Bishop Daniel Arichea challenges the churches on his episcopal address to pusure vital congregations as one of the primary focus of the United Methodist Church. In line with the Four Areas of Focus that is providing “new places for new people” which will provide appropriate ministries or any vehicle to any need of the people and congregations and also with the current situation of the churches in the US which is declining that the direction of the church pursues a program of vital congregations.
Vital Congregations are described having inviting and inspiring worship; disciples (not just “members”) are engage in mission and outreach; gifted, empowered and equipped lay leadership; effective, equipped and inspired clergy leadership, has active small groups, and has strong children’s and youth ministry. This description and definition are available online or check this link http://www.umvitalcongregations.org/site/c.btJRL9NSJoL6H/b.7727161/k.BD6C/Home.htm
The bishop also gave observations, important notations and advises that congregations would become “vital congregation”. He comments that church music should be a balance of contemporary and traditional and musicians, song leaders and instrumentalists should lead the congregations with familiar music so that they may not become just performers. He also note that choir should not sing an anthem but lead the congregation in congregational singing especially of hymns.
He also emphasize the use of indigenous materials for worship as worship is defined as “celebration of life”. It means that worship experience should celebrate life of the congregation in its cultural context. The bishop encourages creativity in scriptural reading incorporating drama and others and involve the young people.
And he challenges the lay people even the church workers to be equipped and effective in their ministries. He commends the ministry of the laity in the conference for its active ministries.
It was decided in the conference to form or create a committee that will provide guidelines not just to be organized local church but also guidelines for a congregations to be a vital congregation.