As a means of “holistic renewal,” Transformational Ministry 2.0: Yet Another Path (TM 2.0) is a central part of ELCA efforts to help congregations and synods look toward renewed or sustained vitality.

Neil Harrison, ELCA program director for congregational renewal, said TM 2.0 applies to every congregation.

“Congregations that are not working on their vitality will soon be in decline,” he said.

TM 2.0 requires internal and external awareness. “It’s a missional and spiritual discernment journey that engages principles, practices and processes over time [and] helps the congregation live into being the church within its community and in the world,” Harrison said.

A director for evangelical mission (DEM) accompanies congregations—DEMs train in TM 2.0 principles, working at the synod level.

During TM 2.0, everyone leads and listens, Harrison said. Pastors and congregation members are equally important. “We’re all called to be disciple-leaders,” he said.

In TM 2.0, congregational teams meet quarterly for two to three years with the goal of helping congregations work independently during the decade it can take for transformation to transpire.

TM 2.0 is “adaptive as well as technical,” and some goals are common among diverse teams, Harrison said.

“Every person is a missionary, every pastor is a mission director and every community is a mission field,” Harrison said, adding that each is “a partner in God’s restorative, redeeming mission in the world.”

Steps toward a congregational mission plan

Identity:

TM 2.0 teams pray, read the Bible and listen intentionally, determining who they are at this moment in time.

Individual and congregational strengths emerge, and the congregations’ trained Transformational Ministry Team helps members cope with grief or uncertainty arising from change.

Context:

“You have to be in relationship with your neighbors across the street,” Harrison said.

By examining one’s community—each place within several miles of one’s congregation—TM 2.0 teams learn alongside other community leaders.

Purpose:

Where identity and context intersect, Harrison said, congregations discern their purpose:  “What are the hopes, needs and dreams of that community? What are the gifts and assets of your congregation, and how do they come together?”

In a long-term and life-giving process, TM 2.0 teams engage the congregation to join their community in everyday evangelism and addressing root causes of social challenges.

Find your synod DEM and learn more about congregational vitality.

Rachel Hindery
Rachel K. Hindery is a freelance reporter and a member of Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Ill.

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