I see new vital signs of Christian authenticity and purpose. Churches are showing renewed passion and exuding a stronger sense of mission and service. As one colleague said to me recently: “it’s not rocket science …you proclaim a respectful gospel in word and deed, offer wide-open hospitality, pay attention to worship, preaching, and music, say your prayers faithfully — and provide compelling and meaningful ways people can grow spiritually and exercise their ministries of love and mercy — and a local congregation can make a huge difference.”
Following numerical and authoritative decline, mainline churches in America have an interesting and optimistic future. Our distinction, it seems, will be an equal investment in the spiritual lives of individuals and in our religious role as a corporate and communal body. And community is the underlying value we bring to the enterprise — from service and fellowship-oriented connections to tangible ways that parishioners put their faith to work in society… From communal worship, including the Holy Meal, to living the Christian life beyond the walls of our local parish. Many people are seeking a place to call home where they can ask searching questions, explore the faith in an open and honest manner, and to find their niche in exercising their skills and resources in a direct manner.
During this complex period in American life, I am grateful to be serving a congregation who has as its mission: “To experience the clear and strong presence of God and to understand and spread Christ’s teachings through collective worship, learning, and service.”