Now it seems that we’re not so much concerned about how we grow, but where we go. Size isn’t as important as our presence in homes, community and in places where ministry is needed. The number of new ministries outside our walls rather than the number of new members is what we listen for in meetings and conference. Our energies are focused more into mission trips, shelters and food pantries, and community organizations than attracting people to our particular congregation.
As I think about that, I can’t help but wonder when we turned that corner. And what factors led up to that? Was it the economic crises of 2008? Was it a proliferation of natural disasters around the world that forced us to look outward? Was it fighting a war on the other side of the planet? A combination of these things?
If I had known our focus was changing, I think I would have spoken more against the new sanctuary we built in 2004-2005. We were growing at the time and felt like this was something we needed to do and do well. Just a few years later, handicapped by a much bigger mortgage than we had before, we couldn’t go quite as freely as we wished. Yes, we’ve been blessed by our facility. But how many others could have been blessed had we scaled back or stayed where we were?
Life is so much different now than it was five years ago. From the economy to social media to the administration in Washington, few could have predicted what the world would be like in 2010. Five years from now, we’ll probably say the same thing.