In a conversation with and old friend, discussing the challenges of solo pastorate churches… Years ago, before the advent of the mega-church or the corporate church, I seem to remember seminarians being placed in small pastorates, Solo pastorate churches in established communities. I was newly saved or not saved yet, so did not understand the dynamics of ministry and expectation.
Perhaps expectations were lower then. Perhaps the propensity of member or attenders to spectate, rather than participate were lower. Perhaps we had more common cultural norms and value systems. I don’t know but I think the challenges of the solo pastorate church were less then.
When I reflect on it now, the challenges of a small urban or suburban congregation are many, and as a much older person, I struggle to imagine a recent seminary graduate having the capacity to lead in this situation without burning himself out.
Here are things that have changed over the last 30-40 years that have made this more (rather than less) challenging: Continue reading “Solo Pastorates Are More Challenging Than Ever”
Some times I am revolted by the Church. I am revolted when I drive down the major street nearest to my house and within two miles there are six churches. If you give yourself a two block radius from that street in the same two miles you can add four more churches.
None of these congregations are unusually large, none of the facilities are particularly stunning. I’ll be honest in telling you that I have ever only been inside one of these buildings. I know people who attend four of the ten. All of these churches have been in existence for 30 years or more. Most were built when the suburb that I live in was developing in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Two of them have “changed congregations” in the past few years – that is that one congregation sold a facility to another. Mostly this happens in suburban churches as members gradually migrate away from a large city toward the outer rim of suburbs in search of cheaper housing and less congestion or whatever. Often times they chose to move their church along with them.
Continue reading “Ecumenical Sectarianism”
I suppose I used to think that the idea of church marketing was a bad idea. A concept from the business world, applied to a non-profit organization, whose mission is not competitive. However, I think the idea of sharing the gospel is marketing. In fact, all churches and all chrisitians are marketers. If we understand a little about sales and marketing, we realize that we use many of the same techniques and ploys in sharing the gospel that marketing and sales professionals do in their work.
We all should be marketing Christ. But along the way, we want to market our church. We want people who accept our message of hope in Christ, to also join our community. We want to recruit them to help us share that same message of hope with others. Continue reading “Church Marketing”