Day of Discovery

 

photo by Greg Smith

photo by Greg Smith

In recent years Westchester Congregational Church (founded in 1728) has faced many of the same challenges as other small town churches in the USA.  These shifts led to declines in membership and participation.

Background

Less than two decades after reaching a point when some felt that WCC was close to closing its doors and ending its ministry, the congregation called Ron Thompson to serve as its full-time pastor.  One year later, the church is growing and ready to begin thinking appreciatively about their future.

So What?

Day of Discovery

photo by Greg Smith

I was privileged to be invited by Pastor Ron to visit WCC.  This weekend I had the opportunity to meet many of the people involved in this congregation over dinner as well as before and after worship.  And, I was blessed to preach and to facilitate a Day of Discovery (DoD) event today.

Those who participated in the DoD had ties to this community of faith ranging from two weeks to seventy-one years with most having well in excess of ten years of involvement.  The group sees their church currently as a body focused on friendship, family and support through a shared faith and rich traditions.  They wish for and intend to work together to create a future church that builds on its rich history by

  • changing: bridging the old and new with a both/and approach
  • growing: welcoming many more new members and others who are actively involved while adding more opportunities for children and youth
  • funding: increasing financial security
  • caring: increasing outreach and community service
  • leading: appreciating pastoral leadership and looking forward to a long tenure for Pastor Ron

Reflect on the following questions:

  • In what ways have you participated in conversations about the future of your congregation? What, if any, opportunities does your congregation offer for members and those actively involved to come together to think and pray about the future?
  • Share a positive story of the ministry and mission of your congregation and/or a story of how a church reversed years of decline by entering a season of growth and renewal.

Speak Your Mind

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