Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Why don't I look more like Kate Winslet?

I've been getting "condolence" calls, for lack of a better word, from friends and family both near and far. One call was from a pastor I've known since we were both at the same seminary back in the day. He spent eight years as pastor of another small, struggling church here in Portland before leaving for an Associate job at one of the few big, thriving Presbyterian churches here inside the city limits.

He commented that, while he loves his new job, he often finds himself thinking that all he's really done is move from steerage to first class on the Titanic. The church as we know it is going to founder and the best you can hope for is caviar instead of stale bread while the ride lasts.

Maybe so. It does seem that there are not enough lifeboats for all of us.

11 comments:

Songbird said...

I'm sure you are much prettier.

This is much the same thing I'm contemplating as it becomes clearer that I have to move on from Small Church. What am I going to, not just me, but the Church itself?

peripateticpolarbear said...

aw

Quotidian Grace said...

Come down here. Our presbytery actually has a number of NCD's in growing areas of Houston and the suburbs.

Purechristianithink said...

What I'd really like to see is for the PCUSA (and other Old Liners) to see the urban core as rich with potential for new church development. It's pretty much a no brainer to plant a church in a growing suburb. It's another to take the location, heritage and assets of the old neighborhood churches in the city and do something out of the box. In our Presbytery the NCD committee is pretty much locked into the "fast growing suburb" model of church planting. They flat turned down funding for a Spanish language ministry one congregation wanted to start. GRRRRR. They said that was "mission" not NCD. Huh?

Quotidian Grace said...

One of our major NCD's is in the urban center of Houston. It's called the "007" NCD church--for the zip code: 77007. We're not just trying to plant churches in the suburbs.

But there are lots of people in the suburbs who need the church, too. And in southwest Houston those people include every race and nationality you could imagine.

Our NCD's include Thai, Filipino, South Indian, Hispanic, and African congregations--in both suburban and urban areas of town.

Our presbytery is really emphasizing church planting and church redevelopment. I'm sorry to say that we seem to be a minority in the PCUSA.

Purechristianithink said...

I have no quarrel with suburban church plants. Just folks who can't see beyond that model. My Presbytery does some things very well, but this isn't one of them.

SpookyRach said...

I think you are right, PCIT. I think the time of the church as we have always known it is passing. I only hope that we come up with something even better to replace it.

I know I am generalizing here, but the only churches that seem to be growing are those that are more of the country club/health club/gated commmunity type places. These are churches that, in my thinking, take people out of the world by attempting to meet all their needs, 24/7, within the "walls" of the church.

Emily said...

I think we mainline denominations are going to end up merging congregations on the local level.

The smallest congregations are just the canary in the coal mine. Even stable congregations are having trouble meeting budget and maintaining their property.

Songbird said...

I think this, too, Emily. This winter of what will likely be extremely elevated heating costs may well start the dominos tumbling in cooler climates. The hope for Small Church is the New Church Start now worshipping in our basement on Sunday afternoons. I see a beautiful future for them together, given the small and therefore manageable physical plant. But fulltime pastoral leadership is a doubtful option for either of them. Someday I envision them sharing leadership, but not me, and I'm not sure my colleague at NCS either. But definitely not me.

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

You don't look like Kate???

Lorna said...

isn't it just possible we can reverse this trend by prayer and fasting?

oh let it be so Lord. Help us reach out to the 98% of our communities who do not know you or who do not have a real realtionship with you.

These are Your people and we know you have not - not will you - turned your back on them, so why Lord, why?