Be The Best

 by Mary C. Frances, Senior Associate Consultant



Several years ago, I was part of a team of people who led mission developer training for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ELCA). As we were making plans for an upcoming training, one of the team members said that we should show videos of the Eagles rock band as they prepare for a concert. My teammate had recently seen a documentary about the Eagles and was absolutely impressed by their commitment to excellence.  He thought that anyone in ministry would be inspired to “up their game” by the example set by the Eagles.

Fast forward to last Friday night when my husband and I attended the Eagles farewell tour called The Long Goodbye at the United Center in Chicago. I first saw the Eagles when I was – well, let’s just say it was a long time ago – but this time my colleague’s words rang in my ears, so I paid close attention to the details.  Indeed, this is a band who knows exactly who they are and what they can do, and they do with distinction. Not a detail was overlooked. The show was seamless and, I do have to say, absolutely a blast!

What does this have to do with ministry? Well, I found myself wondering how many churches know exactly who they are and what they can do, and they do it with distinction? Of course, we all WANT to know who we are. We WANT to be clear about what we can do, what is possible. And we WANT to do it with excellence. And yet, often we just don’t know where to begin.

Let me invite you and your congregation to spend some time with the Congregational Vitality Assessment.  This free online tool will guide you through questions about key areas of congregational life from worship, leadership, spiritual formation, and sustainability and more.  The results will help you define your strengths and your areas for improvement. From here you will understand what next steps you may want to take to grow stronger, connect with your community more deeply or get clearer about your vision for ministry. No matter the outcome, it’s a great starting place for seeking excellence in your context.

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