What is God Calling Us To Next?
In this next season of our life together, St. Peter's Church will seek the Holy Spirit's guidance as to our future. Across America, churches struggle to survive amid changing culture, personal choices and options, online DIY opprtunities for spiritual growth and increasing secularlization. Traditional religious institutional life--staff, seminaries, buildings and budgets--is in flux. According to statistics, up to 50% of churches in America gather fewer than 50 people on Sundays for worship, hardly enough to sustain robust congregational life. Moreover, for small aging churches, attracting new people proves difficult since research shows the main draw for new members is either new or big.
Having been blessed with a rich history. a beautiful building and a faithful legacy, St. Peter's seeks to make decisions about how best to move forward. Given its financial resources but recent history of meager growth, possible options include:
- Continue to gather for worship and congregational care as currently doing as long as resources last.
- Sell the church building and relocate to a smaller venue and continue as St. Peter's Church.
- Liquidate resources and bless an emerging or growing church or ministry in their expansion.
- Create a fund for new congregations or staff support within the UCC.
- Find a partner congregation with which to merge.
Such decisions can only be made by the whole congregation of St. Peter's through prayer and conversation. To this end, we will with the help of Pastor Daniel,
- Continute to meet weekly for worship, prayer and the sacraments. Worship is the energy of discernment.
- Seek to contact every active member of St. Peter's for input. Listening is a key first step of discernment.
- Establish a discernment team to communicate, set guidelines and timelines.
- Rely on resources provided by the United Church of Christ.
- Gather for group conversation in order to listen to each other.
- Determine the will of the Lord for our church and make decisions.
- Work together to implement decisions for the good of our community and the kingdom of God.
Let us pray and seek the Lord together in the season, remembering the promises of Jesus, that if we seek first the kingdom and its righteousness, everyting else will be provided for our good.
Questions and input? Please email Pastor Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org