By Ken Rosenauer
“We’ve changed the entire narrative of congregational excellence,” said the Rev. Dr. Roger Ross.
As director of the Center for Congregational Excellence for the past year, Dr. Ross has made new places for new people his key focus. He reminded delegates that a year ago he told the Annual Conference that some churches just do better jobs than others in reaching new people.
The goal now, he explained, is to help all churches understand that they can be involved in establishing new places that will draw new people.
Five kinds of new places give churches plenty of options:
- Small groups
- Recovery ministries
- Missional communities
- New worship services
- New church or multi-site
Grants from $2,000 to $100,000 are available for each of these. Go online to www.moumethodist.org/newplacesgrants to apply.
“We want to put our money where our mouth is,” Dr. Ross said.
The need for new places and new people is vital today. He said that between 2014 and 2017 the Missouri Conference lost 2,300 people each year. However, last year the decline was only 1,400.
He believes that efforts to grow the church are best if they come from the bottom up. In other words, the local church does the best job establishing new places. This approach is organic.
“The material cannot create the spiritual,” Dr. Ross said. “Only God can do that.” It takes spiritual discernment to know how much money will fan the flames rather the smother it.
Replacing the Healthy Church Initiative is the Multiplying Kingdom Impact. This is the next generation of a transformation process designed to help churches shift from a mindset of addition to multiplication and beyond a focus on the local church to the Kingdom impact a body of believers can have on their community, region and the wider world.
Supporting all these efforts are Congregational Excellence Prayer Teams. Anyone can sign up for these at www.moumethodist.org/subscribe.
He said it is no accident that Annual Conference this year is on Pentecost weekend.
“What would it be like if we had a thousand people every day praying for multiplication of churches?” he asked.