For those of you who live in Cleveland, Ohio, I’ll be speaking at The City Mission next Thursday, June 7, from 10:30 am to 1 pm. Rich Trickel, director of The City Mission, read my article, Learn To Partner in Leadership and asked me to come tell our story at their community development workshop titled, Building Without a Blueprint: Walking Alongside Others To Transform a City. Continue reading “The City Mission of Cleveland”
Catch me on a difficult day in ministry, and I’m likely to say stuff about our church like:
- “I wish we were more spiritual.”
- “If only our worship were deeper.”
- “We should care more as a congregation.”
My father is 87 years old, a veteran of World War II, and a retired Baptist minister. I often tell people that he’s in better shape than I am, which is true. To prove it, he beats me at golf every time we play, and he still teaches other people how to fly airplanes. That is not a typo — my dad is a flight instructor at the age of 87. Pretty amazing.
I am not making this up. On my way to lunch in Danville today, I passed a church sign with the message: Don’t forget to take God on vacation!
Which brings to mind a host of questions —
On my bookshelf are at least a dozen church books on vision. Written by some of the outstanding authors in church-related publishing today, each of them describes a “vision” for the church — build your church by small groups, become a church of influence, raise your church’s standards, grow from the inside out, focus outwardly, and so on. Plus, I have a bunch of books on leadership, and most of those talk about the leader’s responsibility to cast the vision. But for the small church, vision is an overblown concept as it is presented today. Here’s why I have come to this conclusion:
Thanks to Jim Tung for photographing our Chatham Arts Community Music School Recital last Saturday, May 12, 2007. Chatham Arts emerged from our partnership with Virginia Tech, local parents, and community leaders. About 30 students take voice, piano, violin, cello, and guitar from world-class instructors affiliated with the Renaissance Music Academy in Blacksburg, VA.
I’ve been thinking about the title of this post for a long time. Primarily because it really does describe my church. We do not do any of the stuff that is hot, hip, or trendy now. Actually, we probably haven’t been hot, hip, or trendy since about 1927, and that may be generous.
Read my fellow-blogger, Holly Dolezalek’s post, And, some crankiness. Holly is a self-described agnostic who blogs for Outreach magazine, keeping us real with her take on all this church stuff we talk about so much. In her post, Holly responds to Lee Strobel’s article, Short-changing the good news.
Another characteristic Israel Galindo identifies in his book, The Hidden Lives of Congregations is the spiritual style of a church. Last year a new family moved into our community and our members invited them to worship with us. Our church has a traditional worship service with grand piano, pipe organ, and robed choir and clergy. I met the new family before worship began, and asked them what church they had attended in Florida, before moving to Virginia. “We were Assemblies of God, ” the father said. During worship they sat on the second row, and looked uncomfortable the whole time. They were nice folks, but our church had the wrong worship style for them. They never came back.
Spiritual style is important and involves more than just worship. Galindo identifies 6 different spiritual styles in the lives of congregations:
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you are a pastor or member of a small-church — meaning attendance under 300. But even in the 10-300 attendance range, Israel Galindo’s book, The Hidden Lives of Congregations, identifies 3-types of churches based on size alone. Then, to round out the picture, throw in a church’s spiritual style and lifestage, and you have the basic clues for understanding your small church. Here’s what Galindo says about congregational size: