“Giving ourselves to the next generation.”

June 19, 2007 at 9:39 am Leave a comment

This morning I came across this cool article from the June 4th Seattle Post Intelligencer.  It tells the story of two very different churches in vastly different seasons of life merging for mutual benefit.  You can read the full story here.

Merging congregations in this manner seems like a great idea.  There are all kinds of small, stuggling, aging, congregations with debt free facilities, often with generous amounts of money in the bank who are trying to figure out what to do about a declining congregation and a leadership that is tired and out of vision for the future.

At the same time there are younger, more aggressive and innovative folks strugging to find places to meet or ways to finance advancing visions and ministries.  Merger seems to be a great way to allow the older, declining congregation to reproduce itself in a younger congregation.  The older group gets to see their history continue while the younger group is able to realize the dream sooner and it ties the generations together in a way that was never going to happen any other way.  Neither group would probably ever think about going to the other’s fellowship.

As this story says, it requires both groups to give up something in order to gain something, but it seems a much better way then what we see happening all over this country as hundreds of churches go out of business every week.  The only way these mergers will happen is if the older congregation is willing to give up their identity and way of doing church for what, in the long run, will be a continuation of something they have worked hard and long for.  It apparently is not easy but it does show a high level of spiritual maturity.

I found the story encouraging and interesting especially as an alternative to the mass exodus of the young from institutionalized churches. 

The phrase “giving ourselves to the next generation” was what sealed the deal.  I find it a fresh and prophetic word for those of us who can either enfranchise the 20 and 30 somethings or hold them back. “Do I (pursue) what I want personally and what’s comfortable for me or what’s better for the kingdom of God?”

That really is the only question and one that should be asked about a whole lot of church issues.

Here is more on the story from Pastor Cho’s blog.

(I followed the link from Jesus Creed to find this story.)

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Entry filed under: Christianity, Church, Culture, Faith, Family, Friendship, Institutional church, News, Northwest, Thoughts.

Hostile to church, friendly to Jesus. So, what did you do today?

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