Sunday, February 01, 2009

Concord Covenant Church Enters New Territory

We had a congregational discussion today about which of three options the church will embrace for the future. I am not tipping my hand - partly because I have no leading from God, just opinions of my own - partly because several members read the blog and I don't want to muck up their decision-making.

But I will pass on what I think is of general interest: closing is one of the options, but many of us do not look at that as a failure option but as a graduation option. I think that is unusual for a church. Closings are almost always seen as failures. I think that in the 21st Century the model of creative destruction, of swarming in one place then another, will become more common. There was something like that in the camp meeting/revivalist era of the Church, though that model in itself doesn't fit the current age.

I don't know if it's my favorite solution of the three, but treating a closing as a positive, taking what we have learned and spreading it more widely, is not what I expected I would even consider. I didn't think I would like it at all.


Erin said...

What are the other two options?

Assistant Village Idiot said...

#1 is variously described as muddle along and doing what we are doing with more intensity. There is good reason for that - we are a teaching church at all levels, but have resisted having that as a focus. This would allow us to embrace that or something like it.

#2 is more change-of-direction. That sounds vague, but we have a pretty good handle on the several directions we could reasonably go.

It is interesting because giving has continued to increase year-over-year, so we don't have to close, as most churches which even bring up the option have to. By the time anyone says "close" out loud, it's often too late to do anything else.

It's an odd church in many ways.

terri said...

Not knowing anything about your situation....if it's not a monetary issue, what's the rationale behind closing?

Is there no pastor, or simply a handful of members who attend?

I was a part of a church that once merged with another church. Our church absorbed the church which was faltering and had no pastor. They did have a church property which they sold and was contributed to our church. Many members from that church united with our church when the change happened...others chose to attend elsewhere.

It raised all sorts of issues that needed to be worked out, but it did, for the most part, work well for both churches.

Disbanding a church is not a failure, but I am sure would be disheartening for some members of the congregation, especially those for whom "church" is not the specific building and institution, but the relationships which have been formed over many years. Friendships which revolve around the commonality of attending the same church can sometimes be hard to maintain once people go their separate ways.

On the other hand, maintaing something simply for the sake of maintaing it seems pointless. If there is another Christian community which your church could unite with and contribute to....that may be a great blessing to everyone.

Either way....I'll say a few prayers for your church's transition. May God lead everyone to a peaceful decision.

terri said...

yikes...."maintaining" is what I meant. I'm not sure what maintaing means.

Anonymous said...

because I have no leading from God, just opinions of my own

But, AVI, don't you know you're supposed to disguise the latter as the former? ;)

Erin said...

Kudos to you all for having this conversation. Many churches don't have the difficult talk even long after they needed to. I can think of at least one...