Bishop's Blast February 2022
Introducing the Initiative for Ministry Development!
I can’t tell you how many times over the years I have heard lay leaders and also pastors ask what the District can do for congregations to help them plan and develop their congregational ministries. It usually goes something like this, “Is the District doing anything to help congregations…” and then comes the litany of needs according to the unique situation of the congregation:
Over the years, in various ways, the District has addressed some of these needs. But now the District is breaking out a comprehensive endeavor to help congregations develop their ministry plans. The emphasis behind this endeavor is that congregations are the way that God has chosen to work and the District will seek to motivate, educate and equip congregations for that work.
This endeavor is called the Initiative for Ministry Development. It features a number of facets addressing a wide range of ministry areas in your congregation including:
We will be rolling out the various facets of the Initiative for Ministry Development over the next three years. The first facet to be offered is the Small Church Clarity. Allow me to unpack this training opportunity.
Small Church Clarity is the entry point into the Initiative for Ministry Development for many congregations. Specifically, it is meant for smaller congregations with limited resources. After completing Small Church Clarity, these congregations are prepared to enter into the NJDU (along with other more developed congregations) for further ministry plan development if they so desire.
Small Church Clarity is a five-month, four session educational experience featuring a seminar/workshop format. Congregations similar in makeup to themselves will gather together to learn, share, and develop their ministry. Since the leadership from a number of congregations will be participating, leaders can learn from and be stimulated by one another. We are eager to see ideas shared, imaginations expanded, and friendships created.
The cycle of workshops is as follows:
1. Visioning, Barriers, and Challenges
2. Ministry Planning 1 and Campus Planning Brief
3. Ministry Planning 2 and Financial Planning
4. Master Plan and Communication
The seminar/workshops will be held on Sunday afternoons 1:30 – 4:00 pm April 10th, May 15th, July 17th, and August 14th. The Initiative for Ministry Development is a partnership between the NJ District and LCEF so the sessions will be led by LCEF Vice President for Ministry Solutions, Rev. Billy Brath. Billy has been an incredible blessing as together we have developed and introduced this Initiative! I believe you will find him to be a blessing and welcome resource as well.
Small Church Clarity will be offered several times over the three years and in various sections of the state. This first cycle will serve smaller congregations along the I-80 Corridor and participation will be by invitation. All congregations will be able to participate in either Small Church Clarity or NJDU at some point but because space is limited there will be a participation cap for each offering. While we understand that schedules differ, we do recommend that you try to participate when invited. To wait for a later offering may mean longer drive times for your participants.
Larger congregations for whom Small Church Clarity is not a good fit can look forward to being invited to NJDU. We anticipate the first offering of NJDU to start in September. NJDU picks up where Small Church Clarity leaves off. The first session helps congregations review and evaluate their master plan and then in future sessions move into leadership training, communications design, worship and discipleship development, and community outreach. You will hear more about NJDU in the future.
A final resource for congregations choosing to participate is that a ministry coach will be made available to them. These ministry coaches will not provide answers for congregations. It will be up to each congregation, in conjunction with the educational opportunities and sharing with other congregational leaders, to develop their own ministry plans. However, the coach will help congregations stay on track and work through barriers and challenges. Having such an advocate in ministry planning and execution can help congregations take full benefit from participation in Small Church Clarity or NJDU.
I hope you can see that I am very excited about this Initiative! I hope that this article has spurred your interest and helped you to see some new possibilities for your congregation. The NJ District wants to motivate, educate, and equip you to be a faithful and fruitful congregation. Will you please talk with your Pastor and fellow congregational leaders about participating in the Initiative for Ministry Development and specifically Small Church Clarity? If you have questions I am happy to explain further this empowering offering. I hope to see you at one of our Initiative for Ministry Development events soon.
God bless you,