Craig PedersonBy Rev. Craig Pederson, Assistant to the Bishop

During this time of year, we see an endless stream of “Best of” and “Top Ten” lists that review practically every aspect of our lives – the best doctor, dentist, burger, beer, car, microwave, movie, musical, etc.  Some of these lists are data-driven, some are the opinions of experts in the field, and some are just plain fun. best-0f-2016

Healthy, vital congregations, in my experience, often share one faithful practice; they identify their “best of” ministries through regular assessment and evaluation. They also celebrate those ministries that are making a Christ-filled impact in the lives of their members and the surrounding community. In addition, they are honest in acknowledging that some ministries may no longer be serving a meaningful purpose in terms of advancing the mission of the congregation.

This process of review and evaluation is perhaps best undertaken in two steps:

  1. Does the mission of your church still fit who God is calling you to be?
  2. Do the ministries of your church support the mission to which you are called?

Vital churches regularly review and renew their mission. Pastors and lay leaders are then bold and humble enough to say that some ministries that once held great value may no longer be needed.

If you are not doing so already, now is a good time to make your “Best of (your church name here!)__ Lutheran Church” list. Have fun with it, be graceful about it, and let it inform your planning for an even better 2017!