Five Years

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Ever have one of those moments you feel God is participating in a discussion you are having?

Today, I gathered with the pastors of three other regional churches Presbyterian Churches and a pastor who just finished a call in the presbytery.  We were having a monthly discussion on “New Beginnings”, a program many of the churches in the Presbytery of South Louisiana are engaged in (now in its second year) as we seek God is calling us to do (individually and together).  I posed to the group the question an elder posed to me the night before, “Where will this church be in five years?  Looking out and into the pews, who is still going to likely be in them five years from now? And even if they still might be, will they likely be able to be active in the life of the church?”

It generated a really interesting discussion where the group’s consensus was that ministry for all of us could very likely change significantly in that amount of time.  Younger people do not lack a passion for God.  All sorts of opportunities might open up for new venues for ministry.  Future ministry might take place in all sorts of settings. But, traditional churches, with their traditional buildings/budgets/committees are likely going to either significantly adapt to the 21st century or they will likely not continue.  But how do we get people who tend to be connected via social media to financially support congregations?   Hits on websites and Facebook pages rarely translate into financial stewardship (which is vital for future church based ministry to occur). And how do we encourage those who have been there for years (and like the way it is) to engage in something really new?

We all agreed that we need to find ways to get our churches doing more things together (and certainly not just in meetings).  One pastor made the excellent point that we live in a city where people like to gather to have a good time and be social.  We need for our churches to fill with activities that look – fun.  We agreed to start pushing forward, beyond our meetings, to get our churches together for worship and engaging fellowship (as well as continue to gather for discussion).

So, how did God get into the discussion?  Some would write it off as a coincidence.  But I sit down in my truck after the meeting and the song ‘Closing Time’ from a few years back is playing.  And here is where it picked up:

This room won’t be open till your brothers or your sisters come
So gather up your jackets, move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

It surely is time for a new beginnings in so many churches.  It’s time to build consensus and make significant steps that will pique the interest of those brothers and sisters.

What do you think?

Until next time,

Tom

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One thought on “Five Years

  1. Tom – I love your thoughts and the discussion. It can be discouraging at times when so few people are in church. Tonight we had two of us show up for choir. Yet, you have a church like St. Timothy’s on the North Shore that is overflowing – so a mainline church that is filled each Sunday (and other days) with disciples. I know that Parkway is filled with disciples, but yet we struggle with finances and choir members (OK – my focus is the music). I think as Presbyterians in this area, we have to make the hard decision to join our churches so that we can do more. We all struggle with numbers, but together – we could do such great things.

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