Envisioning Life Together: A Simple Tool for your Congregation

If you ask a member of the congregation for a picture of living life together, could they describe the picture? Would they envision that life together in a way that is compelling and appealing? There is so much information bombarding people that it’s hard for them to grasp what our congregations are about and what it looks like to do life together.

How do you help your congregation see your life and future together? 

A straightforward way is creating a “Life Together” picture that can be shared with everyone. This picture includes essential elements such as mission, vision, values, goals, and congregational practices. When you bring all of these together, your congregation can envision life together. 

The example below uses words, but for a true picture, gather your artists and have them translate the words into pictures!

We invite you to create your congregation’s “Life Together” picture. Send it to us at info@vibrantcongregations.org. Let other people see how this can work in varied contexts.

Shalom Church

Our Life Together

Mission

We are being formed into a congregation that is a picture, foretaste, and ambassador of God’s shalom rooted in Jesus 

Vision

A Spirit-empowered congregation that lives for God’s glory, by being a picture, foretaste and ambassador of God’s shalom rooted in Jesus

Context

We live our vision and mission in thankfulness for God’s grace, by the Spirit’s powerful action, for God’s glory, and through the church

Motto

Giving a taste of shalom…for God’s Glory

Five Values

  • God’s Glory
  • Whole Life Discipleship
  • Spiritual Progress
  • Undivided Allegiance 
  • Hospitality

Five Loves

  • We Love God
  • We Love our Neighbors 
  • We love God’s Story (the Bible)
  • We love the Church
  • We Love the Sabbath

Five Foundations

  • Jesus Christ
  • Scripture
  • Ecumenical Creeds
  • Reformed Confessions
  • Reformed Theology

Five Year God Sized Goals 

    • 70% of people age 12 and above will be trained and living out being fruitful on their frontline (the place God has put them to bring influence)
    • As a community we will be involved in bringing justice to 4 areas—following the model of Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
    • As a community we will be involved in ministries of mercy in 4 areas—following the model of Jerusalem, Judaea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth
    • 75% of our members will pursue walking humbly with God by engaging in word and sacrament, participating in the spiritual disciplines and mentoring.
    • 15 persons each year are received through evangelism
    • 5 evangelistic toe-holds exist in our community
    • 30% of church attendees are 18 years or younger
    • 25% of our members will be on a leadership track

This Year’s Goals (Annual actionable steps):

      • A new whole life discipleship pathway is built and brought into the life of the congregation
        • The Congregation reads Imagine Church 
      • We connect with and find a way to serve in one local agency/group that is pursuing justice
      • We connect with and find a way to serve in one national group that is doing mercy in the world
      • We join the Reformed Church in America’s Renovation Project to build Spiritual disciples into our everyday life
      • We join the Christian Reformed Church’s Thriving Congregations to join leaders and gain a common language around ministry.
      • We move from a building centered focus to a neighborhood focus to reach our community
      • We implement 4 ways to enter into the digital world to serve and disciple people.

Five Practices (How members are strengthened to be and live out being a disciple):

  • Praying the Psalms
    • Each day we pray a Psalm bringing us into a rhythm of praise, lament, and hope.
  • Praying the Lord’s Prayer
    • Each day we pray the Lord’s prayer that forms us as a community (the prayer is plural), connects us to the worldwide church, and helps us see God’s vision of shalom.
  • Perceiving the Ten Commandments
    • Each day we review one of the ten commandments (using the Heidelberg Catechism) and see in them God’s picture of a flourishing community
  • Perceiving the Apostles’ Creed
    • Each day we see the Apostles’ Creed linking ourselves to Christians around the world, being reminded of the center of our faith, and God’s vision of how we live our faith
  • Promoting God’s Story
    • Each day we live as ambassadors of God’s story in word and deed by
        • Being a messenger of the gospel
        • Modeling godly character
        • Molding godly culture in our workplace, community and home
        • Ministering grace and love
        • Finding ways to pursue truth and justice
        • Doing good work