of the gospel. Concerns about mission, level of ministry, stewardship, and even ongoing viability weigh heavy on the hearts of the people of God. We encourage and support congregations in discerning how God might be leading them to consider renewal through missional partnerships with other congregations and/or church related ministries. For more information, download the Renewal Strategies Brochure or contact Pastor Lamont Wells, Director for Evangelical Mission.

Leadership Development

Candidacy Committee
To explore the possibility of an ELCA vocation as an ordained pastor, deacon, or deaconess, contact the Candidacy Committee.

The Diakonia Program
The diakonia program is a two-year process of spiritual formation and theological education for baptized ELCA members or anyone who wants to study these teachings in good faith.

Mutual Ministry
The ELCA Model Constitution for Congregations clearly states that each congregation should have a mutual ministry committee. Pastor and People: Making Mutual Ministry Work is a leadership development program with reproducible tools for your council, committees, planning teams, other leadership groups, and congregation as a whole. Synod staff are available to help your congregation, cluster, or conference think about and plan for mutual ministry.

Spiritual Formation of Leaders
Please visit the Formation page.

Learning Resources

Book of Faith Initiative
Sometimes our scriptures and language of faith can be unfamiliar territory that we wish we knew better. The Book of Faith initiative invites the whole church to dig deeper into the Bible and join in conversations about it.

ELCA Social Statements
Social statements are social policy documents of our church, adopted by the ELCA Churchwide Assembly to address significant social issues. They analyze and interpret an issue, spell out basic theological and ethical perspectives related to it, and offer guidance for our church and its members.

What We Believe
What is Christianity? What do Lutherans believe? What if we don’t agree? Here you’ll find the basics, along with a glossary of terms.

Money, Finances, and Stewardship

Finance Resources for Congregations 
Helpful guidelines and links for congregational treasurers and finance committees

Financing Capital Projects
Through the Mission Investment Fund, ELCA congregations and ministries can finance capital building projects with competitively priced loans, and access building-consulting services. ELCA members, congregations and ministries can also purchase investments, earning interest at competitive rates.

Mission Support
Mission support is an offering to God to support the work of the synod and the wider church.

Stewardship and Mission Support Table
How does generosity develop among church leaders and members for the work of the congregation and wider church? How does Christ become #1 in people’s lives? This group mobilizes spiritual formation groups for lay people, trains stewardship committees, and involves pastors in synod-wise pulpit exchange.

Stewardship Resources

Administration Matters
This bimonthly e-newsletter for ELCA congregational and synodical leaders addresses common, practical issues including finance, governance, risk management, tax, legal concerns and topics of interest about day to day operations and management in church settings.

Youth Ministry

Practice Discipleship Initiative
Training resources for congregations in their faith formation work with young people

Reading List
Recommended books to help you think about youth culture and the church in the 21st century

Online helps for children, youth, and family ministry

Faith Resources
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