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THE RULE OF CHRIST
“A key foundational strategy for discipleship is congregational health. Healthy churches make healthy disciples. Healthy disciples make healthy disciples. Healthy disciples transform the world.”
These recent words spoken by Bishop Tracy S. Malone echo her Annual Conference Episcopal Address message that congregational health is a priority of the East Ohio Conference this quadrennium.
“The overall health of the church, and the overall vitality and effectiveness of ministry, largely depends on how pastors and churches handle conflict, disagreements and relationships,” Malone told 50 clergy and laity during their August training session on the principles of the Rule of Christ.
“Rule of Christ was designed by the late Rev. Terry N. Gladstone, a Deacon in the Michigan Area, as a way of applying Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 18 to the life and relationships in the local church,” said the Rev. Arlene Christopherson, the assistant to the bishop and the director of Connectional Ministries in the Northern Illinois Conference, who led the session.
The six-step Rule of Christ is a new resource in the East Ohio Conference:
“The Rule of Christ is a proven Biblical process, and a tool, for helping pastors and churches build healthy ministry together and healthy relationships,” Malone said. “The ultimate goal is to have every one of our 679 churches trained and receive this tool, but we’re going to start in our launching of the Rule of Christ this fall in East Ohio with churches that have received pastoral changes this year.”
The pastor and the staff parish chair of each church that had a pastoral change in July will receive a letter from the appropriate district office that introduces the Rule of Christ process, identifies the church’s trainer, and sets expectations for arranging the training session. Throughout the training process, trainers are under the supervision of the district superintendent of the church to which they have been assigned.
“The goal of this work, of this ministry, of this tool, of this resource is to increase and to cultivate congregational health,” Malone said.
Rev. Ed Fashbaugh
Executive Director, Connectional Ministries
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH,
near Akron-Canton Airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW
North Canton, OH 44720
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