Approach Challenges in a New Wayvrsmlogo.lg_.png

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. 

For more information about participating in the Vital Right-Shaped Ministry program, contact Pr. Dana Peterson, 3E Associate Director and Director for Evangelical Mission (DEM) at


VRSM Grants

The Innovation Mission Outreach Board of the Rocky Mountain Synod is pleased to announce we will once again be offering Innovation Grants in the coming year. The structure is slightly different this year as we will offer a range of amounts, appropriate to various projects, rather than fixing a uniform amount and pre-determining the number of recipients. There is $30,000 of grant money to be awarded in amounts between $1000 and $7500 to between seven and ten congregations.

If you have an exciting and innovative project that you believe is appropriate for funding from this initiative, please submit a proposal that includes answers to the following questions:

  • What new idea is being - or could be - brought to life in your context? (50 word limit)
  • How is that idea tied to your mission and vision? (50 word minute)
  • How might that idea increase the vitality of your congregation? (150 word limit)
  • Who might you partner with in your community to develop and execute this idea? (50 word limit)
  • What is the total financial investment needed for this project? (box for a number, no narrative)
  • How much funding are you requesting from an Innovation Grant? (box for a number, no narrative)
  • If your total financial investment exceeds the grant request (150 word limit):
    • Is there a discreet expense that this grant will cover? (Grants that request a specific amount for a specific expense line will be considered in a more favorable light than requests that involve a general pooling of funds.)
    • How are you raising additional funds?

Grant Requirements:

  • Funding must be used for a new idea, or emerging idea - not to supplement the budget of legacy programs.
  • Grantees will participate in two Zoom conversations with a member of the Innovation Mission Outreach Board and one or two other grant recipients to reflect on innovative ministry within the RMS.  
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. The Innovation Mission Outreach Board will begin reviewing applications June 1, 2023.

Apply for an Innovation Grant

VRSM offers these opportunities

  • Council/leadership conversations around vitality and right-shaping
  • Congregational Values/Mission/Vision/Strategy Consultation
  • Excellence in Leadership Scholarships for VRSM Congregations
  • Coaching for rostered ministers involved in VRSM
  • Vitality and Innovation Grants for enrolled congregations
  • LSS financial counseling
  • Congregational Life Review
  • Congregational Vitality Surveys and consultation
  • BCG (Beginning a Culture of Generosity) at a reduced price
  • SAS (Stewardship for All Seasons) at a reduced price
  • Congregational Leadership Emotional Intelligence Training by a certified “EQ-I” trainer

What do vital congregations look like?

Vital congregations create cultures that call members/friends/disciples to act out of their shared values to live into the mission of God in their context.  The mission is fueled by vision for their desired future and their discernment of God’s pull on them from God’s future.

Vital congregations will have engaged, mature leadership.  Their leaders will be increasing in their self-awareness and self-management, understand healthy systems, and be connected to their contexts.  The emotional intelligence of the congregation and its leaders is key to vitality.

A vital congregation will be able to innovate; they will be nimble and agile.  This means living as a learning organization…willing to experiment and fail, willing to engage in evaluation…what worked/what didn’t work/how do we make it better?

During this process, I saw our congregation leaders begin to imagine what mission-minded ministry means for our future. Their discernment that we are called to invite, welcome, and serve has sparked ideas and shown us ways to do those things better, and I feel good about the work we did. It feels like a seed--it is just the beginning of a mission and ministry that will push us up from the ground to bear good fruit in the world.  ~ Pastor Katie Chullino, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Longmont, Colorado

3E Core Value
Adaptive Leadership
calls on them to address problems by focusing on learning, engaging stakeholders, acting, and evaluating.  It calls on leaders to become nimble, be willing to experiment, and even to fail as they seek to approach their challenges in fresh ways.