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Welcome to the VITALITY Resource page!

This page will grow as we develop and live into our commitment to vitality throughout the Florida-Bahamas Synod.

What is “Congregational Vitality”?

Congregational vitality is an intentional and informed process by which congregations can creatively pursue the future that God has planned for them.  It begins with an ancient prayer practice by which to encounter God’s Dreams for the immediate future.  It culminates with an awareness of the design by which God’s Dreams come true and an action plan to make it so.  In between is a disciples journey to build confidence, creativity, and character for the community called “church”.


Vitality Training Events/Retreats

There are a series of training events around the synod for congregations and leaders to learn more about this dynamic journey and discern whether they might be being called to engage it in their context.  If your conference already held a training event/retreat or you would like more information about this process, please contact your DEM (North:; South:

The Vitality Process Includes:

  • a focus on Centering/contemplative prayer as lifestyle rather than exercise;
  • learning cohorts to encourage and strengthen leaders;
  • guided learning through readings, presentations, and conversations;
  • all levels of leadership walking the same path, encountering the same God


Over a period of 12 months, your congregation explores new understandings of themselves, including:

  • Spiritual life cycle of congregations
  • centering/contemplative prayer
  • generative hospitality
  • discipleship and faith formation
  • strategies for expressive worship
  • reverse evangelism
  • demographics and community organizing
  • anxiety and fear as motivators for spiritual prosperity
  • action plans reflecting the nature of God’s Kingdom reality
  • how God cultivates responsiveness
  • and much more…

Our Congregation wants to engage the Vitality Process.  Where do we start?

The first step in the Vitality Process is an intentional, dedicated season of prayer and intentionally listening to God as a community.  As a congregation begins engaging in centering prayer, they may experience an increased awareness to the movement of the Spirit within and around them.  The praying congregation also begins a process of reflecting on hospitality and invitation, and prepares itself to receive visitors and insight from others.  Coaching calls, connecting with other congregations engaging this process, and additional training events with the DEMs will continue to be part of the process as congregations discover together God’s dreams for them.


Video Resources for Engaging Congregational Vitality

Rob Bell reflects on ‘the song’ and considers what it means to be ‘in tune with the song’.

What pre-conceptions about people keep you from inviting them to church?

The Rev. Ruben Duran, ELCA representative, gives a presentation at the North Carolina Synod Assembly on Congregational Vitality from an ELCA perspective.

Additional Resources


  • Into the Silent Land, by Martin Laird
  • Unwelcome: 50 Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Visitors, by Jonathan Malm
  • Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach, by Peter Steinke


Web sites

Congregational Vitality Survey web site and related resources:

  • this web site introduces the congregational vitality survey and provides some additional resources for congregations who have taken the survey and are discerning a way forward.


  • this web site allows you to learn about your community through a variety of demographic reports. Click HERE to find out how to log in and navigate MissionInsite.

Contemplative Outreach:

  • this web site gives more information, tools, and resources around centering/contemplative prayer


Blog Articles

Finding God’s Will in Community: Exploring a Process for Corporate Leadership Discernment, by Ruth Haley Barton. In this blog post, Barton explores the role of leaders to discern together God’s vision for the way forward.