Invited to Do Less
Beloved in Christ,
As you know, one of our four diocesan priorities is congregational vitality. In my experience, vitality has very little to do with the number of people engaged in the life and ministry of a local congregation. Throughout my ministry, I’ve experienced incredibly vital congregations with just a few members, and very large congregations that aren’t particularly vital. I’m sure you have, too.
For me, vitality emerges from the way a congregation of any size, any context, or any ministry model focuses on the basics of what it means to follow Jesus together: regular prayer both in public and private, sharing our lives deeply with each other, and forming community with the poor and marginalized in our neighborhoods. In these days, when pandemic living continues to confront us with so much complexity, I wonder if we can imagine vitality as returning to a few simple and basic practices. I wonder if, in these days of uncertainty, we are being invited by God to do less, not more, as communities of faith.
I’m excited to continue this conversation at this Thursday’s BISHOPx forum, where will be joined by Dr. Sandra Montes, Dean of the Chapel at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Dr. Montes’ most recent book, Becoming REAL and Thriving in Ministry, offers a similar approach based on her own experience of cultivating congregational vitality as a lay minister in a variety of settings in her life. It’s a wonderful account written by an important voice in the life of our church. I hope you’ll join us as we continue our journey of learning and growth together.
Grace and Peace,
The Right Reverend Craig Loya
Episcopal Church in Minnesota