Fruitful Congregations

Growing in fruitfulness in changing and challenging times for the church

 

 

A vision for being a fruitful congregation

In these changing and challenging times for the church, we often find ourselves bewildered by what it means to exercise a fruitful life and witness in our congregation. We aren't where we where and we aren't quite sure where things are going. In this uncomfortable in-between moment, it is easy to be seduced by the hype of worldly visions of man centred success, or to lose the hope that God can be at work among us. So what would a vision of genuine fruitfulness actually look like? Perhaps it might be captured in the following way.
 
More than merely faithfulness to the way we have always done things;
often less than success in the eyes of a superficial world;
but always the growth of a Kingdom that is not of this world.

Looking for fruitfulness

The Growing in Fruitfulness materials offer congregations of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland a simple way to reflect on their life and witness together and begin to discern and discuss:

  • What God is doing among them
  • Which areas of ministry and mission show signs of fruitfulness
  • Where there are signs of unfruitfulness
  • Priorities areas for the next season of their life together

A dual focus on Scripture and our congregation's life and witness today

Flexible Bible teaching outlines from Jesus' teaching on the vine and the branches in John chapter 15, offer the possibility of forming the basis of a preaching, bible study, midweek or small group series. Resources for prayer can be used individually by the whole congregation, or when they come together to pray. In this way, Growing in Fruitfulness fits naturally into the familiar rhythms of church life, rather than needing to become an extra for already busy church members.
 
A Biblical reflection on I Corinthians chapter 3, becomes a way in to using a simple, one session, tool which offers the framework to engage leaders, small groups or the whole congregation to reflect together on which of the following areas of church life are their greatest areas of fruitfulness and/or unfruitfulness:

  • Grasp of God's purposes for the church
  • Engagement in local and global mission
  • Shared community life
  • A vision of following Jesus in every area of life
  • Forward looking direction and leadership
  • A church life centred on encounter with God

The outcome of this process should offer pointers towards which areas of church life are particular priorities for attention. Going forward, that allows for specific focus of development of congregational ministry and mission, rather than becoming overwhelmed by attempting to do work on every area at once.

Seeing what it might look like in your congregation's setting

The materials offer a three season process:

  • seeding the vision of being a fruitful congregation through Bible teaching
  • ripening the vision by choosing two areas of church life on which to focus development for the next period
  • harvesting the fruit of the exercise by actually implementing new habits and ways of being the people of God together

In every season, prayer resources water the process in intercession.

Congregations need not be tied to this process. All the resources are available on the PCI website in fully flexible downloads. Deliberately provided in Word format, they can be changed, mixed and matched or locally branded with your congregational logo, so that they can be repackaged as best suits each congregation's circumstances. The process is yours to grow - knowing, planning and pacing your particular congregation’s journey to greater fruitfulness.

If you would like help in thinking further about using the material in your congregation, or to find out more about what support and assistance in doing so is available, contact Rev. David Thompson by email: clw@presbyterianireland.org or telephone: +44 (0)28 9032 2284
 

Growing in Fruitfulness Introductory Brochure

Download the Growing in Fruitfulness Introduction Brochure

Download the Growing in Fruitfulness Introductory PowerPoint Presentation


Growing in Fruitfulness Launch Material

This material can be used as a sermon outline or in Midweek or Home Bible Study settings.  It offers a way of introducing the vision of fruitfulness as a way of the congregation viewing their life and witness by unpacking and applying Jesus’ teaching in John 15 v.1-17. 

Download the Growing in Fruitfulness Launch Material

Download the Growing in Fruitfulness Launch Material PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations ‘Prune’ (v.2)

Fruitful congregations are led to lean forward into the future

Download Fruitful congregations ‘Prune’ (v.2)

Download Fruitful congregations 'Prune' PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations ‘Remain’ (vv. 3 & 4)

Fruitful congregations place encounter with the Living God at the centre of their life

Download Fruitful congregations ‘Remain’ (vv. 3 & 4)

Download Fruitful congregations 'Remain' PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations ‘Show’ (vv. 7-11)

Fruitful congregations move the vision of membership from belonging to church, to longing to be followers of Christ in every aspect of life

Download Fruitful congregations ‘Show’ (vv. 7-11)

Download Fruitful congregation 'Show' PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations ‘Love’ (vv. 12-14)

Fruitful congregations develop their life as a community of God’s people

Download Fruitful congregations 'Love' (vv.12-14)

Download Fruitful congregations 'Love' PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations 'Learn' (v.15)

Fruitful congregations are shaped by understanding their life and witness as part of God’s unfolding story of redemption

Download Fruitful congregations 'Learn' (v.15)

Download Fruitful congregations 'Learn' PowerPoint Presentation


Fruitful congregations 'Go' (vv. 16 & 17)

Fruitful congregations make an impression for God locally and globally through outreach and involvement in His wider activity in the world

Download Fruitful congregations 'Go' (vv. 16 & 17)

Download Fruitful congregations 'Go' PowerPoint Presentation


Growing in Fruitfulness – Season Two

Download Season Two Equipping Evening Handout

Download Season Two Equipping Evening PowerPoint


Download Season Two Fruitful Congregation Prayer


Download Season Two Flexible Launch Material

Download Season Two Flexible Launch Material PowerPoint


Download Season Two Introducing the Hexagons Handout

 Download Season Two Introducing the Hexagons PowerPoint


 Download Season Two The Three Options for Choosing Priorities

Download Option 1 Photocopiable Fruitful Congregation Hexagons

Download Option 1 Photocopiable Unfruitful Congregation Hexagons

Download Option 2 Photocopiable Headers Fruitful Congregation Hexagons


Season Three

 Download CCLW Staff Contacts

 


Fruitful Congregations

28-Day Prayer Journey

A new way of stimulating and gathering prayer for every aspect of congregational life

Download a PDF of the Fruitful Congregations prayer journey

 

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