Steps of Change

Yesterday my congregation made the first of what will likely be multiple steps towards substantive  change in their ministry condition.  They voted to allow a long-term lease to expire about a year from now.  Doing so will mean the parting of ways with a Christian organization that has had long-standing ties with our congregation over the last  30 years or so.  It was a mutually beneficial relationship, in the early days ministerially as well  as financially.  In later years, the primary benefit to both parties was financial.

Parting ways will  mean that we’ll lose almost a third of the income  that makes  up our annual budget.  Nothing to sneeze at, to be sure.  While we’re  blessed to be finanicially stable to operate without this income for  several years, it isn’t a situation that is tenable for the long term.  In other words, now there will be some tangible pressure on the congregation to determine what they want to do in terms of ministry, and what is necessary to accomplish it.

That excites me.

The lease arrangement was comfortable.  It provided reliable income, but required nothing of our people in terms of mission or ministry.  Now  they have the duty and privilege of charting a course for the congregation that hopefully will continue long after they have gone to glory.  Rather than choosing comfort for a few more  years at the cost of the ministry’s future, they’ve opted for the harder road that could lead to substantive change.  Perhaps even sacrifice.

These are good things, in my estimation.  Not easy things, but good and important.  The next year will be pivotal in determining what our course forward will be and how we accomplish it.  I look forward to seeing the Holy Spirit’s continued leading and guiding.  We’ve been here for over 100 years.  What a privilege to work with these people to ensure that  we continue to minister in our community and beyond for as many more years as possible – perhaps another century!

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