Congregational Health – Red, Green and “Black”?
Advent is upon us and a new calendar year is fast approaching.
Many pastors, especially in rural and inner-city churches, are seeing lots of RED, not nearly enough GREEN, and a complete absence of BLACK.
Red and green are two of my favorite colors at this sacred time of year, showing themselves in the trees, decorations and bows scattered everywhere.
I love my black pastoral robe – the one I would wear for especially sacred services.
But, these are not the red, green, and black I’m talking about.
When I was serving a dying congregation in the city, this was also the season when I reviewed the church budgets for last year and the upcoming year.
As I did so, I realized there was far too much RED, far too little GREEN, and a complete absence of BLACK on the balance sheet.
Whether you are currently a pastor or a lay member of a congregation with a similar budgetary situation, red, green and black are real issues for you and your congregation.
But I’ve got some good news for you.
Through the Center for Lifelong Learning, I will again be sharing information and ideas through my course, “The Role of the Minister in a Dying Congregation.”
Let me hasten to clarify that a budget shortfall is not the sole or even the most significant indicator of a dying congregation, but it is often one of the contributing factors.
In this course, we will explore several key factors that help congregational leaders discern the present health and future viability of their local church.
We will benefit from the experience of those who have participated in concluding congregational ministries.
Both pastors and lay leaders will share what they believed that they did well and even things that they would avoid if given the opportunity.
Perhaps this class is for you if:
- Your congregation is losing more members/participants each year than those you are gaining
- Your membership/participants are not representative of your surrounding community
- Your financial resources are consistently insufficient for your congregational expenses
- Your congregation’s focus is exclusively “inward”
- Your job entails being a resource for congregations working to discern whether they have a viable future
Then again, perhaps you just have an interest in the issues surrounding dying congregations.
You, too, are welcome to bring your questions and insights to our dialogue.
I look forward to sharing and learning together. Please consider adding your voice to the conversation.
To register for this course with the Center for Lifelong Learning, click here.
Lynwood B. (Woody) Jenkins is the former pastor of Elk Creek Baptist Church, a small country church situated in a resort community in central Virginia. Woody also previously served as pastor of the small, urban Richmond church that was the genesis for this book. After more than twenty years in secular, non-profit work, Woody entered seminary, earning Master of Divinity and a Doctor of Ministry degrees from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. An active layperson throughout his life, Woody has served in leadership capacities in local Church of the Brethren, United Church of Christ, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and Baptist congregations. Woody and his wife, Penny, share four grown children.