Checking Vital Signs
Throughout the life of every congregation, we should periodically pause and ask ourselves:
- Are we being obedient to God’s call for our church?
- Are we willing to reach our full potential for God?
These questions are pertinent to all churches in various stages of our ministries. And yet, at certain points in the life of many congregations, there comes a critical time when we need to assess how, and even if, we are able and willing to move boldly forward in fulfilling God’s ministry through our church.
Within the United Methodist Church, The Book of Discipline offers us a process to be followed to address these critical questions. Appendix A in this workbook contains paragraph 213 of The Book of Discipline as well as other applicable paragraphs related to the assessment of local church potential.
Although paragraph 213 outlines what we need to follow, we may struggle in knowing how to apply this process within our own local church setting. After all, this should not be encountered as a dry, lifeless decision but rather as a spirit-breathed process to discern how new life can enter our congregations. Additionally, many of us are acutely aware that such a process can carry much weight in determining how we should function as a church, not only within a system, but more importantly in ministry to our world.
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