Congregational Vitality

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Vitality Check-In Call

Watch this space for news of the next Vitality call, a conversation around helping your congregation deepen its sense of vitality. Members of the vitality team will be present to talk about vitality and present ideas on ways your congregation can focus on the work of growing relationships. All are welcome as we wonder together about ways God is calling us to be church in this new day. Join us as we discover the church we are becoming.
For information contact Pastor Bryan Penman, .
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 875 4120 1562.   Passcode: SEPA

Cultivating Resiliency

“I am mindful of how many of you have expressed just how weary we are right now,” writes the Rev. Bryan Penman, co-director for evangelical mission. “And as we journey into the season of Lent with all its extra busy-ness – that this weariness might just feel overwhelming.”
“Doing this kind of work of imagining the church we are becoming – is difficult, hard, and exhausting, especially because we have no idea where we are going. And if we want to lead the church into this new post-pandemic reality, we need to be in the practice of cultivating resiliency.”
In this article Pastor Penman shares insights from Alice Updike Scannell’s Building Resilience: When There’s No Going Back to the Way Things Were,including mindfulness, flexibility, reframing, and realistic optimism. 

About Congregational Vitality and Evangelical Mission

As we discover the church we are becoming, the Vitality Team of Southeastern Pennsylvania works to cultivate communities of Jesus who nurture life-changing relationships with God, each other, and their wider community.

We aspire to have congregations that:

  • Invite and welcome all
  • Worship in Spirit and Truth
  • Show mercy, do justice, and serve all
  • Are rooted in their communities/neighborhoods
  • Share faith and tell stories
  • Grow and connect leaders
  • Embody God’s presence
  • Promote healing
  • Create change
  • Practice radical generosity in all things
  • Are grounded in hope.

“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:14-16.

As part of the work of the Vitality Team we divide our work into several categories:

  • New Missions/ New Starts
    • Helping to form and establish new congregations. Bringing together church partners to support the new ministries of these communities is critical to making sure that these new congregations start off on the right foot.
  • Strategic Ministries
    • We work with congregations that need additional resources and work in diverse areas of our synod. These congregations have a significant number of their membership made up of people whose primary language is other than English, who represents an underrepresented ethnicity or serve people living below the poverty line.
  • Anchor Church
    • We work with congregations that want to support the work of neighboring congregations to help them establish a renewed sense of vitality and stability. Anchor churches provide resources of time, talent, and treasures to support the ongoing work of vitality in the congregations.
  • Holy Innovations
    • God is doing a new thing among us and we want to support the work that you are doing to create new ways of connecting to God, each other, and your community. Contact us about proposals and ideas that you might need help or support to get off the ground.
  • Synod Vitality Strategy
    • Together as a team, we are working to create a framework to center the work of vitality in all that the synod does. We have a vision of hundreds of thriving and vital congregations building the Kingdom of God.
    • Part of this work is also Vitality Consultations and surveys to help assess where you are on the journey of vitality.
  • Collaboration
    • We can do more together than we can alone. We work with congregations to help them discover mission partners and opportunities to work together to help establish new and emerging ministries.
  • Buildings
    • Our team has resources that can help you assess and see your building as a resource for ministry. Helping to discover a ministry of place, opens the door to discover ways that you can become a hub of community activity.
  • Evangelism
    • The mission field has changed over the last 30 years and the rise of digital mediums creates wonderful opportunities for connections and innovations.
    • Evangelism is the simple act of sharing the good news of God’s love in Jesus and inviting others to trust in this love and join in God’s work.
  • Justice Work
    • Working with the Homeless and Justice network, we work to support congregations doing ministry among the most vulnerable people in our communities; the hungry, the homeless, the refugee, the immigrant, and those on the margins.
    • By partnering with ELCA World Hunger we support the work of many of our congregations working to end hunger in a variety of feeding ministries and programs.
    • In collaboration with The Lutheran Advocacy Network of Pennsylvania (LAMPa), we advocate for our faith-filled voices to be heard at local and state levels.
    • We support the ELCA’s AMMPARO (Accompanying Migrant Minors with Protection, Advocacy, Representation, and Opportunities) efforts to work with children forced to flee their communities because of complex and interrelated reasons, including chronic violence, poverty, environmental displacement, and lack of opportunities.
  • Holy Closure
    • There are times in the life of the church when a congregation comes to the point when they no longer have a viable mission and hold a congregational vote to close. The Vitality Team walks these congregations through the steps necessary to prepare for the last day of worship by celebrating the ministry of a congregation and helping the congregation do some legacy planning. We are death and resurrection people, typically in a closure the proceeds from the sale of real property cover remaining debts, establish perpetual care funds for cemeteries, and help the synod birth new ministries.
  •  Generosity
    • Working with the synod’s generosity team, we help inspire a spirit of generosity in people to support the mission of congregations and the synod by giving of their time, their talents and their treasures.
    • We offer training and resources to help congregations work to increase the giving capacity of their communities.
    • We work to equip leaders with the knowledge they need to cultivate donor relations and seek out external funding sources to support the ongoing mission of congregations.

 Our team is ready to help your congregation to be in touch with them, please contact one of our Directors of Evangelical Mission.


The Rev. Dr. Moses Suah-Dennis

Director of Evangelical Mission

Assistant to the Bishop for New Mission Starts



The Rev. Bryan Penman

Director of Evangelical Mission

Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality



Additionally, if you are interested in serving as part of the Vitality Team, we are always looking for new members to help equip our congregations with a renewed sense of vitality.