Several years ago, the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference launched a "Vital Congregations" strategy with the intention of helping churches grow, not only in number, but also in vitality. The vision statement of the GNJAC is: "We see a church like Jesus Christ - taking risks and being humble, teaching and healing, saving and tending souls, leading and serving, unbound and outbound."
"We also see a Wesleyan Church - pursuing personal and social holiness, being connectional and bold, being thoughtful and inspirational, working in small groups and having a large vision, welcoming all and respecting diversity of thought, practicing the means of grace."
The Greater New Jersey Annual Conference has formed "Team Vital" to support congregations and equip their leaders to become more vital. "Team Vital" is a strategic, collaborative program that helps congregations make and employ an action plan for vitality.
The Team Vital Process: Planning for ministry is a spiritual process that engages both the leadership of the church and the congregation in prayer, biblical reflection and conversation to discern God’s vision for the church at this particular time and place. The goal of the Team Vital Process is to create a guide for ministry that will move a congregation to action in these five areas of vitality:
"Team Vital" uses these 5 markers of vitality to assess ministry fruitfulness.
WORSHIP: Inspiring worship that invites people into a deeper faith! Inspiring and life-transforming worship is: Genuine ~ Inclusive ~ Celebratory ~ Inspiring ~ Indigenous ~ Transformative! How Christians ritualize their life together shapes how they live and serve in the world. If they do it well, their living and serving will mirror the love and power of the God they have enjoyed in worship.
MAKING NEW DISCIPLES: Reaching and making new disciples! The process of taking new converts and new members, welcoming them into the family of God, and then empowering them to grow in their faith. Our spiritual progression should be: Convert ~ Discipleship ~ Leadership!
SMALL GROUPS: Engaging people to grow their faith through small groups! Small groups deepen faith, create community and grow vital congregations. Small groups are comprised of people who gather together on a regular basis with the goal of becoming more faithful disciples of Jesus Christ through a process of learning, support, accountability and service to the world! People in small groups:
- Experience deeper connection with other disciples
- Engage in intimate faith conversations
- Learn about the Scriptures and faith
- Help people test ideas as they grow in their faith
- Give people the opportunity to be supported through prayer and other caring activities
MISSION: Engaging people in missions! Matthew 28: 18-20 tells us that our mission as Christians is to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and make disciples. Your mission field might be your family, your neighbor, your community, your nation, or the world! John Wesley believed, "The World Is My Parish." God said, "Love Me and Love Your Neighbor;" it’s that simple.
GIVING: Encouraging generosity and stewardship! People give generously when they see their money is going to "Change Lives" ~ "Impact the Community" ~ and ~ "Make A Positive Difference In the World." Giving and Stewardship means more than giving money. It also means serving God with our ~Prayers ~ Presence ~ Time ~ Talents ~ as well as our Money.
Cape May United Methodist Church has begun the journey to become a more Vital Congregation. We are excited about what God is doing! We have a fresh vision of what our church can become.
- Our Team Vital has completed the training
- We have developed a Vision / Mission statement for our congregation: Welcome ~ Love ~ Serve
- We have developed our Ministry Action Plan which includes new ways to welcome, love and serve people in our community and beyond
- We are committed to "Rethink Church" and "Radical Hospitality"
- We are excited to see what God has in store for us.
- Come and See!