About Vital Signs

  • Phil Tom is the associate for the Small Church and Community Ministry Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), working in partnership with middle governing bodies and other organizations to support and resource urban, rural and smaller membership churches. Phil has served smaller membership urban churches and also worked with rural and suburban congregations and their communities as a pastor, a community organizer, community economic developer, and as a active neighborhood resident.

    The focus of Phil's blog is to share his insights, learning and comments from visiting and working with smaller membership, urban and rural congregations and their respective communities.

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April 23, 2008


Dennis Sanders

Hello. I am the Communications Specialist for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, and I'd like to use this post for our newsletter. Could I use it as well as a picture of Mr. Tom?

You can email me at communications@ptcaweb.org or call me at 612-871-7281. Thanks.

Dennis Sanders

Drew Ludwig

I like Sweet's thoughts, and the way that you have summarized them here. One question: why is a "mission statement" necessary attractional? I can think of plenty of mission statements that send.

Do you have any other examples of "image statements," especially in a church context?

Dan  Bennett

I assume from your statements that you are now using your blog and position as an associate to be political and show us your political leanings. Your comments do nothing but further divide an already divided country not to mention our church. Our church needs to get on with spreading the gospel and the works of the church will follow more freely.

Phil Tom

Dear Dan,
Thank you for your response. I don't think I was taking a political position. I was simply supporting the fact that the Presbyterian Church has been involved with community organizing for over 50 years creating positive change and improvement for the lives of many families and communities in rural, urban and suburban communities. I was in Detroit this past weekend working with the Detroit Presbytery on Domestic Violence and the Metropolitan Detroit Coalition of African American Clergywomen Against Domestic Violence. These faithful men and women of the Church are working hard to organize their churches and communities to battle the issue of domestic violence in their communities and their churches. Community organizing is tough and hard work. So when any person, regardless of political affiliation, puts downs this particular form of ministry, I think it is important for us to correct that mis-perception.

Community organizing is a ministry tool that helps transform not only our communities but also our congregations.

I be glad to share with you stories about how Presbyterian Churches across the country are faithfully serving their communities, sharing the Good News through the ministry of community organizing.

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