This week I continue a series of articles focusing on our values.  So far we looked at the value of Meaningful Relationships, Purposeful PartnershipsKingdom Expansion, and Healthy Leadership.  The fifth value we embrace is that of Congregational Support.  We value churches working together to assist one another toward health and vibrancy.  Therefore, we believe we can strengthen and encourage struggling congregations through coaching, consultation and through revitalization and replanting efforts.  We are facing a time when most churches are challenged to keep up with the population growth happening in our nation and our cities.  Many churches are in a pattern of merely maintaining their attendance and even more are in decline. There are a variety of factors that contribute to this including mission drift, inward focus, resistance to change, cultural shifts, conflict, lack of vision, etc.  When a church struggles it is important to identify the current realities they are facing, and then begin the work of envisioning a better future and executing a well thought out biblical strategy. As an Association we stand prepared to assist our congregations with resources and revitalization processes that can help strengthen and support our churches. As we seek to successfully advance the gospel we can find encouragement that we share in this mission together and can lean on one another in the work we do for the glory of God. – Dr. Gary Mathes