In the Fall of 2014, Gobin Church began Step 1 of the Fruitful Congregations Journey. If you’ve been in worship or have read our monthly newsletter, you’ve head us talk about it. So…what is it?
The Fruitful Congregation Journey is a team-based, leadership development discovery process to help churches more effectively fulfill the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The Fruitful Congregation Journey consists of the following three steps:
- Shared Learning Experience (7 months)
- Laity track, called Lay Leadership Development (LLD)
- Pastor track, called Pastor Leadership Development (PLD)
- Consultation/Intervention Process (approximately 5 months, once scheduled)
- Implementation of Ministry Action Plan (up to 24 months)
In Step 1, the process develops a church’s leadership base, helping grow leaders and providing them with key concepts for church effectiveness.
Step 2 of the process provides a church with a Ministry Action Plan that is tailored to its unique context and that builds on the concepts introduced in Step 1.
In Step 3, with the help of a coach, the church will implement the next steps outlined in its Ministry Action Plan.
Step 1: Shared Learning Experience (PLD/LLD)
What is it? In Step 1, a church establishes a team that meets with teams from other nearby churches for seven Saturday learning sessions. This experience will help your team learn key concepts and best practices—tapping into the discoveries of other effective churches and church leaders—and then apply them in their own lives in order to develop as church leaders. As a result, your church will develop a cadre of leaders to help it more effectively carry out its mission and become more fruitful.
What churches are eligible? This particular step is designed for churches averaging 50 or more in average weekly attendance. At this time, only a limited number of churches from the Indiana Conference will be invited to participate. In 2014-2015, only around forty churches will be accepted into this process.
Where? Sessions will be held at locations throughout the state determined by the location of the participating churches. It is intended that a church will not have to travel more than an hour to attend.
The Team: A church’s team consists of its pastor and 8-15 laity (or 10% of its average weekly worship attendance for churches between 50-100). It is imperative the lead pastor and at least six laity attend all seven sessions. Pastors attend a weekday session just for pastors. Associate pastors may attend this session with the lead pastor. This session, called the Pastor Leadership Development (PLD), will be led by a trained lead pastor of a growing congregation.
The laity – which may include paid lay staff, but should include other key leaders as well—attend a Saturday session, usually the same week as the pastors’ session. These sessions, called Lay Leadership Development (LLD), are led by laity with experience in churches that have effective ministry. Pastors do not attend these sessions. Although pastors and laity meet separately, to foster open and honest sharing, both groups cover the same material.
Seven Sessions: All sessions begin at 9 am and end by 1 pm. Lunch is not a part of these sessions. Each session will consist of teaching, spiritual reflection, interaction with the ideas and concepts, and group sharing. A major focus of the Shared Learning Experience for participants is personal growth. Participants will be given time to share how their lives are being changed.
Between Sessions: Participants read a book each month pertaining to each session’s topic. Those on your church’s team (pastors and 8-15 laity) meet at least once between each session to debrief the session, discuss the readings, and to see how each person is doing at applying the concepts.
Cost? The participation fee for Step 1 is $895 per church. This includes the cost of the session facilitators and site. The participants will need to download electronically the Participants Manual for all seven sessions, as well as procure copies of the seven books used. (Note: Used books may be available for purchase or loan from other Indiana UM churches that have completed Step 1. A list of these churches is below.) A church can pay this fee in full upon registering or can pay an initial $195 non-refundable payment and be billed for the remainder in three monthly payments of $200 and one monthly payment of $100.
Limited space: Please note, there is only space for about 40 churches to participate. To secure a spot, churches must pay at least $195 of the registration fee. Once the 40 spots are filled, additional churches will need to wait till the 2015-2016 Shared Learning Experience.
Steps 2 & 3
Once a church’s pastor and lay team complete the Shared Learning Experience (Step 1), it will be eligible for steps 2 and 3 of the Fruitful Congregation Journey. It is in these steps that the focus moves from leadership development to church development, from developing leaders in your church to developing your church as a whole—applying the concepts in Step 1 within the church and identifying the areas that need focused attention in order to move your church forward to greater effectiveness and fruitfulness.
Step 2, approximately five months once scheduled, will help your church assess its strengths and weakness and provide it with a Ministry Action Plan to help your church move forward. With the help of a coach, Step 3 will help your church implement the next steps identified in Ministry Action Plan. This typically will take up to 24 months.
Cost for Steps 2 & 3: There is presently no cost to your church for Step 2. The Conference covers the $6,000-$7,000 expense. In Step 3 your church will pay its coach a monthly fee. (Note: The present coaching fee is $250 per month, plus roundtrip mileage; however, the fee may change depending on when a church enters Step 3.)
Topics and Tentative Book List for the Shared Learning Experience:
- Session 1—Beginning the Journey / Renovate or Die by Bob Farr
- Session 2—Becoming a Fruitful Church / Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results, Lovett Weems & Tom Berlin
- Session 3—Aiming Real Leaders at the Mission Field / Direct Hit by Paul Borden
- Session 4—Personal Leadership / Taking Your Church to the Next Level, byGary McIntosh
- Session 5—Focusing for Transformation / Simple Church by Thom Rainer & Eric Geiger
- Session 6—Focusing Outward / The Externally Focused Church by Rick Rusaw & Eric Swanson
- Session 7—Real Life Evangelism / Get Their Name by Doug Anderson, Bob Farr, Kay Kotan
Note: Participants are to read the first book, Renovate or Die, prior to Session One.