Photo thanks to Maryland-Delaware Synod


In August hundreds of pastors, congregational leaders, and mission developers gathered in Maryland with Directors of Evangelical Mission and other Churchwide Staff for a week of learning, support, and inspiration focused around cultivating Congregational Vitality.


In 2017 the ELCA Church Council adopted Future Directions 2025 which outlines the goals and priorities of the ELCA in the next several years.


During the process of developing Future Directions 2025, Congregational Vitality was identified as a priority.

“We aspire to have congregations whose faith shines in their relationships with God, each other and their community.”

Congregational Vitality looks a little different in each context. However in all contexts vital congregations:


  • Strengthen their relationship with God;

  • Nurture relationships; and

  • Have a strong visible presence in the community.

Photo thanks to Delaware-Maryland Synod


How these things are built and maintained looks different in each congregation and community.  While every synod has a Congregational Vitality goal, the process for working on that is different depending on context.

Although vitality is cultivated differently, there also is no need to re-invent the wheel.

Congregations and synods work together to share ideas, resources and strategies.  Ideas are “borrowed” and tweaked to work in one place, then borrowed and tweaked some more to work somewhere else.

Photo thanks to Delaware-Maryland Synod

The gathering in Baltimore was an opportunity for that kind of sharing, borrowing and tweaking.  There were workshops, inspirational messages, testimonies, and uplifting worship.

The Northeastern Iowa Synod is launching our own Cultivating Vitality Training.

We have one congregation signed up.  When we get two more congregations we will get started.

Will you be the next one to sign up?



Future Directions

Congregational Vitality

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About The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson

The Rev. Dr. Joelle Colville-Hanson has been Director for Evangelical Mission, ELCA for the Northeastern Iowa Synod since late 2013. Part of her job description is to help leaders and congregations use social media and other digital means for outreach and mission. She writes and edits this blog as well as runs the social media accounts for the synod.




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