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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Assumptions for Growth

Tonight I sat with the leadership of a congregation about a renovation project that should have been over the top exciting. The reality is that they are so concerned about the future of the congregation that the project was no more than a pipe dream. Perhaps rightly so! They are few in numbers and older attendees which is a typical story throughout our CEM geography. I also attended a church dinner tonight at a different congregation. It was extremely well attended but the age demographics was 50+ as well. I was in 2 other congregations the past 2 Sundays and the 50+ trend is prevalent everywhere.

My response to the project congregation tonight was to look beyond the current situation and change their outlook. If I was a church planter moving into a new city to launch a new church, expecting to find even 1 person to share my story with would be great. If I was told there were already 25 people there and  that I did not have to start from scratch, I would be elated. When we compare to yesteryear, a different time and need, there is never a hopeful comparison. Our look forward has to be a clean sheet of paper. Often in this exercise we may start with some assumptions to shape our look forward. Let's try a few.....

  • From our database of members noting birth years, group the ages into categories
  • Highlight attendees in yellow
  • For those not highlighted, list who knows them reasonably well, even if it is someone in another congregation
  • Assume you will be coached, mentored and supported by CEM in the how-to approach to reconnect with periphery members.
  • Assume your revitalization will be through personal phone calls and person to person visits, invites and come with me shared time....not emails and letters
  • Assume you will be initiating 1-2 small groups within your congregation revolving around the commonalities of the group not geography
  • Assume you will be introducing multimedia in your sanctuary (large screen, projector, speakers, WiFi)
  • Assume you will need a laptop computer and a 20" inch monitor for your small group meeting
  • Assume you will be planning monthly recreation
  • Assume you will be having a guest speaker and a potluck lunch once a month
  • Assume each member of the Cong Re-engagement team will have written an in-depth envisionment story of what your changed congregation looks like in 1 year from today
  • Assume you will make your story a reality
  • Assume each of you will be engaging in daily personal prayer that compels you
  • Assume your r-engagement team members will be partnering 2x2 with one another for joint ministry
  • Assume you will meet monthly to evaluate your revitalization progress
  • Assume you will have a congregational Facebook page and diligently add to it weekly for marketing your dynamic  congregational life
  • Assume your congregation will start to share programming with other congregations in your geographical cluster area to increase social dynamics
  • Assume you will align your Older Youth with Community Place
  • Assume you will become elated with others that momentum will flourish, that your compulsion to pray will change your life
  • Assume if you do not do the above, you are guaranteed to be closing your congregation doors as 20 others have in the past 15 yrs.
  • Assume you are not alone. You will not be the first congregation to make a turnaround.
  • Assume the time to decide to change is shorter than you think. With weak social linkages in most congregations the glue holding you together is gone.
I look forward to talking with you, sharing with you, working with you to bring about change. I don't know who becomes intrigued, challenged and decisive from reading this blog. You have to call, email, respond to this blog below to let us know in the CEM that you are ready for change.

On an exciting note...... This coming Sunday I am speaking in the Montreal congregation. This is the largest congregation in the CEM with attendance from 120-200 on Sundays. I understand there are 4 choirs and a band to accompany them. We are confirming 3 new members. The dynamics of worship have been described to me as exhilarating. I can hardly wait to be part of this experience. The demographics are almost all below the 50 age mark. If anyone wants to drive down with me, let me know. There is room for 3, perhaps 4. Assume you will be awed!

Now think about why the picture above is an empty tomb. Think congregational resurrection.

Submitted by Kerry

1 comment:

  1. I like the ideas listed. I especially like the idea of taking our present lists and doing the age exercise with it. We will find we already have contacts that just might be interested in the 21st century Community of Christ. I also like the idea of visioning for a plan instead of just accepting what we always have done. I also believe in prayer. How about a prayer vigil for weeks ahead of plans to do some outreach, God does marvelous work. It all has to do with being intentional and "lifting our eyes beyond the horizon". Thanks for sharing this blog.


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