EDOW Communications Manager Keely Thrall caught up with The Rev. Todd Thomas, Missioner for Revitalization, to ask him about the upcoming Teaching Tuesdays series on the Signs of Parish Vitality.
What takeaways do you hope attendees will have coming out of these sessions?
The whole process of engaging the question of parish vitality and identifying the seven Vital Signs of Parish Health has been a collaborative effort from the beginning. The Teaching Tuesdays: Signs of Parish Vitality series continues that spirit of collaboration. We learn so well from one another, both ideas and practices. Attendees will come away from each lunch hour session encouraged, inspired and energized with new perspectives on the vital signs, new resources to study and new ideas to adapt and use in our own contexts.
How does the Tending Our Soil initiative fit in with the seven Vital Signs of Parish Health?
The Tending Our Soil initiative is based on three foundations: parishes working together in cohorts to build capacities for adaptive leadership, trained coaches guiding and accompanying the parishes through the process, and a focus on the seven Vital Signs of Parish Health. The vital signs are our best vocabulary and framework for both evaluating where we are and creatively projecting where we want to be. Participating in Tending Our Soil is an amazing opportunity to dig deep into where a parish’s strengths lie within the vital signs, to identify opportunities for growth and improvement, and then to develop new ministries for growing in those areas of opportunity.
Bishop Mariann has stated she’d like each parish to choose one (maybe two) of the Vital Signs to work on first, not all seven at once. Why is it important to focus on a single sign to start with?
Using the Vital Signs of Parish Health as a self-assessment tool highlights a parish’s strengths as well as its opportunities for growth. Once a self-assessment is completed, a parish will have a better sense of where to spend its time and attention for maximum benefit. Choosing one vital sign, maybe two, further hones a parish’s strategic focus and creativity for the work ahead. Engaging the vital signs is not a quick-fix. No one expects a parish to make dramatic progress in a short amount of time, but narrowing the focus to one or two vital signs provides space for listening to where the Holy Spirit is calling a congregation, intentional prayer, strategic thinking, and innovative ideas to develop.
Teaching Tuesdays: Vital Signs of Parish Health Series
Grab your lunch and join Rev. Todd and congregational leaders from across the Diocese of Washington Tuesdays at noon, April 13 through May 25. We’ll share our stories, pool our creativity, and curate resources for how our faith communities can engage the Vital Signs of Parish Health, even in times of shift and change.
- April 13 – Mission and Vision
- April 20 – Inspiring and Capable Leadership
- April 27 – Clear Path of Discipleship
- May 4 – Faithful Financial Practices
- May 11 – Welcoming and Connecting Ministries
- May 18 – Uplifting and Inviting Worship
- May 25 – Blessing Our Community
Register for the series. Drop in when you can. Recordings and materials will be sent to all registrants.