Hear from Dr. Darrell Gwaltney:
I’m Darrell Gwaltney, the dean of the college of theology and Christian ministry at Belmont University and executive director of the Moench Center for church leadership. My colleague here at Belmont, Dr. Jon Roebuck, is the executive director of the Rev. Charlie Curb Center for Faith Leadership. Both of us serve as co-directors of the Project Thrive Lilly Endowment Initiative here at Belmont University.
The initiative is called Thriving Congregations. Lilly Endowment is interested in how churches who experience demographic changes, have a focus on a mission and practice classic Christian sacraments thrive.
So, in the summer of 2019, Jon an I, as well as our partners in Project Thrive (Center for Healthy Churches: Dr. Bill Wilson and Matt Cook) visited 12 churches in Philadelphia, Richmond, Charlotte, Dallas, and Nashville.
We met with them to discover how they had moved through changes – traumatic leadership changes, social, community, and economic challenges, building use challenges, and often changing congregational attendance patterns – to find new ways to thrive.
As we talked with each of these churches and listened to them, we discovered there were seven traits that they appeared to have in common.
So, Jon and I have prepared these videos for you to give you a little summary of each of these traits; so you can discover with us the seven traits of thriving churches.