The Church Sustainability Initiative (CSI) focuses on working alongside congregations to discern their next, most faithful step and explore new pathways for churches by examining their sustainability and vitality.

After listening to churches across the state, we have identified seven compelling stories of congregations that serve as models for potential pathways forward. These pathways include:

  • Resetting ministry with a specified and nuanced focus.
  • Ending well and becoming a legacy church.
  • Developing revenue-based space partnerships.
  • Selling church facilities while restarting with a new approach.
  • Sharing space with other congregations.
  • And more.

The initiative also examines the mythology around hiring young ministers to bring young people back to the church and what happens when a congregation lacks the drive to fulfill its biggest aspirations.

As a collaboration between CBF Global and CBF North Carolina, the CSI is not a fluffy discernment process. Still, it is intended to equip congregations with the tools to strategically assess their vision/mission, leadership and volunteerism, finances and properties, and then cultivate pathways.

Should Your Church Participate in the Initiative?
Some of the core questions your congregation should consider:

  • Is your current expression of church viable and producing growth? If not, why?
  • Where will your current approach lead you in the next five years and is it sustainable? If not, how can you promote sustainability?
  • What is your current financial trajectory based on revenue versus expenses? Have you examined the age of your major contributors?
  • What are the general tenor or mood and energy levels of the congregation? How might that affect your capacity to cultivate a nimble and adaptive approach?

Components of the Initiative

Learning Cohorts

Such a journey should not be made in isolation. When we can commiserate about our present circumstances and explore new possibilities with others, it reminds us that we are not alone and can enrich others through shared experiences. Thus, the Church Sustainability Initiative is built around learning cohorts with churches across our Fellowship, beginning first at the Launching Summit and throughout the entire experience.

Launching Summits

The CSI experience begins with a Summit, where 3-4 church representatives engage other participating churches in shared learning. The group journeys through the challenging contextual shifts around culture and faith, examining critical assessments to measure the congregation’s trajectory and exploring new pathways forward. The Summits are intended to train the congregational team to help lead their churches through the Church Sustainability process while building strong connections with other participating churches and trained facilitators.

Most retreats are 24 hours, with resourcing and facilitator costs covered by CBFNC and lodging covered by participating congregations.

The first Summit will be held January 26-27, 2024 at Camp Dogwood in Lake Norman. Get more info & register here.

Sustainability Guide

Participating congregations may choose to covenant with a Church Sustainability guide. The guide will:

  • Lead four church-wide conversations.
  • Coach the congregational team.
  • Facilitate comprehensive assessments to help inform potential pathways forward.

While having a guide is not a requirement for participation in the initiative, they are valuable resources for your church as you navigate the process of discovering your next, most faithful step, offering critical insight, teaching and coaching.

The covenant fee is $2,000, which covers all the expenses associated with guide services. CBFNC will pay an additional $2,000 for the guide services.

Apply to Join a Cohort

Apply here for your congregation to participate in the next CSI cohort.

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