Last Sunday I sat down with a group from a city church to discuss the decline of their congregation. Naturally, they were looking for an answer – a silver bullet to change the direction. The only answer they came up with was to become like all those bigger churches (contemporary music, dynamic speakers, programs for everyone). Unfortunately, even if they could, they would never be able to compete.
We can see the same decline happening to our rural congregation, but is anyone even talking about it? Or are we like many older people who see the writing on the wall and have come to accept death’s inevitability?
Is there hope for the small and rural church? Or do we embrace our gradual death, allowing the survivors to disburse the sale of the building and join some other church or worse yet, be left to die alone? Is there hope for the small and rural church?
The North American Lutheran Church recently put out a Bible study to help people talk the hope that exists. Within every small congregation there are vital relationships that continue to be the means by which we can bear witness to Christ and serve our neighbour. I believe that we at Trinity ELC are putting into place many of these relational pieces that will enable our congregation to be a vital place of ministry for as long as the Lord calls and gathers us.
So watch this video and look at this Bible study and if you’re interested in pursuing the life of your congregation please speak with me (Pastor Tim) or one of our leaders.