Centered Lifeģ helps people connect their faith to their daily lives. A
tool for sustainable change in congregations and peopleís lives, Centered Life
is a non-denominational initiative begun in 1999, by Luther Seminary in
In 2012, we paused this effort to attend to the development of a
new and improved faith and daily life resource, a "Centered Life
2.0". To get a sense of what we're thinking about, please
the new blog by Luther Seminary's David Lose -- ... In the Meantime: Where Faith Meets
What's Centered Life all about?
Centered Life is an initiative for congregations that share the belief that
the mission of the church is to nurture, equip, and send forth their members
to see their whole lives as ministry. Members:
are helped to discover their strengths and their calling.
are encouraged to use their strengths to live out their calling in
their homes, communities, work, and congregation.
discover meaning, purpose, and identity as faith becomes relevant to
all aspects of their lives.
are drawn to regular attendance and participation in worship and
congregational life as the primary source of nurture, sustenance, and
growth in faith and life.
What makes Centered Life distinctive?
The beauty of Centered Life is that it isnít a prescribed program; itís a
framework that works with any type or size of congregation.
Your assessment results (see
Question 6) will point your congregation toward ways it can better
support the ministry and mission of all members. YOU choose what to work on
and when to work on it. WE provide free and/or recommended ideas, resources,
tools; phone and Web-based assistance; workshops and training; networking
opportunities; and more to support what you want to do in a way that fits
How does Centered Life work? Centered Life equips congregations to help members discover and live out
their callings by providing them with:
A proven assessment tool
Coaching and encouragement
Centered Life is a long-term commitment to a vision for ministry and
mission in the world. It is not a quick fix program. Rather, it is a
framework for sustainable change within a congregation that consists of
Orientation: Pastor or lay leader identifies a Vision
Team Leader who receives the password to the congregation's personal home
page in the members-only area of centeredlife.org. After the Vision Team
Leader identifies other Vision Team members, they begin to familiarize
themselves with Centered Life Initiative and the impact it can have in
Assessment Preparation: The Vision Team learns about
the congregational assessment survey, selects a date, time, and location
for the congregation to take the assessment, and begins to publicize
Centered Life and the Assessment in the congregation.
Assessment: The Vision Team holds a congregation-wide
Assessment Event during which the congregation completes a
Congregational Assessment that
addresses their current effectiveness in calling, equipping, and sending
members to do Godís work in daily life. The results are sent to Centered
Life for a full analysis and report.
Reflection & Focus: The Vision Team prepares to
interpret the assessment results by completing the "Where Have We Been?"
Exercise and reviewing the Congregationa Pathways
Reporting: The Vision Team and pastors receive the
congregational survey results and analysis. These indicate the
congregationís strengths and needs in each of
Congregational Pathways integral to achieving the vision of Centered
Life in your congregation. The vision team presents the assessment results
to the congregation and church leadership.
Implementation: The Vision Team completes 100 points
worth of activities related to the pathways they've chosen to address
first in the congregation.
Celebration & Continuation: Celebrate your work to
date, receive Centered Life Certification, commission a new Vision Team,
and retake the Congregational
What's the assessment all about?
The unique Centered Life Congregational Assessment measures how members view
the efforts of the congregation to equip them for ministry in daily life.
Results are broken down into five specific
congregational pathways for
change (i.e. Raising Awareness, Strengths & Abilities, Meaningful Worship,
Faith Practices, Roles & Structures) and four
indicators (i.e. Awakened, Called, Nurtured, Set Free).
What's needed for Centered Life to be successful?
Research shows that successful introduction and ongoing support of Centered
Life in a congregation are a matter of key people and key elements.
Key people needed:
Senior pastor endorsement and involvement. The vision must be an
integral part of the congregationís mission statement. The commitment
begins with senior pastor endorsement and support.
A congregational point person. Leads the Vision Team and is
responsible for logistical and administrative aspects of introducing and
sustaining support for the initiative. Can be lay or clergy, paid or
Vision team. Lay leaders representing a cross-section of the
congregation. Team is responsible for receiving and communicating results
of the congregational assessment. The Centered Life Process helps the team
interpret the assessment, recommend one to three areas for the
congregation to address, and develop specific "next steps" for the
Key elements needed:
Commitment to helping members to discover their strengths and how
those strengths can be used in living out their calling.
A desire that the congregationís greatest strength and ministry be
found in the ministry of its members.
Frequent education, programmatic, and worship opportunities and
experiences to encourage and support the Centered Life vision and reality.
(Centered Life helps with free and/or recommended ideas, resources, tools;
phone and web-based assistance; workshops and training; and networking
Patience. Becoming a fully Centered Life congregation is about change,
It isnít difficult, but it does takes time. Centered Life is not a quick
fix; itís a legacy.
What effect does Centered Life have on the pastor?
Among the benefits the pastor enjoys are these:
His or her role is more clearly defined, supported, and affirmed.
As people gain a sense of their own strengths and calling, finding
volunteers is easier.
A congregation with a clearly defined vision and mission is easier to
lead, particularly when members are aided in discovering their unique
strengths and how to use those strengths in fulfilling that mission.
The pastor is freed to do more of the calling and ministry to which he
or she was uniquely ordained.
Free sermons and sermon starters;
articles; worship ideas; and more.