Hearing Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders say things like “we cannot fail at this initiative,” or “this initiative might be a small part of the next Great Awakening we feel like we’re in,” will do that to a person she says.
For 10 months, Threadgill worked with Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministries acting director Ray Jones on a Vital Congregations revitalization manual. Finally, she is able to see her work on the project, begin to take life.
“There were days I was terrified,” she says, “that nothing I did, would help our congregations.”
But when Threadgill, associate for vital congregations in the Presbyterian Mission Agency, introduced the new initiative at Newark and Trinity presbyteries, she heard and saw something else. Pastors being honest, talking about hopes that this initiative would help churches in their presbytery become more trusting of one another.
“They want to move from mistrust to caring relationships,” says Threadgill, “so that when people hear about the presbytery’s churches, they will think of something other than turmoil and a struggling past.”
Caring relationships happens to be one of the seven marks of vital congregations which are a key part of the revitalization. The other marks are:
- lifelong discipleship
- intentional evangelism
- outward incarnational focused (on God coming to be with us in Jesus Christ),
- empower servant leadership
- spirit inspired worship
- ecclesial health