Remember Hans Christian Anderson’s delightful story, The Emperor’s New Clothes? The emperor is promised new garments that will be invisible to those who are incompetent or unfit for their positions. In a humorous way, the story portrays the private act of noticing versus the public act of acknowledging. It also shows what happens when a group of people choose to ignore the obvious.
How does this story apply to us?
Congregational ministry in North America is undergoing a radical change. We live in a postmodern, post-Christian society. Churches are beginning to notice that what worked for them in the past may not work today. But, as in The Emperor’s New Clothes, what is noticed is not always acknowledged or discussed. So the default is to continue doing things the same way they were done in the ’50s and ’60s, when all the “best stories of ministry” took place. We ask: Remember when our school had more students? When we filled every pew on Easter? When we had active youth in our church?
What is God Calling Your Congregation to Do and Be Today?
“Our congregation is just stuck. It’s like we can’t get out of neutral.” “Everyone in town used to know who we were.” “Our church building has too much space.” “Financially, we’re having a lot of trouble and we’ve been withdrawing funds from our church savings account to pay bills.”
If these comments sound familiar, your church leaders may want to consider the Church Extension Fund’s New Beginnings Assessment. This Church Extension Service is specifically created for congregations who face mounting challenges with regard to their sustainability.
Is New Beginnings For You?
If your congregation has less than 70 people attending worship and can say ‘yes’ to at least three of the following, it may be a good candidate for New Beginnings:
- Trouble paying bills;
- Significant building issues (too much space, deferred maintenance);
- Aging membership;
- Changing neighborhood.
New Beginnings is an opportunity for all church leaders to assess options for ministry and make bold decisions for the future.
On Saturday, November 12, Church Extension Fund will present a “Come and See” event at two locations. The first will be held at Christ Lutheran Church, 5245 Hadley Road, Goodrich, MI 48438. The first workshop event begins at 9:30 a.m. and will end at 11:30 a.m. The second “Come and See” will begin at 2 p.m. and will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 6356 Center St, Unionville, MI, 48767-9784. This workshop event will end by 4 p.m.
There is no cost or commitment to attend—it is a time to come and see if this might be something good for your church. The Come and See workshop event is recommended for every level of congregational leadership.
Contact Paul Wills of Church Extension Fund at 800.242.3944 for more information or RSVP on behalf of your church to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested but not able to attend please let Paul know of your interest.