The Vital Leadership Academy (VLA) is a selective, six-month leadership development program for lay people. The VLA is designed to identify, inspire, train, and support people who are new to leadership so that they can partner with clergy to lead positive change in local congregations.
Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert have authored a series of books in the "When Helping Hurts" family. They encourage churches to rethink traditional ways of mission which actually disempower those we serve and develop a new understanding of the difference between relief, rehabilitation and development.
Reggie McNeal focuses on three shifts he has identified as necessary to embrace a missional model of ministry: from an internal to external focus; from running programs and ministries to developing people; and from church-based leadership to community-engaged leadership.
Ruby Payne has authored two books that are foundational to understanding poverty. In "A Framework for Understanding Poverty," Payne explores cultural differences that exist between economic classes. In "What Every Church Member Should Know about Poverty," she extends the focus to ways churches can adapt their ways of being in ministry with those experiencing poverty.
This is an excellent introduction to God’s call on the faithful to serve the poor. It is a very easy read and also comes with a study guide for small group study. Several CTC churches have used this resource as a sermon series followed up by strategic thinking about mission that builds relationship with and serves our neighbors.
Sitting down with leaders in your community such as principals and police officers helps you learn more about neighborhood needs from a different perspective. It's also a great way to establish connections and partnerships with others who want to build up and support the community.
How can your church build on the the Wesleyan legacy of class meetings to draw people into deeper discipleship? In The Class Meeting, Kevin Watson explains how class meetings differ from information-driven small groups and offers a framework for introducing class meetings into congregational life.