The Evangelical Covenant Church has been starting and strengthening churches for decades, and wonderful momentum is growing in the East Coast Conference in both of these arenas.

Photo by Mike Chu
Photo by Mike Chu

Whether planting a new congregation, or encouraging an established one, the end goal is to develop congregations that are both healthy and missional. We pray that all of our churches are growing deeper in Christ and further in mission.

Congregational Vitality has been an emphasis in our conference since 2012, when our first Director of Congregational Vitality was hired to serve our churches, pastors, and congregational leaders.

What Is Congregational Vitality?

Congregational Vitality is a result of the living God breathing new life into the heart of a congregation. Vitality is the wind of the Spirit blowing His new life in us and through us. Our role is to raise our sails and catch this wind.

Vitality is nothing less than a spiritual awakening in Christ. It is not about sustaining and maintaining; it’s about thriving, growing and depending on God to lead us deeper in Christ and further in mission.

Missiologist, David Bosch writes: “The church doesn’t have a mission, the mission has a church”. What a beautifully profound statement and wonderful reminder of why the church exists. Our hope is that this truth will be a driving emphasis in our churches, and is why we are committed to the strengthening of every congregation.

Why Are We Committed To Congregational Vitality?

  • God’s desire is for every church to be healthy and missional. To be healthy is to pursue Christ; to be missional is to pursue Christ’s priorities in the world.
  • God’s plan has established the Church as the primary vehicle for advancing His mission in the world.
  • Churches tend to lose vitality rather than gain it as time passes. It is easier to look back at the past and smile on yesterday’s accomplishments than it is to look ahead to the future and plan for tomorrow’s possibilities.
  • In vital congregations there is a greater clarity of direction and stronger intentionality of purpose.
  • Healthy churches encourage and empower their people to share their gifts both within and beyond their congregation.

Why Every Church Should Consider Vitality?

“Why should we do it? Why should we spend so much energy on something that may well disturb our contentment and place new demands on our leadership? There is only one answer. You will only do this if you want to be with Jesus Christ in the mission field of today.

If your goal is to preserve your heritage, take care of church insiders, or survive as a community institution, vitality is not for you. However, if you want to be where Jesus is, help others experience the holy, and pass the pearl of greatest worth in your life to countless people hungering for hope, then it will be worth all the effort and stress to reorient your congregational life. In the end, only the gospel matters. Everything else is just tactics.”

by Thomas Bandy

Congregational Vitality is a collaborative effort of the local church, the East Coast Conference, and the Evangelical Covenant Church- encouraging, supporting, learning and growing with one another in our shared pursuit of Christ and His priorities through His Church. As scripture reminds us, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).