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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Goal 4: The Healthy Congregation Model Effectively Deployed in Every Congregation

As a former pastor, I am quite familiar with the experience of not being able to see the congregational forest for the trees. Leading a congregation is a busy task, and it is easy to get so involved in the day-to-day issues and challenges that you can no longer clearly see the big picture. The metaphor that comes to mind is the saying that, “When you are up to your ears in alligators, it is hard to remember that you really came in here to drain the swamp!” A proliferation of alligators is not conducive to effective swamp draining or pastoring.

Add to this the fact that our pastors and leadership teams are all bi-vocational volunteers, and it is easy to see why a clear, simple model of operation is important. Among other benefits, it helps us remember exactly what we have to offer the world, and what our focus needs to be.

Community of Christ has been working with the Healthy Congregation Model for at least five years, but many people are still not familiar with it. The graphic at the top of this page may help us understand it.

A very quick explanation is that the Community of Christ is built from the bottom up on God’s Generous Grace, the Christian Tradition, and on Community of Christ Tradition. It is the Witness of Jesus Christ and the Building of Community that provides structure and supports Peace, Reconciliation, and Healing of the Spirit; the ministry the church offers the larger community. The diagram further says there are three types of ministry we engage in: Witnessing/Inviting, Gathering, and Sending/Serving. A healthy congregation will have a balance of all three. The model says that is what we do, and that is all we do.

This does not mean that every congregation will be the same. Every congregation will respond to God’s Generous Grace in a slightly different manner. They will live out the mission to which they are called according to God’s gifts to them and the leading of God’s Spirit in their midst. Each congregation will respond to the needs of the larger community in which they find themselves, and in that way, bring the Peace of Jesus Christ to those they meet. The fact that people need that peace is the very reason we need this goal.

Some days it feels to me that having the model effectively deployed in every one of our CEM congregations is an impossible task. “What was I thinking?” I ask myself. When I think that way, I realize I have gotten too close to the alligators again. I need to step back and look for ways we can do this. That is what we need to do, one congregation at a time.

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