Saturday, March 15, 2008

personal reflections on new direction for church

So I've been reading and listening to many sources talking about the challenge of the future for church as we know it. I not one to sit around and do nothing, especially when people say that the church is dying and those of us serving the church are simply chaplains on a sinking ship. I don't ignore what I hear. I believe that church as we know it is not the church that will be in place in the future. I can't believe though that all Protestant churches will cease to exist. I think a number of our churches will figure out what to do. The church has been alive for 1000's of years....I don't think several postmodern generations have the power to kill the church. Call me naive if you will.

I know that the corporate/program model of the church that has existed in suburbia will not be the model that makes it. Though in the area I live mega churches using this model seem to indicate other wise, I don't believe they will survive.

We are at a turning point. Some churches will make the turn....other won't. Those who don't will die. It will take ministers and leaders in the church a great deal of courage to make very BOLD decisions.

In the church I am serving I believe we are at that moment.

Here are some issues and ideas we must embrace:
1. Come to terms with the real number of membership. We haven't been a 1000 member church in years, we are recently no longer a 600 member church. I believe our membership is more in the 400's which makes us the smallest Presbyterian Church in the city. This is not a failure! It simply means we have an opportunity to do ministry differently! Here is the deal.....if we are indeed a 400 member church then our attendance and financial giving are impressive! Get real with the numbers!

2. Focus our ministry. We can no longer sustain the old system of providing a "generalist" ministry. We don't have enough people willing and able to sustain the programs. We need to focus our money, time, and effort on the ministry that we are genuinely willing to support and sustain. I believe the focus is Music/Arts and Mission.

3 We need to staff the church according to the focus of our ministry. If we are to focus on Music and the Arts and Mission then the staff of the church should reflect this. Idea:

Hire an Artist in Residence to work with members and the community.

4. Stop spinning our wheels on Education as we know it. If Music and the Arts and Mission are our focus then Christian Education should happen in these areas and not necessarily on Sunday morning.

5. Stop lamenting about the location of our church and embrace the location as a gift and an advantage. We are in a neighborhood.....people can safely walk to our church. If we were on the edge of a freeway people could not walk to us.....and the noise would not allow us to create a refuge.


shawn said...

Every good revolutionsary movement in the Church begins with a crusafe against the heretics among us ...

Heretic !!!!

There I said it ... Let's incite the mobs, work people into a frenzy and get the Reformation that is looming just over the horizon started ... all it takes is one brave voice at the right moment in time to start the ball rolling ... and with you and I, we have TWO VOICES ...

Let the revolution begin !!!!!!!!!

Lost in Wonderland said...

I read and enojoy your posts--thank you-- and as someone who has been searching for a spiritual home for quite some time I'd like to leave you with one thought. I seek (and have hopefully found) a community that accepts me for who I am. I have spent the greater part of my adult life feeling that I must either work silently through the betrayal I feel from my own church or that I must in some ways, renounce who I am(all my history and emotional connections)--in order to join most of the churches in my community. And to be honest, I'm a pretty bland, middle of the road white woman. So how much more challenging must it be for people perceived as different or with more baggage. There must be some way for every church to be more welcoming--more in tune with REAL Christianity.