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The Future of the Church

“The estimate that seventy-five to one hundred churches close each week brings an urgency to the matter.” – Eileen Lindner in Gone for Good

I first read this quote and I had to stop. It hurt my brain, but it also hurt my heart. We’re part of such a small denomination that the thought of 75-100 congregations closing their doors EVERY WEEK seems rather impossible to me.

And yet, I see the number of churches close.

Yet, this congregation is also faced with the deafening battle that we’re not making budget every year for the last three years. That we’re struggling to find cohesion and mission and vision. Leadership has talked about the future for years, even before I was called as the pastor.

And here we are.

Having this conversation again.

Because it’s a conversation that deserves our continuous discernment and hope. Because God is still calling us to be a church and to do the work of witness and ministry. Because we’re here now and we desperately need direction.

The general board has been discussing working forward on discerning a mission and vision for the congregation along with talking about the structure of the church. Structure includes things like structure of leadership, the by-laws, and the building and property itself. We need to come together to form a plan, and this is a conversation that is going to take quite some time.

Two sub-committees are being created to discuss each of these things. They will report to the board, and the board and I will continue to share that information to the best of our abilities with the rest of the congregation. The board will also continue our discussions on the future of the congregation and our hopes and dreams.

This is hard work. But I know we’re prepared for it. I know it’s going to cause conflict and grief and also hope and joy. It’ll be worth it to know where God is calling us to go next and what God is calling us to do together as a community.


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