Thinking about, planning, or implementing a congregational partnership? On this page, you’ll find a variety of resources, including Bible studies, checklists, models, assessment tools, and sample documents, designed to help you work through the process. If you have ideas for future additions, please let us know!
A good place to start: “The Partnership Planning Process”
The Core Library
The Synod’s re:Vitality program, which focuses on strengthening a congregation’s ability to invite, welcome, and receive people, begins with a no-cost guided self-assessment that helps a congregation determine its “stage of vitality.” Churches can then implement training modules (a combination of videos and practical exercises) that best suit their needs. “Connect to Disciple,” the first module, focuses on effective outreach.
MissionInsite reports are FREE demographic studies sponsored by LCEF and available through the District. These reports provide an overview of a community based on population trends, economic factors, attitudes of residents, and more. Congregations can request reports by zip code or within a certain distance of their location. To request a report (Kansas congregations), contact Janet Powell in the District Office at email@example.com. If you’re in an LCMS congregation outside of Kansas, you’ll need to contact your own district office to request a report.
For more information on demographic support offered by LCEF, visit the demographics page of LCEF.org.
The ARDA: Association of Religious Data Archives
Provides a wealth of religious data from 2010. Click on the “US Congregational Membership” tab, and you’ll find options for accessing reports by zip code, county, metro area, and state.
FaithView from Barna
A subscription-based tool providing data on demographics, beliefs, and practices
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod provides many helpful resources, including webinars, events, articles, expertise, and guidance on governance
Recommended Reading (Books)
The following books, some of which speak more directly to the church context than others, provide helpful insights for the congregational partnership process.
Better Together, Jim Tomberlin and Warren Bird (2012)
Mergers, Matt Rogers (2016)
The Power of Asset Mapping, Luther K, Snow (2004)
Managing Transitions, William Bridges, with Susan Bridges (2016)
Necessary Endings, Henry Cloud (2010)
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP PROJECT
The Partnership Project was initiated in 2019 in the Kansas District with the help of a multi-district Partnership Advisory Group (including Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa). The resources on this page were created with insights and contributions from the advisory group as well as “partnership pastors,” several district presidents, and the LCMS Council of Presidents. The materials have been developed with an interest in serving not only Kansas congregations but all LCMS congregations interested in exploring partnerships. If you serve another district and you’d like to modify the materials for your own specific context, contact Communication Specialist Kris Bruss at firstname.lastname@example.org.