By Jan Edmiston, DMin ’01
Yesterday someone said to me: We don’t trust you because we think you want to close our church. It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that and it won’t be the last.
The truth is, though, that those churches are usually closing themselves.
That sounds really harsh and I don’t mean to be disrespectful. But congregations on the cusp of closure are often there because they’ve made choices that have risked the future of the church they love. Among those poor choices:
Yep, that sounds severe, but it’s sadly true. Before denominational leaders have the conversation about a church’s plans for the future (which might mean closing so that a new congregation might be resurrected in their place) it’s almost always the case that church members have unwittingly made choices that are killing their ministry.
Sometimes reboots are not possible because the culture is beyond shifting. But sometimes reboots are indeed possible. Again: another choice.
I want your church to thrive and make an impact in the name of Jesus Christ. I don’t want your church to close if you are truly and authentically ready to choose a completely different way of being the church.
Jan Edmiston is the associate executive presbyter for ministry in the Presbytery of Chicago, where she has served since 2011. Prior to that she served congregations in northern Virginia and New York. She completed her MDiv at Andover Newton Theological School and her DMin in Christian Spirituality at CTS in 2001. She has graciously agreed to let us repost some of her blog entries (including guest bloggers) from A Church for Starving Artists.
The Center for Lifelong Learning offers an abundance of courses and events for pastors and lay-persons seeking vibrant learning and cohort opportunities specifically created to build and enhance skills in Christian education and formation, church leadership, spiritual formation and spiritual direction. Check out our current classes, including Learning to Read the Signs of Church Conflict Before it Reaches the Point of No Return, and many more here.
Photo by Anna G. Larson from this article.