Faithful Congregations

Charge every congregation to be faithful to its call to Christian ministry with persons inside the congregation, in the community and in the world.

1. Establish a sub-committee of the Board of Trustees that will be resourced by the Director of New Congregation Establishment and an Associate for Congregational Growth and Vitality to develop an advocacy plan to ensure the continued development of new congregations. Extend a standing invitation to the Director of New Congregation Establishment to consult with the Program Audit Standing Committee regarding new church development. Request Homeland Ministries the delegation of a staff member to resource the Program Audit Standing Committee and the Director of New Congregation Establishment in the development of strategies and recommendation to facilitate the development of new African American congregations.

2. Identify two congregations within each biennium that will start new congregations. Request that the Director of New Congregation Establishment identify potential sites for the establishment of African American new congregations. Identify the geographical areas with the most promise and identify African American congregations with viable ministries or leadership in these areas. In consultation with the Regional Minister, encourage at least 2 congregations to develop a new congregation. The goal of two new congregations will be kept before the church through announcements in Selah and presentations at meetings of Black Church Structure organizations. Progress on this ministry will be monitored by the Program Audit Committee of the Board with regular reports to be brought to the Board.

3. Identify ten congregations each biennium that require Continuous Christian Education for all members and share their models of ministry with other congregations. Request the African-American Christian Education Network to collect and present a list of ten congregations that fulfill this objective. This will be initiated at the African-American Christian Education Network pre-event to the 15th Biennial Session in Lexington, KY. Note: We need an instrument of evaluation placed in Convocation packets. Cathy Myers Wirt has special gifts in this area specializing in small group ministries for evangelism in Homeland Ministries. Progress on this ministry will be monitored by the Program Audit Committee of the Board with regular reports to be brought to the Board.

4. Document the history of eight local congregations each biennium to be shared within each of the congregations, Selah, the Biennial Session and the General Assembly. The Board of Trustees of the National Convocation shall identify through partnership with Regions and Black Church Structures those congregations whose journey of faith has been recorded and demonstrates faithfulness that would inspire other congregations. Once these congregations are identified, the Disciples Historical Society will be requested to assist in the development of the histories.

Note: Congregations that may be agents of this shared history are: Light of the World Indpls., IN; Gay-Lea-Nashville, TN; Warren Avenue-Dallas, TX; Romaine Avenue-Dallas, TX; Louden Avenue-Roanoke, VA; Piedmont, CO; Mount Olive East-Martinsville, VA; Park Avenue-Chicago, IL; Michigan Park-Washington, DC; Mississippi Boulevard-Memphis, TN; Third-Louisville, KY; Mt. Olive-Baltimore, MD. Once the histories are developed they will receive the widest publication possible. The Program Audit Standing Committee will regularly monitor this process.

5. Identify at least four of the Black church structures that will focus on the unique health needs of African Americans regarding AIDS prevention, diet, exercise and medical testing each biennium. Survey the black Church Structures to determine the most effective enhancement of African American health ministries and identify health advocates/providers in those structures that will serve as partners with the NCCC in health ministries. Identify health professionals involved in the leadership of the National Convocation who, in consultation with the National Benevolent Association, can develop and implement health ministries in at least four Black Church Structures per biennium. The Program Audit Standing Committee will monitor progress on this ministry.

6. Focus on stewardship education and increased support of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) ministries the NCCC shall:

6.1: identify 350 individuals as well as congregations and institutions that will contribute to the Black Endowment Fund within each biennium. Support the ministries of the Black Disciples Endowment Fund (BDEF) Committee. This can be done by participating in the BDEF ministry ourselves, identifying friends and acquaintances that we can suggest a visit from the Christian Church Foundation staff person and enabling, program space and time at events that NCCC coordinates for the BDEF to be presented. Celebrate the participation of congregations and individuals in the BDEF and communicate the benefit of the fund through reports from agencies that have received grants from the BDEF.

6.2: identify 100 congregations increasing giving by 10% per biennium;

6.3: identify 100 congregations increasing BMF giving by 10% per biennium;

6.4: identify 50 congregations not giving to BMF who will start each biennium;

6.5: identify 100 congregations increasing Reconciliation giving by 10% per biennium;

6.6: identify 50 congregations not giving to Reconciliation who will start each biennium;

6.7 identify 100 congregations increasing Week of Compassion giving by 10% per biennium;

6.8: identify 50 congregations not giving to Week of Compassion who will start each biennium.

The National Convocation Board of Trustees shall make request of the Director of the Reconciliation Mission to contact the presidents of Black Church Structures (BCS) and targeted Black congregations not in BCS’s in order to gather needed commitments from congregations for the increase in outreach stewardship objectives. The request shall also be for the compiling of a listing of Black Church Structure congregations and Black congregations for developing a profile for mission giving to include: congregational, BMF, Reconciliation and Week of Compassion financial giving. Have the profiles distributed at a gathering of Black Church Structure presidents and congregational pastors during either the ’99 General Assembly or the 2000 Biennial Session. These are to be shared in an informational educational context that would seriously focus on stewardship within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The educational piece (Goal#1A-4) that defines Basic Mission Finance, Reconciliation and Week of Compassion would be used in this context. The Vision Planning Standing Committee will monitor progress on these ministries.

7. Identify and prepare potential candidates for membership on boards at all manifestations of the church. Leaders developed through the implementation of the Leader Development Data Base described in the “Recruiting lay and clergy leaders from 100 congregations and additional leaders from Black Church Structures” objective will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee of the National Convocation, assessed for leadership gifts and interests and forwarded to the appropriate General Unit or region based on that gift assessment. The Vision Planning Committee of the Board of Trustees will review the work of the Nominating Committee and make appropriate interventions regarding the forwarding of the names of gifted leaders of African American congregations and Black Work Structures to General Unit and Regional Nominating Committees.

8. Identify at least ten congregations whose leaders and members participate in general, regional and area life of the church per biennium. The National Convocation shall prepare a questionnaire soliciting congregations to indicate their participation in the general, regional and area life of the church. Have the questionnaire distributed at the ’98 Biennial Session, the ’99 General Assembly, or the ’99 Black Ministers’ Retreat. Promote the participation of our congregations in the life of the general, regional and area church based on the information gleaned from the questionnaire. The Vision Planning Standing Committee will monitor this ministry.

9. Identify ten congregations that have developed effective community ministries in such areas as economic development, social and health services, housing and social justice and share these models. Request of Homeland Ministries the identification of ten congregations that are effectively ministering in area of social and economical justice and have the design of those ministries articulated in such a way that they can be shared with other congregations as models by the 2000 Biennial Session. The Vision Planning Standing Committee will monitor this ministry.

10. Encourage ten congregations to develop functional strategic linkages with global ministry partners enabling mutual sharing of ministry each biennium. Request of the Division of Overseas Ministries the identification of congregations that are effectively ministering as global partners, articulate the design of those ministries and develop means by which those ministries can be shared and become a model for other congregations. The Vision Planning Standing Committee will monitor this ministry.

11. Identify ten congregations that are doing effective family ministry and share their models of ministry with other congregations. Request of Homeland Ministries the identification of ten African American congregations that are effectively ministering to families. Articulate the models that those congregations are using and communicate those models in such a way that it may be helpful to other African American congregations. This ministry will be monitored by the Vision Planning Standing Committee.

12. Identify at least 30 congregations who will increase their youth participation in camp and conference or an effective youth development ministry each biennium. Request that Homeland Ministries identify at least thirty African American congregations that are investing their youth in camp and conference or an alternative effective youth ministry. Once the congregations are identified, determine the nature of the youth ministry in the congregations that enable this investment and share that model with other African America congregations as a means of enabling them to invest their youth in similar ministries. This ministry will be monitored by the Vision Planning Standing Committee.

13. Identify ten congregations each biennium that are engaged in an assertive and effective evangelism effort for its members and share their models of ministry with other congregations. Request of Homeland Ministries the identification of ten African American congregations that actively engage in intentional evangelism. Articulate the models that those congregations are using and communicate those models in such a way that it may be helpful to other African American congregations. This ministry will be monitored by the Vision Planning Standing Committee.