Pastor's Perspective

Congregational Vitality

Last year a new domestic mission team was begun to foster and nurture congregational vitality in the ELCA.  This is described as “communities of Jesus that nurture life-changing relationships with God, one another, and the world.”  Rev. Ruben Duran is leading 72 practitioners trained as facilitators for congregational development.

So what is happening on new starts in the ELCA? Seventy-six new starts were approved since 2017 and 278 have begun in the last five years.  56% of all new starts are among ethnic-multicultural communities.  18% of 2016 new starts are with ecumenical partners and 21% are with young adult-millennial leaders.  Geographically 39% of the starts are in large cities. Most are in areas with growing populations such as Florida and Texas.  Ethnically, 27% were Caucasian, 22% Hispanic, 21% multi-racial, 13% Asian and 13% African/African-American. Many of the congregations (54%) have started in high poverty and working class neighborhoods (up to $30,000 for annual incomes).

What can we do to help these newly begun congregations?  Be a prayer partner for the new starts, Mission developers, and the vitality work ahead. Also, we can share our resources to propel ELCA Congregational Vitality now by making a gift online at:

Thank you for being a partner with Good Shepherd, the Central Southern Synod in Illinois, and the ELCA in sharing God’s good news with all humanity.

                                                             — Gail Block, Mission Interpreter