Rev. Dana Peterson has begun the Vital Right Shaped Ministry (VRSM) process with both Council and Congregational meeting on Saturday and Sundy, October 29-30.

Vital Right-Shaped Ministry is a viewpoint for doing and evaluating ministry, a lens through which congregations and other ministries in the Rocky Mountain Synod can look at themselves as they are and envision what they can become. It fits into our understanding of “Church Becoming” by asking our congregations and leaders to become self-aware and adapt for a thriving future. It will provide tools for congregations and rostered ministers to review their congregational life, set a course for their future, and strengthen both rostered ministers and those with whom they serve for their journey ahead.

This is an adaptive moment for the Church, a moment when all the technical, “rearrange the chairs” ways of doing things will undoubtedly prove inadequate to the moment.  In this moment of dis-ease and unsettledness, an innovative Church can connect with those who may have previously rejected the notion that God could speak to them through such an institution. 

Click session titles for addititonal presentation materials.
Rally Day, Session #1, September 11.  Cultivate Gratitude to regain a sense of purpose and perspective

Vision and mission are so central to the life of God’s people that without vision we perish and without mission we lose our way. ~ Noewen

(From Tabor's website footer) We do God's work by:

  • Growing in faith through worship, study, solidarity with the poor and marginalized, prayer, and fellowship
  • Risking innovation and Spirit-led change
  • Anchoring ourselves in Christ’s love, hope, and joy
  • Caring for all with compassion and respect
  •  Excelling in every endeavor
Perspective and the bigger picture: in gratitude how do we view  - the church's role, Tabor's role in SLC

How do we pay attention to what is right in front of us - the daily gifts of God's grace. What gift of grace and beauty is God putting in front of me. Reframing our view of God’s gifts – gifts of creation, gifts of relationship, gifts of our daily bread. Cultivate Gratitude. How do we see our personal roles at Tabor - history, focus, past.

Stopping to simply be in God’s presence. Be still and know that I am God. Being full in our bodies and resting in the assurance of God’s love so we can experience truth… Paul in Romans: nothing can separate us.


Session #2, October 2. God's Work. Our Hands: What will God do next in this place?

Re-imagine: What constitutes a faith community? A Church not tied to place.

Re-purpose: Using the example of Our building. What if we built an endowment to cover the capital costs of the building and focus everything on-going toward mission? How might we fuel our mission? Our biggest opportunity (asset) to make changes to fuel our mission. What if examples.

The Romero Prayer – "Prophets of a Future Not Our Own"


Session #3, October 16. God's Up to Something - In this place.

Preparing for Pr. Dana Peterson begin working with Tabor in a process for Vital Right-Shaped Ministry.

In a Changing World

•Strategic planning key to making changes
•Partners are critical
•Let things die so more impactful programs can rise

Do with excellence, not everything.

Questions to discuss:

  • If we create a new strategic plan, how far out are we envisioning?
  •  What things aren’t as important anymore? And to whom?
  • What things are important? And to whom?
  •  Who might our partners be?

To move forward: Those with us are the fully committed. Invite people into Outcome.

Questions to discuss:
  • What would you recommend?
  • Inviting people…not just us to outcome possibilities
Be story makers, not just story tellers. She emphasizes that stories give us guidance to recognize the world as a gift and to think how we might respond. ~ Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass, just awarded a MacArthur Genius award

Robin tells of the Thanksgiving Address used in various forms with native peoples around the world. In her story, her young daughter came home from elementary school frustrated about saying the pledge of allegiance to start their school day. Without going into a discussion on the merits or no about the pledge of allegiance here – Robin tells us about the Thanksgiving Address. She calls it a river of words as old as the people themselves, known more accurately in the Onondaga language as The Words that Come Before All Else. This ancient order of protocol sets gratitude as the highest priority.

The Thanksgiving Address begins:

“Today we have gathered, and when we look upon the facts around us we see that the cycles of life continue. We have been given the duty to live in balance and harmony with each other and all living things. So now let us bring our minds together as one as we give greetings and thanks to each other as People.”

And as she correctly calls it a “river of words”, the Thanksgiving address is by its nature – very, very long. It lifts up petitions in recognition-naming and gratitude-thanking to our Mother the Earth, to Water, to Plants, Medicine Herbs, Tree Life, Animals, Birds, the Four Winds, Thunder Beings, the Sun, the Moon, Stars, Teachers, and the Creator. The last petition ends with:

 “We have now arrived at the place where we end our words. Of all the things we named, it is not our intention to leave anything out. If something was forgotten, we leave it to each individual to send such greetings and thanks in their own way. And now our minds are one.”

Robin remarks: You can’t listen to the Thanksgiving Address without feeling wealthy. When all the world is a gift in motion, how wealthy we become. Gratitude like this doesn’t send us out shopping to find satisfaction. Rather it comes as a gift – the on-ramp to this self-perpetuating life-giving cycle.