Discerning a Path for Renewal
In an ongoing search for resources to aid churches in the work of renewal, I found a work from a British author that offers a simple and useful way to reflect on the practices and life of a congregation. Robert Warren, in his book, The Healthy Churches’ Handbook, offers seven indicators of what makes for a healthy church. These seven markers emerge from his research and engagement with a number of churches throughout England, where many churches have suffered decline and are now experiencing renewal. Perhaps these seven markers would be helpful to you in your congregational context?

Here is a brief summary of what Warren learned about healthy congregations:  
1. They are energized by faith. Healthy churches are deeply aware of the presence and goodness of God. Warren declares that “faith is the fuel on which these churches run.”
2. They possess an outward focus. Healthy churches are not focused on internal matters but are fully engaged in their context and the life of their broader community. The gospel matters to the world, and these churches identify with both the joy and the pain evidenced in their contexts.
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NEWS
Ministers’ Salary Survey 2020
We need your help! If you are currently in a paid ministry position at a Church of Christ, please take a few minutes to participate in this year’s survey. Our professionally managed, annual nationwide survey gathers data on salaries, insurance coverage, vacation days and more, in an effort to support churches and ministers. All data is kept confidential and reported as averages only. Please also share this secure link with other ministers who meet this criteria. Thank you! Start survey.
Summit leadership transition
We are pleased to formally announce that David Wray (’67) and Leah (Carrington ’90) Andrews have agreed to serve as co-directors of Summit. Through its long history, this gathering has taken numerous shapes, and in recent years it has grown increasingly collaborative and diverse in its format and leadership. Leah, David and the entire Summit Leadership Planning Team partner with an array of pathway hosts, local congregations and members of the ACU community to shape conversations where life and faith converge in Christ. We invite you to join us in congratulating David and Leah for their new roles, and we hope you’ll join us Sept. 20-23 for “Blessed Are the Peacemakers: Bridging the Divides.” Read more.
Dallas/Fort Worth Equipping for Ministry lunch
Next month we will be traveling to Dallas/Fort Worth with special guest Jeff Childers (’89), who teaches Bible, Christian history and languages at ACU. Jeff will help us explore the topic “Growing Christian: The Transformative Links Between Worship, Faith, and Community.” This is a great opportunity to network with other church leaders and enjoy some great food and conversation. Thanks to Heritage Church of Christ (Keller, Texas) for graciously hosting the gathering. We hope you will join us in Dallas/Fort Worth or in our other stops in Texas this spring. Learn more. Center for the Study of Ancient Religious Texts (CSART) Our friends in CSART are hosting two public events this spring. On Feb. 4, join us for a special event featuring Christopher Hutson, who teaches biblical text classes at ACU and recently published the commentary First and Second Timothy and Titus (Baker Academic 2019). His presentation on “Spirits of Love, Temperance, and Timidity: Spiritual Warfare in the Pastoral Epistles” will examine the rhetorical context of a well-known passage and help us consider the Holy Spirit’s work in the church today. Save the date and join us March 24 for “Biblical Storytelling: Infusing Scripture into the Life of the Church.” Learn more. Becoming a new minister in a small church What does beginning a new ministry role in a small church have in common with marrying into a new family? Quite a lot, according to Wayne Hancock, who ministers at Cross Timbers Church of Christ in Stephenville, Texas. In his Mosaic article, Hancock describes the family dynamics at play in small towns, the importance of relational closeness and the joy of serving a small church. Read more.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Equipping for Ministry: Houston Ministers’ Breakfast, Jan. 27
Spirits of Love, Temperance, and Timidity: Spiritual Warfare in the Pastoral Epistles, hosted by CSART, Feb. 4
Contemplative Ministers’ Initiative Retreat, Feb. 10-13
Equipping for Ministry: DFW Ministers’ Lunch, Feb. 27
Biblical Storytelling: Infusing Scripture into the Life of the Church, hosted by CSART, March 24
Equipping for Ministry: Austin Ministers’ Lunch, March 24
Equipping for Ministry: San Antonio Ministers’ Breakfast, March 25
Ministers’ Support Network Retreat, April 2-5