Revitalizing congregational life
Gene Wilson Aulenbach
As we minister in the local church, we are constantly faced with its challenges. Meetings, counseling, “oiling,” sermon preparation are an ever-present drain on time and talent. But to add to the challenge, membership roles and interest in the church seem to lessen as the “job of the ministry” demands another day in the “eight day” week. How do we spark enthusiasm? How do we overcome the apathy that surrounds the church? In the past two and a half years we at Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ have been involved in a process of “revitalizing congregational life.” As a result, our participation in worship over the past year has increased over 30%. Our program of Christian Education has experienced the same growth. In fact, there is a whole new attitude toward the church evolving as a result of this process. It is the purpose of this paper to explain the model we used in this revitalization in the hopes that other churches might experience a similar spark… the same excitement. Chapter 2 looks at its organizational design. Chapter 3 explains the attitudinal survey which receives its correction in chapter 4, the demographic survey. Chapter 5 describes a congregational survey which is designed to elicit the ideas of the people, and chapter 6, goal setting, follows directly from those ideas. Chapter 7 reviews the validation of this project by a trained interviewer to determine whether or not the process has been the major cause of growth and revitalization in the congregation.