National Association of Congregational Christian Churches:
The Messenger- August 10, 2017
Church Revitalization 
Michael Chittum, Executive Director

Revitalization is defined as " the act or an instance of bringing something back to life, public attention, or vigorous activity" by the online Merriam Webster dictionary (as found here ). Synonyms include: rebirth, regeneration, renewal, resurgence, and revival. Antonyms are listed as: death, expiration, and extinction.

A watchword in ecclesiastical circles is to think and to talk about church revitalization. It is easy to understand why. We hope to bring our local congregations "back to life, to public attention, and to more vigorous activity." We hope to avoid thinking of our congregations as dead, expired, or extinct.

Over the past 6 months or so, there have been conversations between the Growth Ministry Council, the Vitality Ministry Council, and the Center for Congregational Leadership on how to help our churches in a "church revitalization project." While these conversations are preliminary there are some themes that have emerged. First, how can we help our churches understand what revitalization is and what it may not be. Then, how can we help the churches engage in thinking about their unique place of ministry in their community. Finally, can we suggest some things that would be helpful for our churches to do that could help lead to revitalization.

There will be more planning to this project, but stay tuned. This looks to be something of importance for our local churches and a way that the NACCC can help support the ministry of our local churches.

Members from NACCC member churches visited Happy Life Children's Home in Kenya in June 2017.
Happy Life Mission
Linda Miller, Missions Administrator

The mission work being done at Happy Life Children's Home in Nairobi, Kenya is amazing. They have two sites: one in Nairobi and one about 5 miles out of town, at Juja Farm. There are 51 children, two and under in Nairobi, and 51 children over three at Juja Farm. On June 29th, ten of us from NACCC churches spent a week at the Nairobi site holding, feeding, and playing with these children. As soon as we walked into the room, the children were waiting for us with raised hands wanting to be picked up and loved. The mission staff make this a loving, caring home for these children.

A hospital is currently being built on the Nairobi site to help with medical costs. Some babies are found with varying degrees of health issues. It will be great for these children to be so close to medical care and the hospital will be open to the neighborhood.

At Juja Farm, there are living spaces for the children: girls in one residence, boys in another with up to 8 children to each residence. The ages vary in each residence to give the feel of a family structure and each residence has a house mother. Classes are provided for the children up to Grade six and are open to the neighborhood children for a fee, which helps support the mission. 

The week I spent at Happy Life Children's Home was an unbelievable experience. This mission is truly doing God's work.


NACCC Word of the Month

Congregational Lecture

1. A lecture on Congregationalism that occurs at the NACCC's Annual Meeting & Conference every year. Check out our 2017 lecture here.
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