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Center for Renewal

Resources worth sharing

Equipping Pastors Interim Report
What does it mean to be pastors who see their role as equipping members for ministry in daily life? How is that different from what most pastors were trained to be and do? What implications does this hold for program, staff, structure, and day-to-day ministry? How does one shift from being a ‘pastoral’ or ‘program’ pastor to being an equipping pastor? How does a leader foster a community that equips people for ministry—not just in the church, but in the world? 

These are questions that the Equipping Pastors Conversations project seeks to answer.

In the fall of 2010, the Center for Renewal held eleven conversations across southeastern Iowa. Over 50 pastors participated in these conversations. We have produced an interim report out of those conversations. (Since the report was written, the conversations have expanded to include over 100 pastors in seven denominations.) The conversations showed us that pastors are intensely interested in being equipping pastors, but the pastors indicated they are unsure about how to do that. The pastors reported (with remarkable clarity) systemic blocks that keep them from fulfilling what they consider to an integral part of their call. The pastors and the members they work with both demonstrate considerable confusion about what ministry for the laity really is. 

The Equipping Pastors report is available for use in congregations. This is an interim report; our hope is that leaders will extend this conversation into their congregations, seek answers to the opening questions and then report back to us so that we can continue to grow in our understanding and support of equipping pastors.

Click here to view the CFR blog.

In order to facilitate this, the interim report is available to be downloaded here.

A study guide to aid the conversation in congregations can be downloaded here.

A longer version of the report that includes an annotated bibliography for the books used in the conversations last fall is available here.

The three documents above are in PDF format, in a single-page layout. If you have a fully capable copier, it should be able to "assemble" the individual pages into a booklet format, print it double-sided, folded and stapled. If you don't have a copier that will do that, the three links below are the same documents, laid out in booklet form. Print these to 8.5x14" paper, double-sided, then fold and staple them.

Links to: EP Report short_booklet.pdf  EP-study guide_booklet.pdf  EP Report full_booklet.pdf

If you need an additional copy of the report form (included in the study guide), you can download a Microsoft Word version of it here.

Conversation Starters
The Center for Renewal defines renewal as an ongoing conversion of the church through which we rediscover the ability to discern, proclaim and participate in God’s redemptive mission in the world. Our research indicates that congregations have lost their way largely because they have lost contact with the God who calls them into mission. Our conviction is that conversion can and will come through conversation. In fact, it has become evident that the most important thing congregational leaders can do at this point in time is to open ourselves and our congregations to ‘holy conversation’ about our context, call and gifts. Without such conversation, we are more likely to repeat the failures of the past than to find a renewed sense of purpose.

To facilitate such conversation, we have developed a series of Conversation Starters that are clustered around the three verbs: Discern, Proclaim, and Participate. Congregations can use one or more of the conversations to address the topics that are most pertinent to their life and ministry at this point in time.

Download a PDF of the introduction here. Read the descriptions of each of the 17 conversation starters, then write Dwight DuBois at the Center for Renewal. He will send a PDF of the conversation starter(s) you request.

Needs Assessment Report
As a result of Pastor DuBois' visits to over 100 congregations in the Southeastern Iowa Synod, a Needs Assessment Report was written and is available. The report is in the form of a six-session study for councils, visioning teams, and adult forums. It includes a leader's guide, complete with scriptural passages, prayers, and discussion questions. Click here to download a pdf copy of the report that prints 8.5 x 11 paper. (You can 3-hole punch this and/or hand out the sessions one at a time.) If you would like to download a pdf copy that will print 8.5 x 14 pages in booklet format click here. To download the leader's guide, click here. In order to use either of the last two files, you will need to print it on 8.5x14" paper, front and back, then fold the sheets and saddle staple them to form a booklet.

Missional Bible Study
The good folks in the Gospel and Our Culture Network have produced a simple method for encountering scripture in a new, relational, and transformative way. Instead of relying on an "expert in the room" to illuminate the text, these five questions enable groups to open up the scriptures for themselves. Instead of asking questions like "What did this mean in Jesus' time?" this process seeks illumination for our own time. Download this file here and let the discovery begin. No instructions necessary, though it would be worth passing along that not all questions will apply to every text or to every engagement with scripture.

Grace Institute at Luther College
Individuals interested in growing in the use of the ancient practices of the church should click here for a spiritual formation program designed to immerse participants in core Christian spiritual practices. Because this is not set up to be a one-to-one situation, the same participants come together four times a year for two years. Participants sign up for all eight sessions.

Personal Spiritual Discernment
Are you wondering what God's longing is for you in the new year? Are you facing a big decision? Are you feeling a nudging from God and don't know what it means? This class based on Living into the Answers: A Workbook for Personal Spiritual Discernment will help you explore some these questions. The class offers exercises, safe on-line discussions with other participants and one-on-one interaction with Judith and Val.  Check the link out for more information!
Using spiritual gifts in your congregation
Download the pdf of an article from the ELCA website about what spiritual gifts are and how to incorporate them into your congregation’s ministry.  (click here)

If you are interested in a spiritual gifts assessment tool, click here.

Who Is Robert? And why do we follow his rules?
Martin B. Copenhaver recounts the history of Robert's Rules of Order: They are the result of one man's experience of an almost universal phenomenon—frustration with a church meeting. In 1876 Henry Robert published the first edition of Robert's Rules of Order, and today the meetings of many congregations, as well as other "deliberative assemblies," are governed by these rules. To be sure, most often the result is more orderly and efficient meetings than we might have otherwise. But Robert's Rules can create other problems. But Robert's Rules, while they bring order, also have a downside. The emphasis is on the individual. There are clear winners and losers. The process is slanted in favor of those who know the rules and can manipulate them. Is there a better way to make decisions in a church?

Read Copenhaver's full article: "Who Is Robert? And Why Do We Follow His Rules, Anyway?" 
Sources for Continuing Education
One of the questions Pastor DuBois asked of the 100+ rostered leaders that he visited was. "Where do you turn for insight and inspiration?"  Open or download the attached file to read a summary of the responses.  The responses are grouped into categories such as Continuing Education events, Colleague/Peer groups, Personal Practices. Check out where people are finding insight and inspiration.  You might just find something worth checking out.